Romantic love, the crazy-madly-deeply kind, can last for over twenty years, says a new study.
Love Buzz recently reported that romantic love lasts an average of two years, six months and 25 days. While assigning the enchantment phase an exact number might be a bit absurd the idea that new relationship energy doesn't last is old news. Anyone who's been part of a long-term couple knows that the crazyfranticloveglow eventually fades. Or so we thought. Apparently some couples stay madly in love for more than 20 years, and science has proof.
To make the discovery, researchers showed photos of loved ones to people who said they'd been head over heels for many years, and scanned their brains to see which areas responded. They found that the I've-loved-you-long-timers showed activity in the regions associated with romantic love—the same parts that are activated in the recently smitten. (Not coincidently this area also lights up when you do coke and other dopamine-enhancers. Love is like a drug—how comforting.)
There was a key difference though: in addition to the romantic love region, long-term lovers showed brain activity in areas connected with calmness, while newly-fallen brains lit up in spots associated with anxiety and obsession. Translation: most couples' initial excitement fades, however when it lasts, crazy love moves away from compulsion and into a soothing harmony. Sounds pretty great—we'll take some of that, please!
Love Buzz has experienced the excitement of new love, but it's hard to trust that feeling, knowing that the elation fades. According to this study, it doesn't have to subside, and can grow into something even better. So here's our question: how common is this lyrical, lasting love, and how can we get some? Are some people wired for it while others aren't? And how do you know if your love will burn forever or cool to an ember after a few years? Get to it, scientists!
Readers, do you know couples who have been together for years and are still in love? Do you think it's possible for everyone? And how can you tell if it will happen to you?