I have to admit, even after reading Still Life with Woodpecker no less than about five or six times, I still have no idea how to make love stay. The most I gathered from the book, it has something to do with Camel cigarettes and since my relationship with smoking was a brief one, I’m afraid that tip is of no use to me. Thankfully, a new study published in the March 2009 issue of the Review of General Psychology found that a surprisingly high number of long-term couples, including some who had been married over twenty years, reported that they still felt deeply in love with their partners. The researchers draw a distinction between romantic love and passionate love. “Romantic love,” the researchers say, “has the same intensity, engagement, and sexual chemistry as passionate love has, but without the obsession. Passionate love, on the other hand, includes feelings of uncertainty and anxiety.” Well, if that’s the case, I’ll take romance over passion any day. According to the researchers, there are some “tricks” to making that romantic kind of love endure for the long-term.
1. Hard work: People in romantic long-term relationships “are often very relationship focused,” researcher, Bianca Acevedo said. “Their relationship is something that is very central to their lives, something they spend time on, work on, really care about. They seem to resolve conflicts relatively efficiently and smoothly.”
2. Do new and challenging activities together: “These novel experiences stimulate brains to create the neurochemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, which are also created during the early, exhilarating stages of romantic love.”
Though I’m no expert at making love stay for the super long-term (yet), I have managed to stay happily in love with the same person for nearly three years, which isn’t bad. Here are a few of the tips I’d add to the ones above.
1. Spend time apart occasionally: Distance makes the heart grow fonder, so whether you spend an evening catching up with your girlfriends, or an afternoon at yoga class, spending some quality time away from your significant other gives you a chance to maintain and foster your own identity, nurture other relationships, and miss your guy a little.
2. Flirt with other people: A little harmless flirting is a great way to remind yourself that you’re sexy, desirable, and fun, all of which are probably the traits that made him fall for you in the first place.
3. Do sweet and simple things for each other: Little unexpected surprises keep things spontaneous and show your partner you care. Never underestimate the power of a homemade cookies when it comes to keeping love alive.
4. Squeeze in some quickies: When you’re pressed for time or just don’t feel like investing in an all-out sex session, a quickie is the perfect way to not only relieve stress but stay physically and emotionally connected to your significant other.
5. Enjoy really great meals together: Whether you cook together or go out to a favorite restaurant, enjoying a meal together is kind of like having sex. Both include sensual pleasures and give you a chance to reconnect after a hectic day. Pay attention to the tastes, textures, and scents, and think of each meal as a metaphor for your relationship. If you savor it slowly, the enjoyment lasts longer.
By Wendy Atterberry of TheFrisky