May 5, 2008

The Broca Divide of Dating

Ian McLeod posted an interesting look into love over at his blog yesterday where he discusses what he found when reading A General Theory of Love, by Thomas Lewis, M.D., Fari Amini, M.D., and Richard Lannon, M.D. 

Mr. McLeod delves into the various types of love from time to time, but this is, in my opinion, his best work on the subject thus far. He speaks regarding a subject sorely needed today, what’s left when the butterflies and sweaty palms fade? McLeod does a very good job of establishing the difference between being in love with someone and truly loving them as one should love a spouse.

How many times have we seen it today? A couple begins seeing each other, fall madly in love, marry, and then a year later they split because they “fell out of love” with one another. I often wonder if many of these couples really stopped loving one another or simply shifted from being in love into the loving phase.

I’m not sure if I agree with McLeod’s metaphor of being in love as the fuse that leads to the explosion of loving, even with the added image of the explosion being immediately frozen. If the shift was so noticeable, so unmistakable as an explosion, how could people so easily mistake moving from the euphoric high of being in love with someone to the more enduring loving phase saying, “I still care about them, but I’m not in love with them”?

I know the experience was much quieter when I came to the transition in my own relationship with Hubby. The in love phase lasted much longer than the few weeks I expected, and I think perhaps that’s why I became rather concerned when it started to fizzle. We’d been dating for right about a year when it happened, and I worried for a day or two if I’d really loved him as much as I thought I did. Oh, I knew there was a euphoric phase at the beginning of a relationship brought on by a rush of endorphins that just can’t last, but I figured surely that had faded months earlier. It wasn’t until I realized I could no longer imagine my life without him in it that the fact this was the real deal hit me, and the timing couldn’t have been better since he proposed about a month later.

Originally Posted 4/23/2008

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