Friday

How to Make a Relationship Last: "Love Blindness"



In relationships, we place a high premium on truth, but is there really anything wrong with illusions?

I read an article recently by Helen Fisher, PhD. She argued that the key to long lasting romance is the ability to believe, at all times of your relationship, that your partner is as ideal for you as he/she was when you met. The concept is known as “love blindness”. Apparently, idealizing our beloved benefits us and the relationship because we tend to view positively the object of our affection.

I think that her argument has merit based on the relationships that I have observed that have failed, including my own. Many have failed because like Dorothy, over time, the partners get a glimpse of what is behind the curtain and learn that their loved one is rather ordinary.

One of the reasons that I have been fortunate enough to have several significant romantic relationships is because in the beginning all I see is wonderful.  I believe that my partner is the smartest, strongest, most talented person that I have ever met. I don’t hesitate to tell them or anybody else how great they are. And, I am not pretending. I hold those beliefs to be self-evident and will argue with anyone who doesn’t agree. It’s part of the intoxication that I feel when I’m in love.

Unfortunately, over time, I sober up. I begin to see the truth. All of those whom I have loved are mere mortals. They put their pants on one leg at a time and have their challenges. Of course I don’t fault them for being human. However, as movies so ably illustrate, loving a super hero is easy. Loving people takes work and isn’t nearly as romantic.

The above may explain why I have had a series of failed relationships. I used to believe that sobering up and coming down to earth was an essential part of the process. Being a student of love, I have believed for a while that those who remain perpetually intoxicated are doomed for a rude awakening. However, Dr. Fisher’s article suggests otherwise.

I don’t think that Dr. Fisher was suggesting that you need to believe that your lover can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Rather, she was suggesting that, regardless of any limitations that you discover, you need to believe that your partner is the right person for you. If you don’t, it is likely that you will find faults that justify your need to end the relationship.

Anybody who has ended a relationship knows that once you believe that your partner is not the right person for you, especially if you believe in true love, you begin to believe that someone else might be. Even if you see your partner’s good qualities you no longer value them. After this “enlightenment” breaking up becomes your focus and you can’t envision another alternative. You even justify the break up by believing that you have an obligation to end the relationship so that both of you can be free to find the love that you both deserve.

All of that loving and breaking up is emotionally exhausting. I want a love that lasts.

Currently, I am passionately in love. My partner is wonderful. We have been together a year and a half. And true to form, I am almost convinced that he is Superman. I am also confident that he is absolutely perfect for me. He complements me in every essential way. And he makes me feel better about myself. According to Dr. Fisher’s article this is a very good thing.

The more I think about it the more I agree with Dr. Fisher.  Often we see flaws where others see fabulous.   Instead, we should continue to view our partners and ourselves through the loving lens we used when we met them.  That lens will likely emphasize the good and minimize the bad.  Some might call this failing to see the truth, but I call it love.
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