Why it might pay to listen to your friends when they say your new partner is no good for you

By Liz Paul, Psychotherapist & Counsellor

Before you have trust and commitment in a relationship, you have a wonderful phase that’s called limerence.

This is the ‘honeymoon’ phase of the relationship where you have that feeling of overwhelming infatuation when you first start dating someone.

People in this phase talk of the ‘spark’ or ‘chemistry’ they have with their new partner.

During this phase you see your partner through rose-coloured glasses where they seem perfect, not because they are but because you have large amounts of limerence-stage chemicals coursing through your body, particularly dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.

These natural, feel-good chemicals trick you to focus on your partner’s good traits.

They also trick you to avoid awareness of your partner’s less desirable traits.

So, naturally, your partner appears to be amazing in your eyes.

Your friends, however, haven’t been blinded by those chemicals and as a result they can see your new partner in a more objective light.

So, if they come to you to offer some well-meaning advice about how your new partner might not be a good match for you, it might pay to listen.  It could save you some heartache down the track.

By the way, the limerence stage usually lasts between 6 months to 24 months.  After that, you have fewer chemicals clouding your judgement and you can see your new partner for who they really are.

At this next stage, you start asking yourself questions like “Does my partner have my back? Am I important to them?”

This is the trust phase, and it is usually a very testing time in a relationship as both partners critically consider their compatability with each other.  It’s the phase where most break-ups occur.  And, sometimes, that’s when people ask their friends “Why didn’t you tell me that person wasn’t a good match for me?”

If you make it through the trust phase, you move into the commitment stage where you start to view your partner as the person with whom you would like to spend the rest of your life.

What are the issues for which most people seek assistance?

  • Relationship break-ups
  • Constantly fighting with your partner
  • Loss of intimacy with your partner
  • Communication problems with your partner or child
  • Difficulty parenting toddlers or teens
  • Pre-marriage counselling
  • A child misbehaving
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Family counselling
  • Wanting to separate from their partner amicably
  • Helping the children cope after a relationship break-up
  • Trouble staying in relationships
  • HSC stress for students and their families
  • Relationship commitment issues
  • Problems at work
  • Couple counselling
  • Difficulties with step-children
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Problems with in-laws
  • Substance addiction
  • Facing major life changes
  • Making new life choices
  • Relationship counselling