Feb 08 2008

Euphoria fueled expectations…a common problem for Chicago marriages…

The chemistry that brings couples together, sex, partying, and idealistic views of the future do not last very long. I think this first stage of a relationship should be called “Euphoria.” So, dealing with the letdown of the euphoria fueled expectations is a crucial first step for couples wanting to make it long term.

This stage of unrealistic expectations can last a very long time. Some couples use mind over matter to ignore or deny their unhappiness in marriage. Staying married at all costs can become a source of great pain and suffering.

Does your spouse

  • ignore your unhappiness
  • drink too much or does drugs
  • tune you out
  • rather be on the internet than in a conversation with you
  • “like to go to the boats once in awhile” and gamble
  • have a friend they spend more intimate time with than you
  • disagree with everything you say
  • make derogatory comments about you in front of your friends
  • threaten to divorce you

These are common problems presented by couples during initial couples therapy sessions. I remember my own marriage 25 years ago. My wife thought we were so old and mature, at the young age of 26 and 25. Who were we kidding? Only ourselves.

I see this over and over again. We are all human and we haven’t been taught the sophisticated skills we need to communicate and solve the complex individual and relationship problems we experience.

The research on the brain, how memory is stored and unlocking the mysteries of how trauma gets played out in our present day relationships is really the key to all of this.

Some of us are so traumatized by what we experienced and what we didn’t experience growing up, we get hurt over and over in our relationships, naively hoping that the next time will be different.

Trauma experts call this “repetition compulsion.” This is the re-enactment through memories, dreams or action of traumatic events.

A woman with an alcoholic father will become involved with alcoholic men over and over again. There are different schools of thought on the reasons for this, but psychoanalytic writers would say that the woman is trying to work the trauma of having an alcoholic father by the repetitive relationships with alcoholic men…hoping the outcome will be different.

Read the next post about repetition compulsion.

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