So now you’ve met a new guy who you really like and you both are eager to begin exploring the potential that exists in your new dating relationship. This is commonly called “the honeymoon phase” of a relationship and is definitely an exciting and invigorating time.
It’s a time of aliveness where the attraction you have for your new boyfriend prospect bubbles over, causing you to think about him and wanting to be with him every waking second. The separation pangs when you are apart nag at you and distract you from your daily tasks. You ache to be with him and find yourself preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of what “could be” that fuel your desire even further.
It’s A Chemical Reaction!
There’s actually a clinical term used to describe this phenomenon that exists at the beginning of every romantic relationship. Coined by psychologist Dorothy Tennov, limerence is an involuntary state of intense desire and attachment toward another person whom you become attracted. You begin to idealize him and magnify all his good qualities. It’s intrusive and provokes feelings of deep longing and passion to be with that person and these feelings can be blindingly strong. In fact, our bodies naturally produce an abundance of chemicals and amphetamines during the romantic love stage, including dopamine and the “love drug” phenylethylamine (PEA), that account for this state of euphoria and ultimate bliss.
The point of all of this is that when you first meet someone whom you share a strong attraction with, there’s a lot of powerful currents going on that could cause you to get swept away in the tidal wave of emotion. This can lead you to make impulsive and reckless decisions that could sabotage a potentially good thing you and your new dating partner could have if you’re not careful.
Many gay men make the mistake of rushing things along too quickly because it feels good, like having sex too soon or moving in together prematurely.
Whoa, Down Boy!
You want to ensure that you get your budding relationship off on the right path toward success! Enjoy this wonderful feeling that you’re having and bask in the glow of it; this is truly one of the greatest joys of life! And while you’re savoring it all, it’s also important at the same time that you balance and regulate these feelings so they don’t impair your judgment and cause you to act in ways that might disrupt healthy relationship development. The key to accomplishing this is through pacing.
Pacing refers to taking things slow and letting the relationship evolve and mature naturally. While there certainly are those relationships that prosper when the couple had sex on the first date, for example, having sex too early or rushing the relationship too quickly tends to be defeating because a foundation of trust and intimacy has not yet been set to withstand any eventual conflicts or strain that are a part of growing as a couple.
So how do you control yourself when you want nothing to do but to rip the clothes off of your new guy even though you know it’s best to wait?
How do you handle these powerful feelings of attachment without losing your sense of self and without becoming too intertwined?
[ Continued Tomorrow: "action challenges to help keep you on the right track toward promoting a healthy relationship progression with your new dating prospect." ]
© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc. http://thegaylovecoach.com