The Three C's of Relationships


I co-hosted a radio show in November with
special guest Dr. Adam Sheck, an Imago Relationship Therapist.  He and I became friends via Facebook and
realized we think alike and often write about the same things at the same
time.  One of the things we discussed
last night was the three C’s of relationships. 
I thought it would be helpful to share them here.

The first C is what initially attracts us to each other in the first
place.  This needs little or no
explanation.  You meet someone, you’re
drawn to them, and you are intensely attracted to them.  Chemistry is what gets people together in the
first place, but the initial round of chemistry usually wears off after about
six months. Another word for chemistry is eroticism, and once the initial
honeymoon phase is over it’s up to each individual to actively participate in
maintaining eroticism in the relationship.

Compatibility. The second C is what keeps us
together after the honeymoon phase is over. 
Once the intense chemistry wears off, you have to find common points of
interest to stay connected.  It’s not
necessary to share everything together, but you do need to have more things in
common than not.  Compatibility is a
double edged sword, however.  What makes
us comfortable with each other tends to deaden eroticism, so we have to figure
out how to maintain a little bit of mystery to keep desire smoldering. 

The third C is what keeps us together in a long term relationship, when
the going gets tough and the first two C’s feel like a distant memory.  Couples can decide, from the desire of their
minds, to maintain a commitment (usually either for the sake of children or
because moving on seems too difficult) to stay with each other even when
chemistry has faded and/or they realize they’re not very compatible.  Of the two, chemistry is the easiest to
rekindle.  Compatibility can’t be faked,
but chemistry can be sparked just by adding the element of surprise into the
relationship.  From role-playing to
polyamory, there is a wide spectrum of choices for couples who wish to rekindle
the sexual component of their relationship. 

I’m reminded of a mnemonic phrase from
grammar school:  I before E, except after
C.  That could translate as:  Intimacy before Eroticism, except after
Commitment.  Once you commit to sticking
it out, you have to put eroticism before intimacy or you’ll be in for a long,
slow haul.