You know the feeling. When you are madly in love, it seems like it will never end. So you carry on like there will be no tomorrow. Recent research has shown, however, that the wild, crazy love feeling always comes to an end.
That is because the hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate this aspect of the human in-love system inevitably return to normal. So you stop thinking obsessively about your partner day and night. And somethings you stop thinking he or she is “the One.”
You don’t need to take this peronally, however, if it happens. It has little to do with you or your partner. Rather, it involves a normal biological balancing process. So what you need to remember is that after your in-love system readjusts in this fashion–and you’re not acting totally insane about your partner–you will have three choices:
• You can move into the next stage of being in love, which involves becoming more deeply affectionate. That’s called reward love–feeling good about being with your partner.
• Or, you can deal with your confusion and try to work it out with your partner. That might involve seeing a therapist or just toughing it out.
• And, of course, there is the final option of moving on.
This really isn’t hard to understand because most of us have been through it. We went wild about someone and wanted to be with that person. We thought about that person almost constantly. But no one warned us that we would wake up one day and not be obsessed about our lover. This was especially frustrating if we believed that we could hold the relationship together by simply being crazy about each other. But that’s the stuff of dreams and movies. In the real world, our biology works differently.
You go crazy about someone when your levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin drop way down. Then, you start thinking obsessively about your partner or potential partner, kind of like someone with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. That’s fun while the in-love high lasts. But recent studies have shown that your serotonin levels will always return to normal—between 12 and 30 months down the road.
That’s when you will get excited to see your partner if you have moved into the second stage of being in love. That type of love is powered by the dopamine reward system. When you’ve got it, you don’t think obsessively about him or her, anymore—unless you have a dysfunctional relationship style.
This might sound complex, but it really isn’t. And don’t let this information stop you from falling in love. Enjoy yourself. Just don’t make any big decisions until you have been with your partner for at least a year. It takes that long to know whether your relationship is serious and is moving into reward love. And remember, crazy love–where you think about your partner day and night–that’s a feeling that generally always ends.
For more information about crazy love and reward love, see Dr. Billy Kidd’s book Low Stress Romance.
If you click on Ask Billy!, Dr. Kidd will answer your questions about reinventing your life and your relationship. It’s completely confidential.