And They Lived Happily Ever After – NOT!

July 25, 2019

Do you remember the fairy tales you knew and loved as a child?

The storyline was often predictable: beautiful maiden is rescued by a handsome prince, they fall in love, marry, have 2.2 perfect kids, a castle in a desirable neighbourhood, thoroughbred horses to pull their late model carriage.  And they lived happily ever after …

If you ask me, this is where the REAL love story begins! 

The fact of the matter is, very few couples live happily ever after. Statistics suggest that 1 out of 3 Aussie marriages is destined to fail. So how does the fairy tale so often turn into a nightmare instead?

Love or Limerance?

There’s no doubt that falling in love is a magical experience. Remember when you could talk to your sweetheart on the phone for hours and still have plenty to say? You daydreamed a lot, and work or study no longer seemed as important. And who needed sleep, or food for that matter?!  Love and love alone sustained you!

But the truth is, we would die young and exhausted if we permanently existed in this intense state! The late nights take their toll; work and study suffers; other relationships are neglected.

Psychologists call it the state of “limerance”. Dr Diana McKay, from the University of Sydney’s Department of Psychological Medicine, explains:

“In those early stages of love, thinking about the person takes up so much time that your ability and desire to do other tasks – such as working or eating – is impaired.” 

You are literally obsessed with the object of your affection. Research has found that  brain function during this stage of a relationship is similar to that found in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)!

After every wedding, as the saying goes, comes a marriage. And suddenly, you begin to realise that your partner is not the person you thought he was. Yes, you’ve been looking at him through rose coloured glasses and once the honeymoon of your relationship is over, the lenses start to crack before shattering completely.

This is when many couples panic, thinking that love has gone out of the door. But this is not necessarily the case.

It is perfectly normal for your feelings for your partner to fluctuate. Passion comes and passion goes, and is influenced by many things – outside stresses, hormones, illness,  tiredness, a success at work, holidays, new babies, a death in the family, redundancy, to name just a few.

We have been led to believe that “limerance” is love, thanks to the fairy tales, romance novels and movies.

If only more people realised the truth about long term relationships! We need to adjust our expectations of marriage, and to spread the word about what it’s really like. It might not be a fairy tale but by working together, I truly believe a couple can make their love story last a lifetime.

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