This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.
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What happens when you fall in love? And is there any way to make that feeling last?
When you fall in love, you put on rose-colored glasses and the world appears in that perfect hue until you are unable to remember what the world really looks like.
Find out what happens when you fall in love, how long those feelings last, and what you can do to keep the love alive.
The Joys of a New Relationship: What Happens When You Fall in Love
We all enter long-term relationships via the emotions created during the first few weeks or months or years of the union. When we meet someone we find attractive or mesh with, we feel a spark inside. Like lightning, that spark electrifies our dormant heart. We begin to take in every word, action, or look as fuel for our tanks.
- If the spark becomes more intense after a few dates, we attribute it to falling in love.
- If the spark burns out quickly, we explain it as “not meant to be.”
When we find the person we feel is “meant to be,” we become preoccupied with the feeling of love. All we want to do is swim in the sea of that new love—hugging, kissing, doing everything together. When we are without them, our thoughts of that person distract us from the realities of life. This is what happens when you fall in love.
We assume this is how the world will look like it’s viewed from rose-colored glasses from now on with this person by our side. If we are old enough or experienced enough, we understand that love requires compromise and arguments will happen. But the person who is in love will assume that their love will conquer all difficulties that may come.
Yet, the rest of the world does not stop functioning because we are caught in our euphoric dream. Reality will butt back in. We all eventually return to the selves we were before we fell in love.
As we move farther into our relationship, the newness wears off. The little eccentricities or habits of the object of our affection, which once were so cute, start to show themselves as character traits that may or may not fit with our reality. This a normal part of what happens when you fall in love.
When reality starts to resurface, the work of love begins.
When Love Becomes Real
The euphoria that happens when you fall in love will fade. The feeling of being in love usually only lasts up to two years. Outside of the falling-in-love bubble lives responsibilities and basic human behaviors. If we can understand why love changes when the first blush of bliss fades, we can maintain a loving relationship.
The intrusion of base realities can quickly drain our energy and admiration of a loved one.
- Our partner may leave nose clippings in the sink or dirty socks on the floor.
- The need to support ourselves with jobs puts our focus on money, bills, mortgages, and savings, which are not sexy or romantic.
- Children require attention and resources, which can create competition and tension among couples.
Back in reality, these factors add up, changing our view from “anything is possible” to “how can we make this work.” And the love tank continues to deplete. From this diminished place, love has been lost or forgotten. Resentments grow when we feel the love we fell in love with fall by the wayside. A lack of love—or an emotion or action expressing the opposite of love—can feel like a dagger to our hearts. What happens when you fall in love is not what’s going to keep you in love.
The issue isn’t that the love we share isn’t real or strong enough. The issue is that we believed that falling in love was all that was required. We felt that our new love represented personal growth. The blindness of love made us believe we had found the person we were willing to sacrifice anything for, and vice versa.
But humans are created with ego. Every relationship includes two individuals with different wants, needs, and behaviors. Our lives are designed to create experiences that serve our needs best.
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Here's what you'll find in our full The 5 Love Languages summary :
- How to figure out what your love language is, and what your partner's is
- Why arguments happen in relationships, and how to stop them
- How to speak the right love language, even if it's not yours