Propensity for Intensity

November 15, 2011 No Comments
People in a close relationship start off with a very intense desire for the company of the other person. This early intensity is also referred to as infatuation, obsession and sometimes lust. The two people try to arrange as much private time together as possible. This stage is called intense because of the high levels of excitement and arousal the people feel for each other and the relationship.

This early level of high intensity cannot be sustained by any couple on a long term basis. The early intensity is similar to a 440 yard dash at a track event. The runners train hard in advance and run as fast as their bodies can tolerate. Now consider longer foot races such as a 10KM run or a marathon. If these long distance runners tried to maintain the same high performance levels the sprinters did, there would be a lot of injuries and possibly death due to the overexertion.

Some people move past the intensity period without realizing how things would settle down to a more comfortable and manageable level. People with a propensity for intensity feel hurt, rejected and disappointed by the fading intensity and assume something is wrong.  Many people make the mistake of assuming the loss of intensity and its replacement by a deeper feeling, but perhaps not as exciting, signifies decline in the relationship. They either try to restore the original intensity in the relationship or feel the need to seek it out in a new one. This behavior can inhibit the ability to establish and maintain long term relationships over time.

People who seek out these intense relationships are referred to as intensity junkies. Their condition has many characteristics similar to adrenalin junkies and addictive personalities. Adrenalin junkies seek out activities to keep them on a high, just as addictive personalities lock themselves into the same repeated patterns.  If adrenalin junkies and addictive personalities fail to get the intense experience they seek, they develop the same feelings of hurt, disappointment and failure that intensity junkies feel after the intensity fades.

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