It’s been said that love is one of the most powerful drugs known to man. Many of us have been there. Brighter days, exuberance, passion, spikes of creativity, and wanting to put our best foot forward. The sex is nothing less than AMAZING. We feel happy. Fulfilled even. The object of our affection is LOVE personified. It’s like heaven on earth. We’re more confident than usual. Family, friends, and acquaintances may even say that we are ‘glowing’.
Beneath the surface, our brains are flooded with drugs such as oxytocin, dopamine, and vasopressin. At the time, it feels that this love will last forever. We couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. We’ve found our ‘person’ and during this period which can commonly last up to 3 years, we may get engaged/married, move in together, have kids, and begin our lives together.
It’s a constant high. The honeymoon phase of relationships bring out the best in us. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last forever and as with all drugs, we eventually plateau off and begin to descend into a state of normalcy. A new norm if you will.
Usually, the descent into normalcy isn’t abrupt. We gradually sink into it. That’s when we begin to notice things that annoy us about our partner. While time and experiences have bonded us, we aren’t as “in love” with them. The love is still there, just not as intense. The new norm takes about 3 to 4 years after the honeymoon phase to reach a baseline and this is what many refer to as the 7 year itch.
As our partners grow familiar to us, we settle into a certain lifestyle and patterns. We may take them for granted. We put on a few pounds. We become a little more selfish. We begin to seek a sense of identity separate from our significant other/ family. The sex starts to fall off a bit. Instead of going at it like rabbits several times a day, we settle for once or twice a week. The energy that carried us during the honeymoon phase diminishes ironically around the time our responsibilities increase due to kids, bills, and family life.
We know everything about that person. Familiarity begins to breed contempt. The relationship starts to feel more like an obligation than a vacation. This is the time where marriage starts to take work. Habits and rituals such as date night become very important. A good sense of humor here can go a long ways. It’s not easy, but this is where true love actually lives.
True love is a choice, where as being in love isn’t. True love isn’t easy, being in love is. True love almost always require sacrifice. The sacrifices made for the sake of being in love doesn’t feel sacrificial. If you’re reading this while in the throes of being in love, it may feel that this day will never come…and that’s natural. Your love cycle isn’t really different (no matter how it seems at the time). That day will come. The best you can do at this time is prepare for the day by implementing positive habits and rituals now.
Unfortunately, most people don’t and when the time eventually rolls around, many people end up contentious and divorced.
One of the biggest mistakes people make during that time is taking on a lover or possibly falling in love with someone outside of the relationship. If being in love while single is like cocaine, falling in love with someone else while married is like crack. It is extremely sinister and is the cause of many broken homes.
Despite the intensity of having that “in love” feeling being gone, a solid spouse does fulfill many needs that we might take for granted over time. They aren’t perfect, but due to it always being there, we often overlook or even minimize the contributions they make to our lives. A new person may fulfill the desire for novelty in the bedroom or otherwise, but foolishly we can overlook what else they can bring to the table.
In their lustful desire for the new person, we can forget the importance of the family unit. We magnify our spouses problems to justify being with this new person. Just as we once did with our spouse, we are blind to this new person’s problems or issues (or either they seem cute or quirky). The sex feels amazing. The secrecy and novelty makes it seem even better. We don’t feel as judged by that person ( knowing that we have a ‘safety net’ at home) so we feel more free to let our hair down so to speak. We lust them more than our spouse. We even bond over that fact that we’re doing something wrong together. It feels so wrong, but good at the same time and those opposing dynamics spike an already intense honeymoon phase.
Normally, neither we, nor our lover can explain the intensity of our chemistry. Those spikes of intensity can make us forget about the honeymoon phase we once had with our spouse. They may be even more intense due to the situation. Ignorant of the why, we’ll often chalk it up to finally finding our true soulmate.
We begin to justify our transgressions by exaggerating our spouses problems and downplaying their contributions. Our brains may even rewrite history. If our spouse begins to notice lies or subterfuge, they may begin to question us. This causes even more issues and problems in the primary relationships. Despite us being the cause of the problems, we’ll simply tell our lover that the marriage is having issues. We begin to neglect our spouse, lie to them, and even gaslight them. During this time of duress (probably brought on by us and our actions), they may begin to lash out at us. Even more justification to continue seeing the lover.
This can happen to the most upright person if they allow themselves to fall in love while married. While falling in love while single brings out the best in us, falling in love while married brings out the worst. In order to continue to feel that feeling, we lie, gaslight, blame shift and effectively abuse a person we vowed to love forever. We lie to ourselves and do things to others that we wouldn’t want done to us.
We somehow forget that we are effectively hurting our spouses and children by destroying their family unit. It is no longer important enough for us to work at….even though we might “go through the motions” to justify why the marriage couldn’t be saved. Many times while still seeing/communicating with our lovers. We become extremely irrational and blind to the emotional abuse we’re causing our spouse.
The was a reason that many ancient civilizations punished marriage infidelity through shaming or even death.
The intensity of honeymoon phase love is truly a drug. Even when exposed, many spouses still secretly try to see their lover. If no contact with the lover can be enforced, many of the cheating spouses feel lethargic or depressed. There have been many accounts where cheating spouses feel that they are addicted to their lovers and simply can’t let go despite knowing the damage they’re causing. This is due to the chemical cocktail still in their brain. Quitting during this phase is very much like the withdrawal process when trying to get off of an addictive drug.
This is not to say that the new relationship would have flourished though. Many reports show that relationships that begin from infidelity often fizzle out and the fallout is much worse than a regular breakup due to the cheater finally realizing the cost of their actions (destroyed families, damaged children, abusive behavior, etc) once it’s all said and done.
While there are exceptions to the rule, it rarely turns out that someone isn’t negatively affected by all this and it usually takes the form of psychological issues with the children. It can take the jilted spouse years to get over this and depending on how old they were when it happens, many may never recover fully.
With divorce and infidelity on the rise, this is becoming a new norm. Broken homes, child support, and spousal support are becoming common terms in today’s society. Movies and television normalize this even further. Many people are taking cues from the lives of dysfunctional celebrities and feel that it’s no so bad.
If you find yourself falling in love with someone while married and with kids, you should really consider what you’re doing to yourself. You’re truly walking a very thin line and it will very likely result in extreme pain for your spouse and children. This new person is NOT special. Your love is NOT special. It will likely end badly for everyone involved. Nearly everyone thinks that it will work out in the end, but it rarely does. In fact reports show that relationships that begin in this manner have a higher failure rate than average. This is due in part to the fact that cheaters as by evidenced with their infidelity have poor boundaries and poor coping skills. As it is often said, “If they’ll cheat with you, they’ll cheat on you.”
Despite feeling like it, you are not thinking clearly. . GetYou are a drug addict who justifies harmful or wrong actions in order to feel good help. All relationships have issues. These actions are causing you to become an effective psychopath who is unable to empathize with those you harm.
It’s been said that the actions taking during war changes people. These actions are changing you into a person who can hurt people in order to get your way. The abuse of your spouse and death and destruction of your family unit at your hands is something that will either haunt you forever or allow you to be able to do it again.
On the flip side, if they can do it to someone as important as their family, they will also have the capability of doing it to you once the honeymoon phase subsides.