In every phase of life, and in every new situation, each person must continuously choose between security and predictability on the one hand, and the hunger for adventure and challenge on the other. If individuals have too much security, they can fall prey to a deadly trance of comfortable monotony that dulls the mind and kills the spirit. If, on the other hand, they live a life of continuous challenge and adventure, they may severely deplete their resources and live in unpredictable chaos. The optimum goal for each person is to find the best balance between the two choices.
That process is difficult enough for individuals when they have only themselves to consider. When they enter into an intimate relationship, they must mutually balance their conflicts with their significant other.
The partners in a new relationship are initially very willing to embrace whatever adventures their interaction may bring. They are attracted to the challenge of discovering each other, and continuously experience new thoughts, actions, and feelings. Not yet attached to whether the relationship will last, their needs for the comfort of security are not yet a consideration.
As they get to know each other and that rate of new discovery slows, the partners become more concerned about the relationship's future. One or both partners limit any threatening personal transformations and reward each other instead for predictable interactions. They become partners who strive to accept each other's limitations rather than challenge them. Their initial explorations into unknown territory fall into sleep mode as the partners let the past define the future, and see those chosen limitations as true and lasting love.
- "I know I'll always love you the same as I do now."
- "Don't ever change. You're perfect the way you are."
- "We understand each other so completely that we don't even have to think about it anymore."
- "I can predict everything he wants and be there for him."
- "I just think of something I need, and she knows it before I tell her."
- "We've created the ultimate love. Let's stay this way forever."
- "We accept each other's faults completely. That's why we get along so well."
- "We'll never allow anything to separate us."
These kinds of comments are what most romantic idealists would savor. Unfortunately, they maintain the trance state that can discourage further relationship growth. The partners saying them to each other believe that their familiarity and predictability more than compensates for the loss of the of excitement they once so avidly pursued. The intimacy of security has replaced the thrill of discovery, and made them vulnerable to losing the love they have created.