To find out if a relationship has a future, you need to start with your feelings. Are you really in love with this person, or is it just infatuation? We’ve all heard the phrase “love is blind.” Well, at the beginning of a relationship, it’s true!
Many of us become intoxicated at the beginning of a new relationship. We can’t get this person out of our minds, and we’re filled with a hot desire and desperate longing to be together. We feel like we’re walking on air, the birds are singing, and everything seems bigger, brighter, and better! This is known as passionate love, and it feels wondering and exciting. But really, is this the right state of mind to be in to make sound decisions about a partner? Is it possible to see who someone is, inside and out, after so little time?
Passionate love, also known as infatuation, can feel like an obsession. During this period, you may feel like a relationship superhero with powers of ultra-focused attention, heightened energy, no need for food or sleep, feelings of euphoria, and unstoppable sexual energy and attraction. You may swear that what you’re feeling is love, but you may actually be the victim of your body’s hormones instead. Increased dopamine levels associated with passionate love stimulate areas of the brain responsible for fantasy and imagination, leading to a kind of lovesickness in which the imagination just can’t rest. In fact, it can take as long as eighteen to twenty-four months with a partner, for the brain’s love chemicals to stabilize.
Studies have found that the average person experiences infatuation at least six or seven times.
Want to put your feelings to the test? Ask yourself the following seven questions. Answer yes or no to each question.
- Is your relationship distracting you from work or other responsibilities?
- Are you having a hard time concentrating and staying focused on anything other than your new partner?
- Do you constantly feel the need to be together, even if you have to sneak away?
- Are you ditching activities you enjoyed (or are you neglecting your friends and family) to spend time with your new love instead?
- Do you ignore or not care what your friends or family think?
- Have you recently lost weight or find that you just aren’t hungry?
- Do you constantly think about your future, and what your partner thinks about you?
Give yourself one point for each “yes” response, and then tally your score. The higher the number, the more likely it is that you are infatuated with your partner, at least for now. My advice? If you have a high score, take your time. You’re probably not seeing your partner and the relationship clearly. Don’t make any big decisions about your relationship right now.
Dr. Terri Orbuch (aka The Love Doctor®) is a relationship expert for OurTime.com, as well as a professor, therapist, research scientist, and author of 5 best-selling books, including “Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship,” available on Amazon.com. Learn more about her at: DrTerriTheLoveDoctor.com.