HomeMain PageRelationshipsMap of RelationshipsMap of Relationships (Full Version Script) Part III

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Map of Relationships (Full Version Script) Part III — 4 Comments

  1. Al, may I run a couple hypotheses by you? I’ve been thinking about these for some time and would absolutely love your expert opinion on them.

    Hypothesis #1: Romantic love is exciting because it provides just the right balance of safety and danger, and therefore can be reignited by finding that balance again. I think of it like a roller coaster, or a horror or action movie. These things make us feel a bit of danger, but only while we still know that we are safe. If you were on a roller coaster and then started to worry that it was malfunctioning and you might be in actual danger, it would not be fun anymore. If you’re watching an action movie where someone is escaping a burning building, but then the movie theater actually caught on fire, it would not be fun anymore.

    I hypothesize that the exciting period of a relationship is when you’ve caught just that right balance. When you first get out there and try to meet someone, it is no fun because it’s too scary. Then when you have fallen in love, you feel confident that the other person feels for you, but you still have just enough uncertainty to maintain that excitement. So the solution should be to do the same thing as roller coasters or action movies do – create an illusion of danger, while still maintaining safety. Tease your partner. Play hard to get, and I mean playing hard to get with a wink so they know it’s not real. Go out with your friends all night so that your partner has no idea when you will be home, but only as long as your partner feels secure that you will indeed be coming home.

    Hypothesis #2: Romantic love is a pleasure, and like any other pleasure, it is reduced by over-consumption. I love chocolate. I used to have eating problems in the past. If I don’t consciously stop myself, I could very easily eat chocolate several times a day. After a while, I don’t get pleasure from it anymore. For some reason I still feel motivated to over-consume chocolate even when I have had too much and I’m not getting pleasure from it anymore. If I go on a diet and forbid myself to eat sweets for weeks and then eat chocolate, then it tastes absolutely euphorically delicious.

    I get lots of pleasure out of eating chocolate if I moderate how much of it I consume. Over-consume it and I get no pleasure from it. Is it possible that time with loved ones works the same way? We feel motivated to spend time with them even when we have “over-consumed” time with them and aren’t getting pleasure from it anymore? If I eat some chocolate and I notice I get no pleasure from it, then I know that means I need to eat less chocolate for a while. If my lover walks in the room and I’m not turned on, does that mean I need spend less time with them for a while (assuming everything else is working in the relationship)?

    • Hello Melanie, Maybe not an expert opinion, but I’m sure I got an opinion. I really enjoy creating theories and deriving other guesses. So all your thinking was fun to read, for me. All in the cause of trying to get “predictability” in a pretty chaotic seeming world. Science at work!

      Romantic Love can be seen as a state-to-be-kept or a stage to be worked through. All my experience suggests that the latter view creates more predictability. I think both your hypotheses at their core are based on the idea that Romantic Love is something stable to be captured, managed, protected. (Probably based on the truncated romantic view of “fall in love, live happily ever after”) I think if you keep working on these theories, your theories will stretch out longer and longer. Remember to add in the topic of partner selection, the staggering blindness in Romantic Love stage, and keep working on getting rid of the magic. And I prefer to include the brilliance and wisdom of the inevitable Power Struggle.

      So for me it is more a “fall in love” is the sign of a first step, then a bunch of steps, and then “living happily ever after.”

      Good thinking.

      • Al, thank you so much for engaging with me. Please let me know if I’m being too chatty. I’m working my way through all your archives and feel inspired to discussion again and again. If it’s too much, you can tell me and I promise to take it well!

        I’m well aware that my hypotheses don’t really jive with your teachings, but I don’t think they necessarily contradict them. I know that you say that Romantic Love is a stage to move past, but I still wonder if at least some component of it can be reignited at the same time as Vintage Love.

        As you say, Romantic Love requires insufficient data to exist, and once you have that data, you can’t go back. But isn’t it possible for a couple in Vintage Love to introduce just a little bit of uncertainty and unpredictability to get that excitement back, at least once in a while? Take the data your partner has, and mess around with some data points a little bit so they aren’t 100% sure of the data. It would be a delicate balance, because they still need to feel safe and secure. So it has to be just the right amount of uncertainty to arouse excitement, but not enough uncertainty to make them feel insecure. This is why I’m thinking of roller coasters or action movies, because they’re exciting as long as we feel confident we are actually safe and secure.

        I’m not asserting this, it’s just a hypothesis.

        • Personally, Melanie, I think we are pretty much saying the same things – unless we split hairs. Here’s what I wrote in the finale of my Map of Relationships essay. Got some other things added, like the Biological Dream, but pretty much the same.

          The Three times
          The Map of Relationships lets me see the three chances we humans have to reach for the Biological Dream – to become fully alive.

          At birth, we all awaken to it as a dream. We expect our caretakers to be people who are Relationally Mature, who will care for us in a Biologically Real way. Most of us are dis-appointed. Whenever we fall in love, we awaken once more to the hope of living the Biological Dream. And finally, if we persevere, we can learn our way to Vintage Love, where we live in the Biological Real world. And then we are the kind of people children expect to meet when they are born.

          Three Chances

          And now I can say what I have always wanted to say. Romantic Love is real and wonderful and…. Possible! The dream within Romantic Love is forever. Realizing that dream, making it real, is doable – just work. Instead of celebrating the romance of marriage so much, I wish we could learn to celebrate the courageous decision to Go For It, and enter Door #1, and to work through the University of Life. And in making the Romantic Dream real, we
          all make the world a better place. There is the hand of some great genius in this. This I believe. This is my faith.

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