In 2015, something wonderful happened. The Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples can get married throughout the land. No more patchwork of different laws in different states, no more worries about many practical things. Anywhere you live in the U.S., you can marry your same sex partner. And, that tradition and ritual that was, for so long, outside of our reach is now almost, well, mainstream.
Now that we can legally marry, there is a question many couples don’t ask so carefully: should we get married? There is one unequivocal answer to that question I can give to you right this moment, even though I don’t even know you.
Do not get engaged if you’ve known each other for less than a year.
That’s right, I said it. Do not do it, no matter how much you think you love each other. Don’t make that kind of big decision yet. Why? Because you are likely still in limerence, and in limerence, you can’t really make rational decisions about something this big.
So what is limerence?
Limerence is that sweet, sexy, “in love” feeling you get when you’ve been together for a relatively short while, especially if you’ve been sexual. I fell into limerence once with someone about 2 weeks after I’d known them, the day after we had sex for the first time. Limerence makes you feel like this person is the right person for you. She’s amazing, wonderful, sweet, smart, just perfect for you, even though you actually don’t know her much at all. Limerence is caused by the secretion of a fabulous cocktail of your own drugs by your brain, including dopamine, norepinephrine, endogenous opiates, oxytocin and other chemicals. You are literally stoned.
Where does limerence come from?
Limerence is an evolutionary legacy. It is designed to help us bond with someone for long enough so that we can procreate and protect children. Even though lesbians can’t do that unaided, we still have the brain wiring, and it still happens to us. We can’t help it. Limerence tends to last from 3 months to a year. After a year, the brain chemicals fade back to normal. You might have had the experience of “waking up” after a few months and realizing that this person you thought was the exact right person for you turns out to not be all that right after all. Lots of relationships end about then, if people hadn’t been conscious about getting into the relationship.
So what do I do?
Spend time to get to know her – who she really is, without the fantasy. Does she have the CATCH skills? Are your relationship visions compatible? Have you been able to navigate conflict without having a huge fight – and without criticism, blame or defensiveness? These are the keys to a happy marriage. Without knowing these things, you’ll be soon hunting for a divorce lawyer. Don’t let that happen to you.