You Shouldn’t Panic When Your Relationship Cools Down

Alright, so you finally found someone who totally gets you, your dog, and your love of all things Quentin Tarintino. You connect not just on a physical level, but an emotional and psychological one as well. Both of you have been approved by the other’s friends and family, and in general, life with your partner is going pretty awesome. Since pretty much the time you two laid eyes on each other, there was no workday too long nor food night too epic to keep you two from maintaining an incredibly healthy sex life.

Although, speaking of sex, you’ve noticed lately that it has cooled off a little. You realize, you can be in a room together, alone, without wondering what base you will be at in the next five minutes. Sure, everything is still great, you’re both in love, but something has changed. So what is it? Did you get boring, did they? Is there some weird funk your relationship is heading into?

Don’t panic. While many relationships begin with a bang, over time a deeper, more lasting form of love can begin to take place. Basically, your horniness for each other was thanks to your pituitary glands, and now that they did their job, they’re taking a break to let the rest of the brain take over.

In 1987, a guy named Robert Sternberg proposed that there are three different building blocks that can combine to form different types of love. The first block, intimacy, includes feelings of warmth, communication, understanding, support, and sharing, basically all the things romantic movies taught chicks to want since they were two. The second block, passsion, is characterized by physical arousal, desire, and sexual longing, better known as all the really fun parts of a new relationship. Finally, commitment is the third block, characterized by the decision to devote oneself to a relationship and to work to maintain it. There are eight different ways to arrange these three blocks that can make a relationship be as cool as acquaintances, or as steamy as the consummate love seen in Romeo + Juliet (the Danes/DiCaprio version of course).

In almost any new relationship, it begins with passion high and intimacy and commitment low (infatuated love). As that relationship continues, intimacy and passion are high while commitment is still low and you find yourself in romantic love (as the French say, ah, c’est l’amour, c’est bon). Finally, after about six months to one year of being together, you find yourselves in companionate love, where intimacy and commitment are high, but passion has largely fizzled. This is the kind of love that typically has the longest shelf-life, the kind you see in the cute old couple holding hands at the park.

And there you have it, most likely your relationship is evolving into a deeper stage of love where passion has slowly been replaced by commitment and intimacy. While it may mean that the sex may not be as steamy as it once was, it does mean that you both are becoming more committed to being in a relationship and want it to continue. So don’t worry that your relationship has fewer fireworks, be happy that you have found someone that you can stoke a fire with for a lot longer.


~ You Shouldn’t Panic When Your Relationship Cools Down ~

Not a Freud

Not a Freud holds two degrees in psychology. She also has been in a steady relationship for the last 4 years and counting.