You just started dating someone, and it’s amazing. He’s amazing (or she’s amazing). Holy fuck, they might even be the one (even though you’ve only been seeing them for two weeks). The two week mark is pure bliss, framed in the sudden joy of ignorance… Ignorance of the other person’s past and flaws, and totally unfamiliar with all of the stupid things they haven’t said or done to you yet. This may sound profoundly bitter, but it’s actually coming from a place of genuine understanding, where I’ve also realized that it all takes place at an unconscious level, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Let’s take a look at this phenomena for a hot second.

So the person you’re dating… They are super hot, and funny, and smart, and they make you cum like you’ve never cum before (which is basically all you talk about with your friends). You become overwhelmingly high every time you think of this person, and they are the best part of your every single day. Well, my friend, let me introduce you to “infatuation”. If I had to put a face on this feeling, now that I’ve gotten to really get to know it, it would probably be the face of a Chihuahua. As defined by none other than Google’s dictionary, this is “an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something”. And short-lived indeed, because here is when “the one month itch” comes to play.

The term might sound familiar. The seven-year itch is a psychological term that suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after around year seven of a marriage. The phrase was first used to describe an inclination to cheat after seven years of marriage in the play The Seven Year Itch by George Axelrod, and gained popularity following the 1955 film adaptation starring Marilyn Monroe.

But in the internet age, where instant gratification is the norm, polyamory and non-mongamy rule the sexual news cycle and your next hookup is just a swipe away, that seven year period has shortened considerably.

It actually starts to happen around the end of the third week, when the idea that this is not exactly what you were hoping for starts dancing around your head. And by the end of the fourth week you find yourself either saying good-bye or giving it a shot. Because it is generally on the one month mark that we realize if we’re truly into someone, or not. Infatuation starts to fade away and, if it’s a good match, we will keep seeing that person. Otherwise, well, it can go down in one of multiple ways.

First of all, it could actually be a mutual feeling that, even when experienced individually, gets reinforced by the evanescence of the thrill on the other part as well. But it could also be completely one-sided, and absolutely independent of the other person’s investment. Either way, it defines what happens next in the relationship. To me, it is as chemical and unconscious as its counterpart (infatuation itself). When the initial excitement starts to fade oh-so-soon, and on top of that you start to learn more about the other person, well, that’s a pretty big obstacle. As a matter of fact, I think that this is the first major overcoming that a couple can experience together, even without knowing it.

It hasn’t always been that way, of course. In generations past, women had limited options and roles were strictly set. Women married for security and protection, not for love and certainly not for lust. Today, we are more financially independent and can play the field longer.

But this thing called love. I wonder if what we call (another person’s) je ne sais quoi is actually (our) infatuation. Instead of realizing it’s coming from us, we attribute it to something mesmerizing  about the other one that we just can’t pinpoint. And then when the feeling goes away, sometimes we also think it is because of something the other person did or said (or something they didn’t do or say, for that matter). As Schopenhauer once stated: “Man is free to do what he wills; but he cannot will what he wills”. This applies here in the sense that, when we like someone, it is something that just happens, and we later try and rationalize it, as we do when we stop liking them, too. It turns out that the super cliché phrase “it’s not you, it’s me”, is actually a hundred percent accurate.

There is something that we have to be wary of, though, and it is the bad habit of self-sabotaging once we become aware of “the itch”. You can be conscious of it as it is happening to you in a specific situation and, furthermore, you can be acquainted with it as a regular happening. But there is a fine line between knowing about this and enabling the situation, which can become a self-destructive behavioral pattern. You may start to stray, consider other options, explore, evaluate and, ultimately, end it (sometimes even by hooking up with someone else). And that is totally fine if it truly corresponds with your desires. Nonetheless, be aware that it is really easy to embrace what we already know, and sometimes “the itch” falls in that category.

Whenever something doesn’t feel right in a relationship, and you feel tempted to turn to this phenomena as an excuse to run, just be mindful of what you really want, and know the difference between being afraid, and not being into someone. Sometimes, it is the fear of falling in love and getting hurt, which leads us to this vicious cycle. And hey, enjoy the infatuated part while it lasts. When the time to evaluate your feelings arrives, you’ll do just that. But baby steps, my friend. Hot, infatuated, Chihuahua, baby steps.

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Cristabelle García is a California based Venezuelan who loves exploring the most obscure and intricate aspects of the human mind -mostly through experiential research- and then exposing them in an outspoken fashion, all the while connecting the dots with their effects on interpersonal relationships. She has a BA in Mass Communication with a specialization in Audiovisual Arts, so she's as passionate about writing as she is about photography and film-making. A firm believer in the phrase "in vino veritas" (in wine, truth), she believes that the right glass of wine has the potential to hold all the answers.