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Ahhh, remember this: When you and your fiancé spent the entire weekend naked in bed, ordering in Chinese food. When you’d skip dinner reservations because you couldn’t keep your hands off each other. When your productivity at work plummeted because you couldn’t think stop thinking about your guy. When you were so in love that even a root canal couldn’t wipe that ecstatic smile off your face.
This juicy, beautiful stage researchers call passionate love. And sadly, it doesn’t last. Brides bemoan the end of the falling-in-love phase, because they know they can have that first kiss, that first obsessive weeks only once in their relationships. Other brides get into panic mode because they are now, in fact, able to keep their hands off their fiancés. That they don’t, in fact, want to spend the weekend naked in bed. These brides worry there’s something wrong with them, their relationship, and with their desire.
The shift from passionate love to what researchers call “companionate love” is a normal and healthy evolution for romantic partnerships. “Passionate love is necessary to galvanize us to pair up and direct all our energies into building a new relationship,” writes professor of psychology Sonja Lyubomirsky in The Myth of Happiness. “If we continued to obsess about our partners and to have sex multiple times a day, every day, we would not be very productive at work or attentive to our children, our friends, our health.” “Both types of love,” continues Lyubomirsky, “bring their own unique brand of happiness, one more exciting, perhaps, and the other more meaningful.”
So if you’re feeling kind of in-between, not driven to jump his bones at the earliest chance, but also not in the familial love of making PB&Js for your kids’ lunches, that sounds just about right. Many of us are in committed relationships with our fiancés for many years before getting engaged. Evolutionary psychologists would say you’re in the process of, well, evolving from one stage of love to another. But it’s perfectly okay to miss those sexy, sweet days when all you wanted to do is tear each other’s clothes off. Be grateful you had it — it’s what got you here today.
Allison Moir-Smith, MA, is a bridal counselor, creator of How Brides-To-Be REALLY Feel videos, and author of Emotionally Engaged: A Bride’s Guide to Surviving the “Happiest” Time of Her Life.