Part 4 of 5 How to Win At Love – in Five Easy Stages
STAGE #4 ATTACHMENT ~ work, house, debt, kids, pets, oh – and love…
By now in Stage 4 , in Dr. Helen Fisher’s terms, you’ve formed an attachment. A stage of calm, companionable love, the sort we see all around us with birds and bees well, – mammals actually – and it looks like you’d imagine:
- Building your nest together
- Defending your nest together
- Sharing parental chores
- Sharing home-making chores
- Bringing home the bacon
- Missing one another when you are apart
- Finding security in one another’s love
- Feeling calm and comforted in the knowledge of your partnership
- Feeling a sense of belonging.
All these rewarding behaviours are promoted in your brain by the release of two hormones in particular – oxytocin (yup, the same hormone that floods new Mums also promotes trust and satisfying sex) and vasopressin (increasingly associated with positive social behaviour, sexual motivation and coping with parenting stress). These evolutionary aides exist to help people stay together long enough to effectively birth, raise and educate their utterly helpless human young.
While each stage has its challenges, this one’s tough. Most divorces occur here with an up-tick at 3 years (when couples have that first baby), at seven years (kids and boredom) and again at 12 or 13 years (more kids, more boredom?). It is terrifically hard to prioritize your relationship when all about you are impending domestic, physical or financial emergencies.
What to do?
Savour the moments you can!
Whether or not you have kids and pets, you are right slap dash in the middle of life and busy days speed by all the faster. Try these ~
TIP 1 ~ Do one thing each day for you. Self-care in all things is not only a sensible way to go into your hectic, giving, caring, other-centered days, but it is actually a very thoughtful gesture. No one wants to live with a depleted martyr. Whatever replenishes your spirit each day – commit to it. A run; yoga; a hot bath and candles; a gym workout; writing for 30 minutes; 10 minutes of meditation. Try it!
TIP 2 ~ Do one thing a day for your partner. Remember who you are doing all this nesting and attachment loving with? A warm “Welcome Home” hug; a text or two at work; picking up his/her library book or dry cleaning; choosing his/her favourite wine or beer for dinner; a neck rub over the evening news; a five minute snuggle after the alarm goes off at 6:00am.
TIP 3 ~ Do one thing a week for your relationship. Ask yourselves “What can WE do together for US?” As a couple, what brings you closer? Can you plan an adventure? Invite friends over? Start a book or movie club? Take up Tango? Commit to boot camp as a team? Set compellingly exciting financial goals? Sponsor a worthy cause together?