Proof that couples in long-term relationships are still madly in love
Couples who have been together for over 20 years are still as deeply in love as those in new relationships, according to research.
We all know how euphoric it is to be in the throes of a fresh relationship – you can’t stop smiling, you count down the hours until you can see them again – well, there’s good news because apparently that feeling doesn’t die.
Scientists have conducted an experiment by scanning the brains of couples who have been married for over 21-years as they looked at a photo of their other half.
The results were similar to the scans of newbie lovebirds that were in the early stages of their relationship.
‘If you ask people around the world whether romantic love can last, they’ll roll their eyes and say “probably not”. Most textbooks say that too. We’re proving them wrong,’ said Dr Helen Fisher, of Rutgers University in New Jersey, who carried out the research.
However, there were some differences between the two scans.
Those couples that were embarking on a new relationship demonstrated activity in the part of the brain that controls obsession and anxiety, whereas long-term lovers made more use of the parts linked to calmness and the suppression of pain.
‘The difference is that in long-term love, the obsession, the mania, the anxiety, has been replaced with calm,’ explained Dr Fisher.
So, what can we do to keep the love alive? Communicate.
It may seem obvious but the researchers found that partners who rolled their eyes, used sarcasm and criticism were more likely to head for divorce than those who smiled and were affectionate.
Oh, if only it were that simple!