From time to time, our romantic relationships can be difficult to understand. Part of this confusion stems from the fact that our relationships are influenced by three powerful, yet separate, emotional systems.
Often these three emotional systems work together to create satisfying outcomes. But, that is not always the case. Sometimes these three emotional systems compete with each other; leading to mixed feelings and confusion.
Let’s look at the sexual desire emotional system; Sexual desire involves the lustful, sexually passionate feelings people have for each other. Sexual desire is a very intense and powerful emotion; it can cloud one’s judgmental and prompt risk-taking.
Sexual desire is often based on physical appearance, novelty and the chemistry between two people. And while sexual desire motivates a lot of our behaviors early on in a relationship, intense levels of sexual desire are difficult to maintain with the same person over the course of time.
A snap shot of what that looks like is the Coolidge effect, for some people, the passion and intensity of sex is extremely rewarding and addictive. And to experience that kind of intensity requires having sex with someone new, a novel experience.
This phenomenon is referred to as the Coolidge Effect. As the story goes, President Coolidge and his wife were visiting a farm one day, Mrs. Coolidge noted how a rooster was able to perform all day, and Mr. Coolidge noted that it was not with the same hen.
Although it can be difficult to acknowledge, and it goes against most people’s morals, diversity in sexual partners can be extremely gratifying. Now the love emotional system; the second emotional system entails love.
And love, in and of itself, is composed of a complex set of feelings. Love often entails feelings of closeness, genuine appreciation, and concern. But, the experience of love is not the same for everyone.
For some people, love is delusional and needy, or based on emotional game playing, or experienced as the desire to take care of another person. For information on love style (see, styles of love) here are a couple of examples;Eros, some people experience love with a lot of passion, intimacy and intensity.
Love based on Eros has a strong sexual and emotional component. People who experience love this way want to be emotionally and physically close to their romantic partners and they tend to idealize love. Such love is marked by passion as well as compassion, kindness and consideration.
Eros is best viewed as romantic, passionate love, the type of love that creates excitement at the beginning of a new relationship. Ludus, some people experience love as a game to be played with other people’s emotions. The goal or desire is to gain control over a partner through manipulation.
People who experience love as Ludus like to have multiple love interests where they are in complete control. Lying, cheating and deception are common for people who experience love as Ludus, its all part of the game. For people who experience love as Ludus, it is satisfying to outwit a partner and exploit his or her weak spots.
The last emotional system involves attachment. Attachment is the feeling of security and comfort we get from being close to someone else. Attachment provides a sense of stability, certainty, and safety, the feeling that someone will always be there for you in a time of need. And, like with love, there are individual differences in the experience of attachment.
Storge,some people experience love as a gradual and slow process. When love is based on Storge, getting to know someone comes before having intense feelings for that person. Love based on Storge takes time, it requires genuine liking and understanding of a partner, and it develops slowly over time.
Love based on Storge is often compared to the love that one has for a friend. In fact, people who experience love as Storge often fall in love with their friends. We have to be very careful with which style we tend to be. Obviously the first 2 lean toward be unhealthy relationship models. Please research the other styles.