Decisions Under Infatuation - Part III

How To Avoid Making Relationship DUIs
If we’re not careful, infatuation can lead to impaired judgment and DUIs (Decisions Under Infatuation).

We are thus remaining aware that infatuation subsides and actively avoiding making important relationship decisions until that time occurs.

For example, partners who meet each other, strike up a relationship, and within a month are moving in with each other or getting married often end up separating just as quickly.

Granted, the idea of “waiting” in a relationship might feel counterintuitive to what we are feeling, but if it’s worth the time and energy we invest in it, then there is no rush.

Getting clear on the role of infatuation allows us to respond instead of react, and avoid making impulsive decisions.

After all, waiting requires that we postpone immediate gratification and reward. This demands mindfulness and self-awareness, instead of impulsive actions, as the media and our friends may encourage us to do. In order to avoid becoming one of the 50 percent of Americans who end up getting divorced, waiting is crucial.

In order to avoid becoming one of the 50% of Americans getting a divorce, waiting and taking time is crucial.

Monitoring and accounting for the effects of infatuation on a relationship – whether new or long-term – doesn’t mean that it has to end. It does, however, require mutual understanding by the partners about where they currently are in their relationship. It also requires that both partners be willing to build a relationship based on real, sustainable love.

During the dating process, clear thinkers know that they are meeting an idealized version of a potential partner whom they are only able to see in the best possible light. This stage can last up to a year or two. Instead of getting lost in a fantasy of finding our perfect partners, we can relax on a conscious level, and simply enjoy their company.

Being honest and vulnerable with our partners will ensure we don’t feed the illusion that infatuation creates.

It’s important that we establish a policy of honesty and respect with our partners as well, instead of hiding who we are to further the illusion. Infatuation is a process that we need to track as we make our way through it. The only thing that promotes the end of this stage is authentic vulnerability during our time and experience together. When we act as though we’re perfect, we’re only furthering the illusion and hindering the process of evolving together.

Now how do we approach infatuation on a realistic level? If our partners abruptly professes their “love” during the stage of infatuation, we can acknowledge their feelings but also help keep them in check.

We can let them know we are also really enjoying getting to know them but that we need to take it slow because love is something that grows over time. It’s not productive to shoot down their feelings or make them feel foolish for their expression of love. Rather, we can share with them that we view the early stages of getting to know someone as the “infatuation” stage.

We can invite them to see this too. If they are mature enough, they will accept and respect our views. They could even learn a little bit about mindfulness from us, too. This is the time to get to know someone and determine whether or not they are compatible for more than just short-term companionship.

However, if they become upset, angry or are put off, that is a BIG red flag. Keep in mind that during the stage of infatuation, we will want to be acutely aware of potential red flag behaviors.  

Avoiding Relationship DUIs is about being honest with ourselves and our partners during the infatuation stage. We must not blind ourselves to signs of potential problems that might develop later while we are busy enjoying the company and romantic attraction of a new partner. We are not looking to criticize, but are simply keeping our eyes open for any “red flag behavior”. Next week, we explore what to look for in terms of relationship red flags, and discuss how we can learn to trust ourselves during the infatuation stage.