- Gender and Relationships
Crazy Love: Scientists Say It Always Ends
I'm a psychologist. People ask me, "why does crazy love always seem to end?" New brain research shows why.
At the beginning of the 21st century, psychologists discovered that the obsessive thinking part of in-love, go-crazy romance lasts about 18 months. During that phase of a relationship, individuals are constantly focused on their partners.
You don’t have to ask if you think you are in love, or what love is. That is because you’ve narrowed the field down to one person. But everyone’s biological processes change and rebalance, and the feeling of obsessive, crazy love always passes. But then, some people move into the second phase of in-love romance.
The second phase of in-love is where people sometimes get excited upon seeing their partners and about doing things together. But they are not constantly thinking about each other day and night—unless they have an anxious relationship style. But that’s another issue—emotional instability and codependence.
What’s important to consider, here, is that some individuals do not move into the second phase of in-love romance. Instead, they sober up to the fact that their partners seem like strangers. People often blame their partners for this change in how they feel. That is because they think that something must have gone haywire with them. But no, that’s not it. They were just not ready for what can happen when you fall madly in love, so they never moved to the second stage of being in-love.
Sobering up to the fact that you are no longer totally crazy about someone is quite common. Scientists have shown that this is a natural biological process. What’s going on is that some of the neurotransmitters that regulate the brain’s circuitry return to their pre-romantic state through a normal balancing process. This causes people to snap out of their in-love trance and stop having obsessive thoughts about their partners. They probably still get excited when they see them—if they have a functional relationship—but the situation is much less stressful.
But so often, like Romeo and Juliet, people really expected to go goofy over each other forever. So when the in-love feeling fades, they have no idea of how to develop a mature relationship or how to plan for the future together. And instead of realizing that their neurotransmitters are telling them to move more deeply into the relationship or to get out of it, they search for reasons to blame each other.
By then, it’s too late to simply go back to being friends. That’s because they probably never were real friends to begin with. They didn’t know each other long enough. And instead of admitting to their failure, people follow the script that they see role-modeled on TV: Let’s fight!
Sound familiar? Sure, it happens every day. But instead of warning young individuals that this could happen, older adults and family members generally encourage them to rush to the marriage altar. Individuals under this sort of family pressure get married without really knowing much about their partners. People continue to do this despite the high divorce rate. They don’t worry about not having a truly intimate relationship where partners honestly share their feelings. That’s because they’re crazy in-love. But when the in-love feeling passes, the never-ending argument begins.
That’s not because men and women have inborn communication problems. Rather, it is because the stress level is so high from this type of relationship that people get to a point where they are too burned out to talk. Under those conditions, they cannot move into the second stage of being in love.
It sounds tough, but no one has to settle for this sort of high-stress relationship anymore.
That’s because new scientific discoveries provide the tools that will allow you to reframe your understanding of your relationships. This knowledge will help you to respond effectively to the various types of thoughts, feelings, and reactions you have to your partners. That, in turn, will allow you to communicate more effectively.
Remember, crazy love killed Romeo and Juliet. And that was because they only had one of their five feelings of love engaged--the feeling of being obsessed about the other person. In a lasting relationship, you must also feel like friends. (Romeo and Juliet didn't know each other long enough to become friends) And you must feel like family in a good way. You must also care about your partner's future and help him or her on occasion. And you must be able to arouse each other sexually. Without all these ingredients, it feels like something is missing in your partnership.