Is there a secret to staying madly in love? How do couples in long-term relationships keep things romantic? Recent divorce statistics have some couples nervous- but research can reveal the habits that lead to long-term happiness. Here are a few insights into keeping your relationship strong from Psychology Today:
Falling in love is easy.
Falling in love is easy enough, it’s staying in love which presents a challenge for most couples. Long-term partners often stay together because they know how to “like” and “love” each other, says Psychology Today. They appreciate each other as romantic partners and separate personalities.
Studies have found that reciprocal liking and a desirable personality both contribute to long-term relationships, and are some of the reasons why people fall in love in the first place. Proactive partners work hard to keep in mind the reasons that they first fell in love.
Empathy is necessary.
Empathy and understanding are an intrinsic part of any relationship. Couples who love each other but don’t understand each other are not likely to stay together. Love can become healthier and grow deeper when partners try to put themselves in each other’s shoes, according to Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein in Psychology Today. Understanding should be relied on, rather than love alone, to solve differences.
Closeness is important.
Romantic long-term love activates dopamine in our brains. During these kinds of relationships, the dorsal striatum or area of the brain involved in motor and cognitive control is activated, which means that romantic love is possibly a goal-directed behavior, according to a study in Psychology Today. This means wanting to be close to your partner or doing things to make them happy are habits that can maintain passion.
Closeness and union with another person often “involves incorporating that person in our concept of our self.” It’s important to remember that staying in love is a selfless act, and one that has many rewards.