Romantic love has long been a popular theme for artists, from songs and poetry to books and cinema. What about the scientific evidence, though?
Love existed in ancient times and in many parts of the world, according to evidence from history, culture, and even evolution. Romantic love was discovered in 147 of the 166 countries evaluated in one study.
The complexities of love stem from how different people experience it and how it can change over time.
Referring to “like,” “love,” or “in love”?
Over the last 50 years, psychologists have explored the differences between liking someone, loving someone, and being “in love.”
Liking someone is defined as having positive feelings and thoughts about them and enjoying their company. We frequently feel warmth and connection toward the people we care about. Under certain conditions, we choose to be emotionally connected to these people.
When we love someone, we get the same wonderful ideas and sensations as when we like them. However, we also have a great sense of obligation and concern for that person.
All of the aforementioned, as well as sexual pleasure and desire, are part of what it means to be “in love.” However, research into people’s conceptions of love has revealed that not all love is created equal.
Love that is passionate vs. love that is companionate
Passionate and companionable love are the two varieties of romantic love. Both of these elements are present in the majority of romantic relationships, whether heterosexual or same sex.
People often think of being “in love” as passionate love. It contains tremendous sentiments of passion and a strong want to be in someone’s arms, to the point where they may incessantly think about it.
Companionate love is the term for the second stage. It is less powerful, but it is more complicated, and it integrates emotions of emotional closeness and commitment with a strong connection to a love relationship.
What happens to love as time passes?
When researchers look at how romantic love evolves over time, they usually discover that while passionate love begins strong, it fades with time.
This is due to a variety of factors.
Routines emerge when couples learn more about each other and have confidence in the relationship’s long-term prospects. The frequency of sexual activity, as well as the opportunity to experience novelty and excitement, may decrease. This might lead to a dwindling of passionate love.
Although not all couples experience a decrease in passionate love, according to various research, roughly 20-40 percent of couples do. The steepest fall is most likely to occur in the second decade for couples who have been married for more than 10 years.
Life events and transformations might make it difficult to feel passionate. People are juggling several tasks, which saps their energy and limits their ability to cultivate enthusiasm. Parenthood is a good example.
Companionate love, on the other hand, tends to grow with time.
Although research shows that most romantic partnerships include both passionate and companionate love, it is companionate love, rather than passionate love, that might have a detrimental impact on a romantic relationship’s length.