You know when you first fall in love and the whole world seems brighter? Delicious oxytocin surges like a rushing river in your blood and your newfound lover is the most amazing person in the world to you — the one you’ve always been waiting for! At long last you’ve found your soulmate! This so clearly is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. Yummmmmmm!!!!
We call that ecstatic state NRE – New Relationship Energy. Yet many times just months or even weeks after falling in love, when your now not-so-new lover blows up at you or does something that hits you where it really hurts, the NRE is all but gone with the wind. What happened, you wonder? How could you have been so in love, and now this!
Some jump from relationship to relationship chasing the ecstatic high of NRE, yet abandoning their partner as soon as the high is gone. Others become frustrated and depressed at the loss of their dreams. A few even give up on the hope of ever finding a truly satisfying, long-term relationship.
The hormones in our bodies are designed to make us fall in love. If the human species is going to survive, we have to have offspring, so the love hormones push incessantly towards the act of procreation. When we are under the spell of these chemical potions, the urge to merge with our partner is irresistible, as is the drive to move into that most profound act that leads to the ecstatic bliss of orgasm where sperm becomes one with egg. Designed by nature.
Yet for so many relationships, once those powerful urges and hormones fade, we find ourselves entangled with one who somehow is able to trigger in us all the things we don’t like about relationship. If we look deeper at our patterns around this, we often find that our once-so-fabulous lover in some way reminds us of everything we didn’t like about mom or dad (and/or siblings). Suddenly we are faced with the same repugnant mess we had to deal with as kids. I call it the “family shit.”
Very few people escape childhood without deep wounds involving abandonment, abuse, rebellion, rejection, shame, inferiority, and more. For all that most of our parents wanted to do the right thing by us, they never got the manual and in the end failed at being the stellar parents they so wanted to be. By the time we are teenagers, many of us can’t wait to get out from under the oppression of our parents. We are driven to escape, to strike out on our own, and to create a new life for ourselves.
Yet no matter how far we leave our family of origin behind us, we still carry those wounds inside us. No matter how good we are at hiding them from others using the mask of our public persona, when we get close enough to someone, the family shit seems to slip out and stare us in the face again. We may have escaped from home, but the hidden traumas of our childhood are ever poised to strike whenever the sexual glow of NRE fades and true intimacy looms.
Consider the possibility that unconsciously we attract lovers who, once the NRE phase passes, stimulate the unresolved wounds within. It’s as if nature or the universe wants us to connect with those who will confront us and give us the opportunity to heal the old family shit.
That may even be what causes us to be so infatuated with certain people. It’s as if we have a karmic date with our own shadows which sooner or later show up in that amazing new lover. And every time we run from this, it’s just a matter of time until the next love shows up and plays out a similar drama, though usually with a different flavor.
So what can we do about this? How do we break the cycle of NRE devolving into family shit and find real, long-lasting love and intimacy?
You may not like the answer. It takes some real work. It takes real commitment to shine light into the shadows and learn to dance with them before we can find more grace and profound connection in our relationships.
The first step is simply recognizing and acknowledging the process. When you look back on your relationships and see a certain pattern again and again that you blamed on your partners, consider the possibility that it is not about them. If you keep stumbling into the same mess, the source of the problem is very likely coming from you, from that unresolved family shit that keeps getting shoved in your face until you finally decide to make a change.
Once you understand the process, you can start to make progress. First, avoid the tendency to jump in and go to intercourse quickly with a new lover. This may feel against your biological nature, yet if you give time for the family shit to show itself before you take the leap, it is much easier to see the train wreck that might be coming your way and make better choices about how deeply you want to get involved with that ideal-looking mate.
See if your potential special someone is willing to talk about these things and ideally willing to commit to working on their own family shit. If they are, you could be a great allies to each other in shining light into those shadows and unraveling that mess. If both of you have a clear intention to move through the challenges that inevitably arise, you have a much greater chance of finding healing and true love and intimacy together.
You will also benefit greatly if together you find outside guidance in sailing through the stormy waters. A good coach or therapist can be worth their weight in gold. Here are a few other resources which can be very helpful on this hero’s journey:
- For a most awesome book to guide you through these stormy waters of intimacy and relationship, check out the excellent techniques and advice provided in Undefended Love by Jett Psaris and Marlena Lyons. Two other excellent books along these lines are Intimacy & Desire by Dr. David Schnarch and Spiritual Partnership by Gary Zukav.
- For a concise, insightful guide to uncovering the family shit, the personal shadows which often shape our lives from behind the scenes, check out the two-page essay “Transform Fear Through Core Belief Work.”
- For a free online lesson chock full of great stories, videos, and other resources which call us to take responsibility and become the creators of our own destiny, see this webpage.
- Watch a hilarious 13-minute video on the difference between men and women’s brains. It could help you a lot in understanding your partner and why you sometimes drive each other crazy.
Once you commit to shining light into your own shadows and learning to dance with them, you may be delightfully surprised at not only how much richer your relationships become, but also at how the levels of love and intimacy in your life shift to inspiring new depths. And have fun along the way! Though there will always be challenges, I have no doubt that it in the long run, your relationship life can get better all the time.
Written by the founder of this website