What prevents us from maintaining the passion, attraction , admiration, and closeness we once felt for our partner? When couples enter into this type of bond, they substitute a fantasy of being connected in place of real relating.
They put form over substance, and the relationship starts to deteriorate. The degree to which an individual in a couple enters into a fantasy bond exists on a continuum. In the beginning, people usually open up to one another. They replace real love with a fantasy of being in love, which they support by insisting on the conventional markers of a relationship. The situation can deteriorate even further until the couple no longer manifests any observable loving behavior and often expresses a lot of animosity toward each other.
Having angry reactions to feedback instead of being open to it. Communication is key to a close relationship. Have I been distracted to the point of disregarding my relationship? However, we can strive to be open and seek feedback from people we care about and trust, so that they feel comfortable to talk to us about the more difficult subjects.
When we get involved with someone new, it should expand our world, not shrink it. When we first fall in love, we tend to be open to new things. However, when we start to engage in a fantasy bond, we tend to adopt roles and routines that limit us and close us down to new experiences. We may become more rigid and automatic in our responses. It can foster real resentment between partners.
Most of us know from experience that we can drive each other crazy when our words and actions fail to match. Unfortunately, deception and duplicity are common in relationships. There are a lot of mixed messages based on people saying one thing and doing another. The actions that contradict these words do not look like love. They represent a fantasy of being close but without real relating, essentially putting form over substance.
We have to know our real intentions and what our real truth is. This means we have to know ourselves. Do my words and actions really match? When our actions are honest, we can create genuine closeness. Overstepping boundaries instead of showing respect for them. They start to see themselves as a we, instead of a you and me. When we give another person this space, regard and respect, we actually draw that person closer to us. Some couples describe their sex lives as becoming mechanical or highly routinized.
This takes much of the excitement out of their attraction. Ideally, we strive to stay in touch with our own feelings and with those of our partner. There would be a give and take, with real contact being made, that sparks intimate and loving feelings. The more free flowing and spontaneous our expressions of love can be, the less likely you and a partner are to grow apart. In a fantasy bond, we tend to see our partners for who we need them to be rather than who they are.
We may distort them by idealizing or putting them on a pedestal. We may pick them apart, denigrating them by projecting negative qualities onto them. We may even see them as more critical, intrusive, or rejecting than they are, because we grew up with people who had these qualities. In an ideal relationship, we see our partner realistically, both their strengths and their foibles, and accept them for who they are. However, it also means not creating a grandiose image of them. No one can really feel loved unless they feel like they're seen realistically.
They may adopt roles that hurt or limit them in their relationship. For example, couples often polarize each other, with one person becoming domineering and controlling, while the other acts passive and submissive. This may take different forms in different aspects of the relationship. But this directness is the best way to maintain an honest and authentic way of relating that gets us what we want in life. We can encourage an atmosphere of love and support, while maintaining the unique, individual qualities that drew us to each other in the first place.
We can avoid the traps of a fantasy bond and enjoy the raw and real adventure that is a loving relationship. How to Keep Romantic Love Alive. Lisa Firestone at PsychAlive.