When we study the psychology of relationships, we quickly learn that every relationship has numerous stages. When an individual is trapped in the normal relationship stage, it may be very difficult for him or her to avoid falling down the (so-called) rabbit hole.
Have you ever found a romantic partner who met many of your needs, and with whom you felt completely connected, only to come and find out months (or years) later that this person is not at all who he or she once appeared to be? In fact, this partner turns out to be quite the opposite of the person you originally fell in love with. Small quirks and peculiarities that you once found endearing begin to grate on your nerves. The relationship begins to shift, and you begin to realize this is not the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
From personal and professional experience, as well as years of studying the nature of relationships, I have come to realize that this is a completely normal – almost expected –experience. Relationships start off with a bang – this is known as the “Romantic Phase.” Both partners experience a dopamine-induced high, and that initial high is usually not sustainable. As the relationship deepens, that initial feeling of falling head-over-heels in love begins to fade. Feelings of elation and infatuation begin to dissipate, making way for something more stable and ultimately fulfilling. At this juncture, the actions that one chooses to take will be pivotal to the relationship. I often see it in my practice; clients wanting to jump ship as soon as the romantic phase begins coming to a close. My clients are often surprised to find that these feelings are normal and that they are, in fact, an expected part of every new relationship.