“Everything you thought you knew about love is wrong.” – Aziz Ansari
The American actor and comedian is a God-send when giving his opinions on the subject of modern romance. His thought-provoking piece on TIME had led me to really decipher on all the mishaps and tangled modern dating webs that I had spun for myself. Questions like “maybe I’m just too picky because I know there’s a vast amount of options out there” or “how are you actually to know who you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with if there’s this great big world out there?”.
My mind went back and forth toying with the idea of “I feel compelled to do a ton of research to make sure I’m getting every option and then making the best choice. If this mentality pervades our decisionmaking in so many realms, is it also affecting how we choose a romantic partner?”
An excerpt from the article:
Passion and Patience
in relationships, there’s commitment and commitment, the kind that involves a license, usually some kind of religious blessing and a ceremony in which every one of your close friends and relatives watches you and your partner promise to stay together until one of you dies.
In the U.S., marriage rates are at historic lows—the rate of marriages per 1,000 single women dropped almost 60% from 1970 to 2012. Americans are also joining the international trend of marrying later; for the first time in history, the typical American now spends more years single than married. So what are we doing instead?
As Eric wrote in his own book, Going Solo, we experiment. Long-term cohabitation is on the rise. Living alone has skyrocketed almost everywhere, and in many major cities, nearly half of all households have just one resident. But marriage is not an altogether undesirable institution. And there are many great things about being in a committed relationship.
Look at my parents: they had an arranged marriage, and they are totally happy. I looked into it, and this is not uncommon. People in arranged marriages start off lukewarm, but over time they really invest in each other and in general have successful relationships. This may be because they bypassed the most dangerous part of a relationship.
In the first stage of a relationship, you have passionate love. This is where you and your partner are just going crazy for each other. Every smile makes your heart flutter. Every night is more magical than the last. During this phase, your brain floods your neural synapses with dopamine, the same neurotransmitter that gets released when you do cocaine.
Like all drugs, though, this high wears off after 12 to 18 months. At a certain point, the brain rebalances itself. In good relationships, as passionate love fades, companionate love arises to take its place. If passionate love is the cocaine of love, companionate love is like having a glass of wine.
In his book The Happiness Hypothesis, NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt identifies two danger points in every romantic relationship. One is at the apex of the passionate-love phase. People get all excited and dive in headfirst. A new couple, weeks or months into a relationship, high off passionate love, goes bonkers and moves in together and gets married way too quickly.
Sometimes these couples are able to transition from the passionate stage to the companionate one. Other times, though, they transition into a crazy, toxic relationship and/or get divorced.
The second danger point is when passionate love starts wearing off. This is when you start coming down off that initial high and start worrying about whether this is really the right person for you.
Your texts used to be so loving: It’s hard to focus on anything at work, ’cause all that’s in my head is you. Now your texts are like: Let’s just meet at Whole Foods. Or: Hey, that dog you made us buy took a dump in my shoe.
But Haidt argues that when you hit this stage, you should be patient. With luck, if you allow yourself to invest more in the other person, you will find a beautiful life companion.
Read the full article here.