How To Have A Great Relationship: 5 New Secrets From Research | Observer
Eric Barker stashed this in Diabolical Plans For World Domination
So What The Heck Is Love Anyway?
Love isn’t an emotion, really. When you look at fMRI studies of the brain it shows up more as a desire. A craving.
And that explains why it feels so good. As far as the ol’ gray matter’s concerned love’s right up there with cocaine and cash.
All three activate the same area of the brain—the dopamine reward system.
When you’re in love with someone romantically, the areas of the brain that are activated when you think about them are what we call the dopamine reward system. The same system that responds to cocaine and expecting to win a lot of money. Love seems to be more of a desire than an emotion.
So, yeah, even neuroscience agrees that love is intense. But can anything that powerful last? Doesn’t it eventually have to fizzle?
Not necessarily. Research shows some couples are very much in love 40-50 years later.
Another thing we’ve learned both from that research and from surveys is passionate romantic love can exist in people that have been together 40 years, 50 years. We don’t know the percentage. But people who claim to be very intensely in love that have been married and are in their 70s show the same patterns of neural response to a large extent as people who have just fallen in love.
Want your marriage to last more than 30 years? Just “being married” often isn’t enough: you also need to be good friends.
In studies of people happily married more than three decades, the quality of friendship between the partners was the single most frequently cited factor in the relationships’ success. – Bachand and Caron 2001
(For more on how to keep love alive and live happily ever after, click here.)