On Love

Romantic love is intoxicating. To fall into love is a full body experience, and one that offers the soul many rewards.

One day, though, the shift begins, and this is where two paths emerge: the one that leads to the castle and the one that leads to bog of eternal stench (yes, a Labyrinth reference).

It isn't too hard to figure out what happens in the latter scenario. Fights and disagreements increase. Aggrevation makes an appearance. Conversations slow. Friends take a more central role again. Physical attraction, or at least the physical expression of it, moves to the backseat or greatly slows down. And the grass is so green on the other side.

In the former scenario, the path to castle of mature love has some characteristics of the path to the bog of eternal stench, but other traits are cultivated as well.  Commitment, caring, kindness, respect, a sense of partnership, and support solidify. Oxytocin kicks in, and a new type of closeness is rooted in trust, comfort, and touch to strengthen the existing bond.

The path to the castle has many distractions.  Sometimes you can think you are headed to one destination only to discover you really aren't. Surprise!  I am hopeful that I will be fortunate enough to find the path to mature love. To make sure, from time to time, these honest "check-ins" should help me determine that we are walking the castle path.

  • Affection (hand-holding, kisses, reaching toward the other, contact in some way) is still present. 

  • Desire to engage verbally (the conversations continue, want to share life details with partner) is strong. 

  • Degrading references to each other are not part of fighting. 

  • Sex life remains satisfying (still happening, both partners still interested, it remains intimate and connected). 

  • Acceptance of flaws remains high (basically that neither partner is trying to re-mold the core of the other, or becoming hypercritical about flaws and quirks) 

  • Love language persists (I love you can be said a thousand ways, and it is still being said without many prompts). 

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