In Mid-life interpersonal-relationships: Stages of Authentic-Love...

``In a world of constant conflict does love stand a chance? We cannot help but wonder. Newspapers are filled with inhumanity towards another – many times under the name of greed and good intention. Talk shows have lost the art of meaningful dialogue and have little respect for people who disagree. Politicians and religious leaders seem to be in attach mode rather than in dialogue for solutions.

Gary Chapman

Authentic love...This is the subject of our encounter. In our last encounter I’ve presented behavioural triggers in matrimonial relationships...

Authentic love is not a feeling or emotion as you will discover, but an attitude of good will set in action.

The word `` love`` sounds nebulous to our ears... we have lost its deep meaning... Soap Operas defines love as nothing less than instinctive hormonal drive triggers that creates high emotions, progressively fading way with time.

As you will see in a moment, falling love is like experimenting a high on coke, than the lovers are confronted to their world of reality... that is where authentic love can either begin or....

The English language is very general in its words to define this. The Greek language is more specific using at least four words...C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves in which he elaborates in detail these type of loves identified to be:

Eros - (Ερως΄) Ερωτισμος (erotismos) is the instinctive research for pleasure - particularly sexual. The connection with the other person is emotional.

ii)Storyi (στοργη’) or love of affection - the fondness through familiarity ex.: family members, relatives. It’s the most natural, emotive and widely diffused kind of love.

iii) Filia - (φιλια’) - friendship -

It’s the love between family and friends or people that share common interest or activities. It is much narrower than companionship.

iv)Agapi (Αγαπη’) -

The loving that brings forth caring regardless of circumstances. This is the greatest level of love – the charitable love who doesn’t expect anything in return.

I will elaborate the journey through authentic love referring to those types of love.

The Journey towards authentic love

As you can see from the etymology of love according to Greek roots, love is a journey might begin as an emotional passion but does not remain there... We hear manycouples breaking-up because the emotional high as fade away, they have no feelings for their partner anymore.

They don’t realize that what they are experimenting is the end of a stage... The honey-moon period might be over, but it doesn't mean that love is over... the couple faces everyday- life confrontations - learning to cope together.

Love is like a diamond... the mineral needs to be cut and must work at it. The journey might be tough but you know the saying: There's no success without hard work and effort! There's no ready-to-serve love!

I quote David Viscott who writes: "Relationships seldom die because they suddenly have no life left in them. They wither slowly, either because people do not understand how much or what kind of upkeep, time, work, love and caring they require or because people are too lazy or afraid to try."

What does falling in love have to do with love? ερωτευομαι(erotevomay in Greek)

The eternality of “in love” experience is fiction, not fact. Dr. Dorothy Tennov, Ph.D

This question might puzzle you? I intentionally added ερωτευομαι(erotevomay) to illustrate a point that will strike you: whether you may believe me or not, this beginning period of courtship we call falling in love as nothing to do with love!To be honest, I don’t understand why we call it this way! We just mentioned that love is an attitude of good will set in action.

The Greek word for falling-in-love clears is out for us... recognize the word eros - the instinctive research for pleasure – particularly sexual inερωτευομαι(erotevomay).

Psychologist Dr. Peck, Ph.D. describes falling in love to be " a genetically determined instinctual component of mating behaviour; a stereotypical response of human beings to a configuration of internal sexual drives and external stimuli which serves to increase the probability of sexual pairing and bonding for the purpose of enhancing the survival of the species.’’

When you are in love, you're under the impression that your lover is perfect and, no matter whatever people think about him/her, it simply has no significance to you. Both of you feel intimate in your relationship and that is all you want.

The dangerous word here is ‘‘feel’’ as both of you are on a high - living an illusion. If you’re a parent having teenagers living their romantic experiences, I am sure you know what I am talking about!

According to Psychologist, Dr Deck, Ph.D. falling in love is no real love for three reasons:

a) It’s not an act of the will or a conscious choice.

b) It’s effortless (there’s little or no discipline or conscious effort on their part)

c)“The instinctual nature of the in-love experience that pushes us to do our blandish and unnatural things for each other is comparable to the instinctual nature of a bird that dictates him the building of a nest.”

The one who is “in love” is not genuinely interested in fostering the personal growth of the other person. The interest is primarily to terminate your own loneliness.

What happens when someone falls in love?

“It’s a temporary emotional high similar to taking cocaine. The reasoning abilities of the lovers are disengaged and they find themselves saying or doing things they would never have done in more sober moments. When the emotions subside they come back to the real world where the differences are illuminated. As you will see, you are the victim of your own human nature rather than choosing a partner.”

What does “love” do to your brain? (The biological in-love impact)

Dr. Helen Fisher, Ph.D. of Rutgers University researched this and reached the conclusion that there are three stages of love and each stage is driven by different body chemicals and hormones.


The first stage of the “love” and is driven by sexual hormones (both found in men and women) and called

testosterone and estrogen


This is the amazing time when you are truly love-struck and you cannot think of anything else. The stress response is activated – which increases your blood level of


Neurotransmitters called

dopamine (stimulating desire and reward by triggering an intense rush of pleasure like the effect of coke) are activated. This rush of pleasure decreases the need for food and sleep and there’s an increase of energy; we recognize here an emotional high as the lovers take delight in the smallest details of the relationship.

Neurotransmitters called serotonin (stimulates pleasure) creates these obsessive thoughts about the lover – constantly popping into their mind. Researchers have demonstrated (through laboratory tests) that the level of serotonin in “in lovers “ blood is equal to the level of serotonin in the level of blood of people diagnosed with obsessive compulsive behaviour.


Lovers have reached the level of attachment that creates bonds and remain together enough to procreate. The bonding hormones are identified as follow:


This hormone is also called the cuddling hormone. female hormone but also found in men)

Oestrogen: This is a primary female sexual hormone (steroid)

Vasopressin – important hormone released in the long term commitment after sex.

Limbic resonance - (limbic system)

This system plays a role in love. (attachment and social bonding)


I would like to conclude with this quote from Gary Chapman:

“We cannot take credit of the kind and generous things we do while under the influence of the in love attraction stage. As you can see your are instinctively induced by an hormonal force that goes beyond our normal behaviour patterns. In these circumstances many couples make the big mistake to believe that this will last forever when in most case relationships this will last a year or two before the effect of the hormones begin to fade away and you land into real life...”

You might be sensing that your relationship as lost the feeling good and wonder if all this was not an error, but wait...This is where authentic love persevere into this journey and you might discover the beginning of a relationship renewal for you and for your partner. You have journeyed through the introductory phase of your relationship...our journey continues as I will pursue elaborating the real meaning of authentic love, its characteristics and how it impacts your relationship...for now take a breather...until the next time...

The Sources:

Websites: graphic:

Books The Five Love Languages How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman - Oxford Greek Mini-Dictionary - by Niki Watts, Oxford University Press Copyright © 2006

Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage - unlocking the secrets to life, love and marriage by Mark Gungor, Atria PaperBack 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020