Infatuation is a drug and like most drugs it can create intoxication and addiction. It can leave you disappointed, disillusioned, and angry. And yet, the search for its thrill is evident everywhere. Just look at the statistics on adultery. Read the research on workplace affairs. Look at surveys in which 68% of women say they would have an affair if they knew they would not get caught.
Sexual activity while infatuated creates an artificial sense of closeness. Infatuation, combined with great sex (and it is almost always “great” during this period of time), sets a couple up for disillusionment after marriage when real life and real schedules set in. Sexual activity while infatuated keeps the relationship from developing. If your relationship is a year old, but you have been sexual with each other shortly after the first three months of dating, you have a three-month-old relationship. Why? Because, though making love is enjoyable, it is the resolution of differences that will provide long-term potential for genuine intimacy. This is especially true for couples who only see each other on weekends, during college breaks, trips between deployments, etc. The thinking often goes like this,
“Why rock the boat by discussing what I know could create a disagreement. We have so little time together anyway.”
Sexual trauma that occurred prior to this relationship cannot be healed by a spouse, should you decide to marry this person. Infatuation and premature sex will make you think otherwise. You think you have found the healer of your soul. Not true. Infatuation will make your think that childhood wounds and neglect can be taken care of by your spouse. It will not happen. When embraced by an infatuated lover, self-disclosure helps, but you need to bring to the marriage as clean a slate as you can create.
All of us leave home “half-baked” to an extent. It is the unfinished business, the issues, the baggage, that often enhances the infatuation. During infatuation, you believe you’ve found a “soul mate”—someone who understands your deepest needs…
- The woman you met at a neighborhood BBQ that appears to provide you with the nurturing and mothering that you missed when living with your stepmom.
- The male mentor—the father figure—that a woman lost forever when her dad left the family shows up to help mow the lawn while your husband is at work.
- The young intern who starts working with you loves your music and doesn’t view you as a dreamer, but rather a visionary.
- Someone who is fun, impulsive, and spontaneous, when everyone in your family was rigid, organized, and disciplined.
- Someone who accepts you just the way you are, not like the black sheep you have been in your family.
It is this opposite, this exhilarating breath of fresh air, what you have always been looking for, that fuels the attraction, the intrigue, and the infatuation. But beware: these differences hold great potential for future conflict if you don’t use the energy from the feelings of infatuation to explore solutions.
Don’t Rekindle Old Flames
The feelings of infatuation are stored in the brain. This is especially true of the infatuations of adolescence. One never forgets adolescent music, sporting events, movies, cars, dating experiences, and certainly first loves. Just look at the retro designs, reunions, popular music, and the interest in the lives of the actors and actresses of your teenage years.
Engagement is a period where you must learn to leave behind forever the boyfriends and girlfriends of adolescence. The internet has changed how quickly one can find first loves (or they can find you) when feelings of infatuation have faded in a marriage. Persons with whom you share an infatuation history are now off limits. Why? Because you don’t need time to develop infatuation with these folks, you already have a full dose of it stored in your brain just waiting to be rekindled! It will shock you how quickly it can sweep you off your feet, confuse you, and make you question the relationship you are now in. This is especially true if you had a sexual relationship with and thought of marrying this first love. Internet contacts with old first loves are developing into one of the biggest threats ever to marital stability.
Meant for Each Other?
Infatuation is a great source of energy that can be very reassuring to both partners as they continue to forge their relationship. Use it for the purpose it serves best: keeping you connected when discussions of differences could drive you apart. This successful use of infatuation will only draw you closer and confirm that just maybe, the two of you really are meant for each other!
currently serves as Pastor responsible for Counseling Ministries at the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton. He holds graduate degrees in Biblical Literature and in Counseling Psychology as well as the Michigan Limited License in Psychology and the Marriage and Family Therapy license in California. Dave has published five books, one of which won The Gold Medallion Award in Personal Evangelism in 1993. Dave and his wife, Ronnie, have four adult children and five grandchildren. In their spare time they enjoy jogging.
Dave Carder was featured writing about this subject as one of the experts in All-in-One Marriage Prep: 75 Experts Share Tips and Wisdom to Help You Get Ready Now.