Average length of dating relationship
Wounds and Adaptations are softened and soothed and minimized during this bonding phase. The person is not lying or deliberately exaggerating; in the romantic stage while on "drugs", that is a genuine expression of the present experience. Even the "sophisticated" couple is not immune to this phenomenon. The enchantment or romantic stage is necessary, but temporary.
There is a great emphasis on similarities and "sameness". One partner will say, "I don't believe in this "we are so alike" stuff. In this stage the couple is hopefully bonded and connected and appropriately committed.
They may periodically try to connect again, but they again discover that the wounds and protective patterns learned in childhood emerge.
Since they do not know what to do when that happens, they move back into the Parallel Relationship.
These courageous couples who stay together through the unhappiness of the Power Struggle tend to adjust by creating what is call a "parallel marriage".
They both put their time and energy into other activities and interests (school, work, children, faith communities, hobbies, books, computers, etc) and the energy that goes into the relationship is minimized.
76% of them will try again, hopefully making a better choice. Up to 90% of the couples who stay together report their marriages as "unsatisfactory" but choose to stay together for a variety of reasons, ranging from religious values, family values, wanting to keep the family together, financial stressors, etc.
An we need to create "smart marriages" that know how to handle the Power Struggle and how to tap into the healing qualities of the relationship.
When we are "in love" and on endorphins, we actually feel different, respond differently and in some ways ARE different.
The endorphins make us feel whole and complete so that we are less easily hurt or bothered and our reactivity is greatly lessened.
I have worked with couples where it lasted only a few weeks before the power struggle emerged and have known other couples where it lasted 2-3 years.
How long the romantic stage lasts seems to depend on how much time the couple spends with each other and the amount of "woundedness" or "baggage" the individuals bring to the relationship.
The good news for these couples is that in the latter years of their marriage, usually after the children are in college or remarried, there tends to be a period of rapprochement.