Dr. Helen Fisher offers her scientific counsel on how to experience sustained feelings of intense romantic love. I really enjoyed listening to this episode of “Big Think” because it provides logical validation on my internal theories of enduring passion.
I have read about the three phases of love. The beginning stage is called the lust phase. Next is the attraction stage, also known as the honeymoon period. Finally, an attachment forms in the commitment phase. It is said that relationships go through an evolution from one phase to the next in sequential order. However, I believe it is possible for couples to experience all three phases simultaneously.
We have all heard the term “honeymoon phase,” and even some of my dearest friends have cautioned me that the intensity Ezra and I share would naturally slow down, or someday evaporate. As I listened to their cynical words, I knew they spoke from experience. I secretly encountered feelings of guilt because I knew that our bond was only growing stronger and deeper. I often found myself in deep reflection trying to understand our profoundly balanced relationship. I wondered how and why the pieces fit so perfectly revealing a brightness and warmth on a colorful canvas. It feels healthy, stable, and simple. Yet, so exhilarating and complex.
Our connection has been electrically intoxicating since the beginning.We have now shared our bodies for three and a half years, our hearts for almost two years, and I still feel the fantasy love. Only now, after entering the third phase of love, it is a melange of fantasy love and real love. It only gets better people. You do not have to become complacent or stagnate in the commitment stage. The rays of energy shared between you and your partner can continue to reach new depths of desire, trust, fantasy, and reality.
I wanted to share this video because I completely endorse Dr. Fisher’s simple advice on how to keep the sizzle of your relationship alive. You can still feel the erotic passion of the lust phase, the romantic passion of the attraction phase, and the security and trust of the attachment phase.
- Have sex regularly
- Do novel things together
- Stay in touch
- Express empathy
- Control your emotions
- Practice positive illusions
- Say nice things to each other
It really isn’t unattainable to feel your cup runneth over with love. You do not have to go overseas on a great adventure to do novel things together. Ezra and I gain so much from simple pleasures. We enjoy reading aloud to each other from our books. We enjoy cold walks around the apartment complex with his hand wrapped around mine, until I suddenly jump on his back and he playfully carries me home. We make out multiple times a day and continue to explore each other’s bodies ambitiously. I never feel like he is too distracted to share his attention, but always feel like I am his greatest distraction. We touch with our eyes and our bodies.. and the way we stare at each other is capturing. We don’t usually message each other during the day with empty words, but use our messages as an opportunity to express how much we LIKE each other.
While I was at work three days ago he sent this message:
“I love that we can live together and cook for each other. I love that we have the same desire to explore our planet. But you are magic.”
He continued, “Days when we hide away together all day are still escapes. Just like they use to be.”
I responded, “You are my poet.”
The next day I said, “I’m thinking about you baby. I can’t believe we have each other or how intense and powerful our connection remains.”
My feelings were reciprocated when he said, “I can’t believe it either baby. It’s real and honest and healthy. I wouldn’t trade us for anything.”
Then, he told me he just wanted to feel my skin against his.. and I got impatient to get home after work…
I tell him about my days at school teaching first grade and he says, “You’re such a hero love. I feel honored to call you my girlfriend.”
It may seem too good to be real, but it is real. It isn’t always so light and carefree. We are humans living in a matrix of traffic and government institutions. Our jobs and the busy-ness of current life sometimes deplete our energy. There are days when I arrive home, I just want to wrap myself up in a blanket and close my eyes. It’s okay when things aren’t elevated and perfect. It is more important to acknowledge those moments and grow from them.
On Monday I told him, “I get tired sometimes but I am so happy to have you and see you and enjoy you.”
“I get tired too, but I am so happy to be with you babe. You bring me balance and light, and I am so grateful.”
Say nice things to each other.
Over the weekend we went on a hike with one of Ezra’s friends, Daniel. Daniel kept a steady pace on the uphill trek to the peak of the mountain. I tried my best to keep up, but fell behind when I stopped to tie my boot. I heard Ezra call out to Daniel to slow down for a minute so I could catch up. I love that he is always cognizant of my proximity. I smiled to myself, thankful. We stayed close to each other, but also gave each other space to enjoy the quietude of the woods. Sometimes we held hands for a few steps, just because we can’t go too long without touching. Other times we communicated with a soft gaze and a simple smile.
As we continued uphill, I started to feel the weight of the winter. I could have taken a rest, but I have pretty good endurance and wouldn’t stop unless they did. Ezra must have sensed my fatigue, because he asked Daniel if we could take a water break. I knew he did that for me. It’s like he is listening to me, even when I am not speaking.
We finally reached the destination and rested at the top to take in the view, the peacefulness, the sounds and sights of nature. The sky was gray and serene. A heavy fog covered the distant views. We shared cashews, granola, and water. We breathed in the cool clean air, happy to be in nature.
He asked Daniel to take a picture of us, and I was grateful knowing he did it for me and I didn’t have to ask.
The temperate dropped and I could see my exhales leaving my body. He walked over to me and as we silently looked into each other’s smiling eyes, he zipped my jacket up to the top. I felt so cared for and nurtured. I felt so grateful that he is constantly considering me. He’ll never know the quiet impact moments like that have on my soul.
This was just an ordinary Saturday. But it was novel.
I texted him Monday morning during a break at school. “We are a team and life is better together. I can’t even imagine ever betraying each other. People say relationships are hard, but our relationship just isn’t. I am so grateful for you and how much you care for me. I’m so lucky.”
He wrote back, “You’re more than I could have wished for in a human ally.”
We had plans to visit his family after work and I told him I couldn’t wait for him to hold my hand in the car. Every time we are in the car, grocery store, or walking on a path, he takes my hand in his. When we lie beside each other in bed, my hand rests safely in his. It never feels like a habit to me, I always feel so giddy and excited to hold hands. It’s special every time.
Tuesday morning I arrived to work at 7:25 am. I saw his name on my phone. Inside it said, “I can still taste your lips.”
I responded honestly, “The way I feel for you, and think about you is unexplainable. There is a constant sense of peace that floats around me knowing that I have you.”
Being in love is the greatest of all great experiences. There is more to a happy, healthy relationship than just loving each other.
Dr. Fisher encapsulates how to exist in all three phases of love. I believe her theory is accurate because Ezra and I do all seven things naturally and daily. Some of the suggestions are simple, some require self-work and reflection. But all are possible if you want to GROW in love instead of just staying in love.