Love Relationships and Their Cycles
~By Patricia Kay Youngson ~
“The Merge”–Falling in love. This is the stage in which we merge with our love like a mother merging with her newborn. Your heart is open and you feel boundless compassion. Any faults or differences are minimized and positive qualities are foremost. Biochemical changes occur that result in sleeplessness, loss of appetite and soaring libido. Unfortunately, this stage does not last. It is not a good time to get married or make any other drastic life-changing decisions.
“Doubt and Denial”–Eventually doubts arise and we push them away until it is impossible to ignore the fact that your love is not perfect (and neither are you). This stage is normal and not necessarily the end of the relationship. The positive things you can do are at the end of this article.
‘Disillusionment”–The conflicts are definitely in awareness. In addition, we feel that push-pull of the conflicting desires for independence and connection. Power struggles are obvious. Passion may have vanished. This is a time to nurture ourselves with love and care and to look at our partner in a balanced way, neither exaggerating their good qualities or the not so good qualities.
“Decision”–This is the stage in which you search yourself and decide what you really want and don’t want as well as your needs. Your choices are: 1) to separate, 2) to stay in the relationship as it is, 3) to lead separate lives within the relationship or 4) to create a different more satisfying relationship.
“Wholehearted Loving”–If you decide to stay in the relationship you have the potential to arrive at this stage. Here, you can regain the joy of the first stage without the “love drug”. In wholehearted loving you are not there to fix or change your partner but to interact with them in the best, most mature way you can. Generosity, playfulness, humor, love, compassion, and forgiveness are key.
These are the love cycles as described in Linda Carroll’s book “Love Cycles”. She also discusses the six essential skills for couples. These are: 1) Being aware of your part in any difficulties and reflecting on your family history to understand how you operate in relationships. 2) Listen and act on your partner’s concerns avoiding defensiveness, withdrawal and disconnection. 3) Accept your differences and learn to collaborate. 4) Learn to make new, positive responses to tense situations rather than your instinctive responses. 5) Nourish the relationship with kindness and good will toward your partner. 6) Take good care of yourself in body, mind and spirit (“Love Cycles–The Five Essential Stages of Lasting Love (2014) by Linda Carroll).
Patricia Kay Youngson RN, MA Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University. firstname.lastname@example.org, website Patriciak.com.