One of the biggest reasons relationships fail is because we fail to “vet” a potential partner before committing.
We get super excited about the “chemistry” we are feeling. The rush that comes with meeting someone new who we are really attracted to. That rush we feel is chemical, though most people attribute that feeling to “love”.
Dr. Stan Tatkin, Psychologist and Family and Marriage Counselor says that the first year of any relationship we don’t actually “know” who our partner really is because we’re on “drugs”. Those drugs are entirely manufactured in our brains; dopamine, noradrenaline, oxytocin, vasopressin, and testosterone are just a few of them.
This experience of “instant love” catapults our courtship forward. We dive in head first.
We begin treating our new love interest like a “partner” prematurely. What this looks like is spending multiple evenings with a partner while sacrificing other responsibilities. We lose sleep. We text incessantly and talk all night on the phone. We disable our dating app accounts and stop entertaining other prospects.
As a Coach, I’ve seen this “rush to couple” from one party sometimes ward off the interest of the other because things are moving too quickly.
Other times the love interest wants to move at the same pace because they too experience that chemical-pull.
When both partners are taken over by the “high”, important conversations are often ignored. Conversations about shared values, what we want down the road, what hasn’t worked in previous relationships and how to best manage challenges between the two of us, goes out the window.
Besides, who wants to be a buzz kill?
This leads to problems down the road. Here’s an example of what I mean, “I really want a family. When I asked you if you wanted children you said no, I ignored it because things were so wonderful between us and I figured you would change your mind down the road . Now, we have been together for 3 years, we’ve been arguing for months about this issue and it feels like we have come to the end the road.”
In the early stages of relationship we often ignore what our partner is saying and pay more attention to how they are making us feel. We feel strongly about them and often we have already coupled it doesn’t make sense for us to leave.
Now, I’d like you to think about other areas of life that require an equal amount of careful consideration when making an important choice.
Think about the time and consideration that we put into finding and accepting a new job at a company.
What about how we vet a new friend versus how we treat someone who’s been loyal to us for years?
There is much consideration and analysis that happens before moving to a new city or buying a new house.
So, why not translate this skill-set to a relationship?
Is it possible that the expectations we have during an early stage relationship are a bit idealistic?
What if dated a little bit slower?
What if we gave our hearts to those who have taken the time to earn them?
What if we demonstrated patience during courtship and instead of having our head in the clouds we were firmly rooted in the ground?
What if we led with our values first, and our desire second?
If we want lasting love then let’s start by being selective, patient and wise. Having lasting love requires a solid foundation.