Staying In Love

The idea is to be yourself when you fall in love, right? Or should I say, the idea is to stay yourself when you fall in love? I think one of the biggest love-life problems is that people change who they are when they make a commitment to love.

Before the commitment many couples have more fun and enjoy each other’s company more. This problem is compounded by the fact that who you were when your lover first met you is who he or she fell in love with. Why would a person become someone else when he or she commits or marries? Let’s look for clues to answer this critical question.

Some people turn into their parents when they get married. They stop being themselves and become who they believe their parents are or were as a committed or married couple. The parents are the model and the model is a source of identification with or without awareness and choice. Now if your parents are developed people with a great relationship, this might turn out alright for you. If they’re not in love and mistreat each other, your identification with them is not going to help your love-life much.

The real problem here is that you have patterned your love-life after someone else’s. That can be a formula for disaster sooner or later. The best approach that produces the best results is to have the love relationship ‘you’ want and need. To personally ‘own’ your own love-life. It makes sense that this would be the most satisfying. The fact is, a lot of love relationships start out that way. Two people being themselves and enjoying that natural fact in their relationship. But when commitment starts they have to become someone else. Why?

Another good example of this involves the changes lovers go through when they are preparing to have a baby. A lot of couples literally stop having fun. They get super serious with each other with themselves with over people. Wives may become full-time mothers and husbands become full-time fathers. The joy goes out of their relationship and everything becomes labor. In fact, many couples never find their way back from this transformation and loss. The kids become their major and sometimes their only preoccupation.

Distance and the absence of intimacy can be the long-term consequence of this change. What people believe about their love-life is pretty much what happens to them. Especially if the beliefs are convictions. If you believe that you’re only supposed to have a little bit of fun with your lover once commitment or a family gets started, that’s pretty much what will happen.

If you believe you don’t personally have what it takes to be a good husband, wife, father, or mother, you’ll become what someone else is or was in love instead of following your own inner guide. You’ll think that what they are doing or done in a committed love relationship is what you should be doing instead of finding out from your own insides what you should be doing. Dr. T. Jordan

Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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