Although the popular notion is that people in long-term relationships transition from a passionate romance to a comfortable, affectionate partnership, new research suggests that just isn’t true.
Reporting in the March issue of the Review of General Psychology, researchers explain that while the manic, obsessive feelings that come with a new love tend to fade over time, romantic love may not. And, for those whose romantic desires remain, their relationships tend to be more satisfying.
“The compulsiveness of early stages of love may not be present in long-term relationships, but you can still feel romantic love, desire, sexual interest for someone you’ve been with for many, many years,” said study author Bianca Acevedo, who was at Stony Brook University in New York at the time of the study.
“Romantic love is achievable, and there are some positive health implications for being in a positive relationship,” added Acevedo, who is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Acevedo explained that researchers and the media often portray romantic love as something that has to fade over time. But, she said, what researchers have failed to do in the past is to distinguish long-term desire from the obsessive aspect of early relationships.
“In the early stages of a relationship, everything’s uncertain, and there’s a lot of anxiety that’s just not present in long-term relationships. When we assess romantic love apart from the early obsessive aspect, a pattern of satisfaction emerges even more clearly,” she said.
Read more: MedicineNet