New love is almost like a drug the way that it takes over our emotions and alters our behavior. There’s the excitement of meeting a new person that still lingers accompanied by the curiosity that drives one to explore and learn all that there is to possibly know about their new love interest. The late-night phone calls, the constant need to be in one another’s presence, the butterflies, the feelings of being on cloud nine, the adrenaline rush experienced each time you realize that you have a message from your significant other, the giddiness and so on are all emotions and behaviors associated with new love and new relationships. The feeling of having your emotions intertwined with someone new whom you find yourself to be compatible with is euphoric and exhilarating. You see your partner through rose-colored sunglasses and they can do no wrong. While this is an absolutely beautiful phase in a relationship, the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t last forever. Not all of these feelings and behaviors cease as the relationship continues to grow, but studies have shown that the “head-over-heels” sensation tends to become less intense over time.
So, what happens when you are no longer seeing your partner through those rose colored glasses and reality acts as a pair of 3D Acuvue contact lenses giving you a 20/20 view of your partner, good, bad, and indifferent? What happens when the fairy tale fades and real life kicks in? What happens when the thrill of conquering something new is no longer present? Well, one of two things can happen. The couple either loves one another through their best as well as their worst or they decide that the relationship is not worth it and they part ways. The reality of a relationship is that it is something that two people must work at if they want it to thrive and flourish. Sadly, everyone is not willing to put forth the effort which is why one week you will see that infamous Facebook status updated: John Doe and Jane Doe are now in a relationship, followed by a host of cute photos and status updates filled with love proclamations. A few months later you log on to see Jane Doe went from being ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’ and you think to yourself “Woah, I wonder what happened. They seemed so happy.” A question that many people in relationships should ask themselves is “When the newness fades what will we have left?”
There are four different types of love that a human can experience which include Storge- an affectionate kind of love often shared between family members, Philia- a love that comes as a result of a strong bond between friends, Eros – the form of love that many know as romance or intimacy and is commonly associated with being “head-over-heels”, and Agape- an unconditional love. In most cases they start off in the Eros phase, however it should gradually mature into Agape. Any relationship solely based on Eros love will fail. Theories suggest that if a relationship never reaches Agape love it cannot thrive, which makes perfect sense. Agape love is the glue that holds a couple together. When life becomes more demanding and pressures begin to swell, unconditional or Agape love is absolutely crucial to the survival of a relationship. It is what gets you through those rough patches and difficult seasons.
In order for a healthy relationship to last all four types of love should be present. As a result of the four present loves will come patience, dedication, respect, fidelity, communication, generosity, honesty, willingness to change. Strong relationships don’t just “happen”. They are formed when two people make a conscious decision to work at it and love one another unconditionally.
Jazmine Denise is a New York City based Lifestyle & Relationship writer.