Why is it that the beginning of things, like relationships, is so exciting, thrilling and filled with denial of the red flags ahead? This person, this place, this thing; why are they enticing enough to base a major life decision on? We hear of ‘love at first sight’. These are the experiences that movies, fairy tales and, most of all, dreams are made of. Yet, when the veil of the ‘beginning of’ falls away, we are left, once again, with making decisions and choices as we have done in the past. Isn’t this man I am dating eerily familiar to the man I just divorced?
Let’s look not at the differences. Let’s look at the similarities. This woman looks different, treats this newfound love differently than anyone he has met before, yet there is something about her that sends him a signal of caution. Red flags, we call it. We rarely see this new person, new place, and new thing in its state of ‘ugly reality.’ It is only in the journey of this new ‘relationship’ that we find states of jealousy, envy, neediness and fear that will eventually send us running. But, that is eventually. For now, the intoxicating lure of the newness of this person saturates us to the fill mark where we were alone and longing before.
Denial can be so strong that it is like a sirene calling its prey to the beautiful and dangerous rocky shoreline? The ecstasy of what we’ve always yearned for seems worth the ultimate sacrifice; the death that will soon follow. The most wonderful explosion of passion we’ve ever experienced brings with it not a drop of rational thinking. There is no thinking.
So, how do we find balance in the beginning of things? In my practice as a mental health therapist, I hear couples lament that they wish they could be like they were to each other in the beginning of their relationship. What would it take to sustain the emotions, physical sensations and thrills of our first days, weeks and months together? These things can’t be.
The ability to endure, commit and remain with this now ‘not so new’ person, place or thing is where our work as human beings must happen. We learn to communicate and have boundaries. This is where ‘the beginning’ of longevity comes in. It must, or we will lose what ‘could have been’ along with the history of what made it all so wonderful.
Debra Whittam is the author of “I'm I Going to be Ok?" For any media inquiries or questions please contact: Contact@DebraWhittam.com