Modern Lives, Ancient Instincts: Are Long Term Relationships Extinct?

“I’m ready. I want it now! How much longer it is going to take?”

Our emotions are fueled by the 21st century: smartphones, instant news, texting and PM’s. We want things now. Everything is quick, instant feedback and gratification. When it comes to relationships, especially love, we want it even faster and have it last forever.

But our human instincts, behavior patterns that are hot-wired into our DNA, are early Neanderthal. We require time to set solid foundations in place for relationships underneath the initial chemical attraction. We need to see time and again the 40 facial muscles to interpret the unspoken and bond. We utilize both face time and chronological time to build a relationship foundation for a lifetime together. Without that foundation you’ve only got four months, six tops, before the crush energy dissolves away.

How do we blend the new “quick and fast” with the old “slow and steady” into modern relationships? Are old fashioned, long term relationships extinct?

Right now, we are still struggling with the recipe mix to today’s lifelong partnership. Up front, we want everything fast: a deep committed relationship inside of three or four months, yet we are unwilling to take the two or three years required to build a foundation of trust, respect and dependability. Meeting, courting, dating, agreeing to a deeper relationship, and finally committing to a marriage are all but faint memories of our grandparents. Working and saving towards a common goal of marriage is gone. Technology has left behind our DNA.

What can you do? First, decide you want a long term relationship. Our human nature can lead trump our desire for instant gratification. Use these simple, proven steps to build a lifelong relationship:

1.      Slow down.

If you drink in the energy and high emotions of the initial crush-like silliness, you are running a very high risk of burning through your new relationship like a crash diet. When the sex cools off, you will absolutely have nothing to do or talk about. There is nothing underneath it; no foundation or conversation. Slow down, there is no rush, build something meaningful and solid.

2.      Be patient.

Yup, the dreaded “P” word is demanded in all long term relationships.  We are still human beings and need time to get to know each other. Take it! You have more time to savor getting to know someone than you think.

3.      Enjoy the journey.

We focus so much on the destination, the marriage, to make us happy that we miss the journey altogether. Get to know someone well. Enjoy learning and discovering each other’s nuances and differences. When you do, you can handle the ups and downs of spending decades together.

Long term relationships are more than possible in today’s world, if you go about them as human beings were designed to do: slowly and with depth. If you really love someone, take the time to get to know them inside and out. It will return its investment to you in the decades you spend together.

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