Is Love Fleeting? How To Make It Last
Writer Colleen Houck wrote, "Love is fleeting. It's a brief spark that flares in the heavens, bursting forth in a cascade of glory only to be snuffed out in the darkness of space." Maybe that statement makes you feel discouraged. You've probably heard the saying"love is fleeting" before, but is it true?
Is Love Fleeting?
There is no doubt that love is a complicated thing. People have different ideas about love. Some think that somewhere out there is a soulmate for them, that there is that one right person that they need to find. Others believe love is too big of a risk to take. The ideas that people have about love are all over the place.
But is love truly fleeting? Science says it may not be, at least not for some people. In a 2008 study, researchers were trying to find out whether love could last and whether people could really still be just as in love with their partner decades into the relationship as they were at the beginning. The study looked at scans of the brains of couples that had been in love for an average of 21 years and compared them with those that had fallen in love within the previous year. They found that the scans looked similar.
If this is true, then you may be wondering why so many people say love is fleeting. What is the difference between those relationships where the partners are still in love with each other, and those relationships that lose their spark?
Love Changes Over Time
One of the reasons why people think that they aren't in love anymore is because love usually changes over time: the feelings that are there in the beginning stages don't last forever.
When you are first in love, often everything seems right with the world. You might not see any of the imperfections in the other person, and you might think that you have found the perfect one for you. You probably enjoy spending every minute that you can with them, and you think about them when you're not together. You may be willing to do things that you don't enjoy just so you can spend time with that person. You can get excited at the mention of their name and you might put a lot of effort into being the person that you think they want in their life. And this can feel amazing.
But once the newness of a relationship wears off, love starts to change. Maybe now you have started to see things in that person that bother you a little. You may start to disagree more. You may not feel the same spark every time you see them across the room.
If you're unfamiliar with the different stages of love, it's easy to think that this change in feelings means that you're no longer in love. You may think that if you love someone, those feelings are always going to be there, just like they were in the beginning. Popular movies like romantic comedies add to this belief. But in reality, love changes over time. While the newness might wear off, if you stick with it, it can grow into something much deeper and more sustaining. It’s more realistic to accept that fact than it is to assume that the sparkly falling-in-love feelings will always be there.
Ways To Make Love Last
If you want to have a long-lasting relationship, it helps to understand how to make the relationship last once the puppy love stage wears off. It can be important to realize that the end of that first phase doesn't mean that your relationship needs to end, but simply that it's changing—and that doesn't have to be a bad thing.
While you might miss some of the excitement that you felt in those early days, a new level of comfort, trust, and preservation shows up when you move further along in the stages of love. So instead of thinking that love is fleeting and giving up on your relationship, here are some things that you can do to make love last.
Choose Your Partner Daily
Choosing your partner daily means that you need to choose the partner that you are with day after day after day. This is because love might partly be a feeling, but it's also a choice. You can choose to love someone even when those initial feelings have worn off. There are some days when you may be angry at each other and you may not feel all the warm and fuzzy feelings of love, but it doesn't mean that you can't choose to act in loving ways towards that person.
Do What You Did In The Beginning
One of the ways that you can choose to love your partner as the relationship progresses is to continue to do the things that you did in the beginning phases of your relationship. Chances are you were willing to go places you wouldn't normally choose to go, or eat things you wouldn't normally choose to eat, and participate in things that you normally wouldn’t do, just to show the person that you cared about them.
As the newness of relationships wears off, it's not uncommon for people to stop doing these things for their partner. Once you feel like you have succeeded in winning over the person, it can be easy to fall into complacency in your relationship. However, choosing to do new things (or even old things) just to please your partner can go a long way in keeping love in your relationship.
Shield Your Relationship
People don't plan on being unfaithful in their relationships for the most part, but it happens far too often, and usually because they are not shielding their relationship the way that they need to. Be aware of the amount of time that you spend with other people, and make sure that you are always keeping your significant other first. Make it known that you are in a relationship and therefore not looking for anything else.
Don't Play The Comparison Game
Theodore Roosevelt once said that comparison is the thief of joy, and there’s a degree of wisdom in that statement. One important way to avoid playing the comparison game is to not compare what you're doing with what your partner is doing. It's easy to think that you'll do something for them when they do something for you, but this doesn't work in helping a relationship to succeed. If you want to make love last then take responsibility for any action that you can, and don't compare what you do with what your significant other does for you. This is essential for making feelings of affection last a lifetime.
The other comparison game that is usually best to stay away from when you're in a relationship is comparing your relationship to someone else's. It's easy to see what someone else's significant other is doing for them and feel envious. While it may look like the grass is greener on the other side, it's usually not. Every relationship has its own troubles and struggles. If a relationship looks like it is happier than yours or more passionate than yours, it’s possible that the people are investing in their relationship more than you are investing in yours. Or it could be that what they present to other people in public isn’t an accurate reflection of what their relationship is really like. Either way, comparing your relationship to someone else’s doesn’t help you take responsibility for your own relationship, which ultimately may be more helpful to you and your partner.
Choose Your Thoughts And Words Carefully
Your thoughts are crucial to how you experience life. What you allow yourself to think about usually will eventually impact the things that you say and the things that you do, and also how you feel about your situation. If you are constantly feeling sorry for yourself or knocking down your significant other in your head, it's probably going to show through in your relationship eventually.
Instead of focusing on the things that your partner does wrong or the things that you don't like about them, you might try choosing to focus on the positive aspects. To preserve a loving relationship, it can be important for both partners to decide to think positively about each other.
Don't Hold Grudges
It’s perfectly normal to have arguments and disagreements in your relationship. But holding grudges can damage your relationship, because holding grudges can get in the way of happiness and love. One important way to avoid holding grudges is to learn how to forgive your partner and also how to ask for forgiveness.
Go To Couples Therapy
Many people might feel that couples therapy is a last-ditch effort, and sometimes it is, but it doesn't have to be that way. You don't have to be on the brink of splitting up in order to go to couples therapy. An experienced therapist can help you navigate the conflicts that happen in any relationship, and help you learn techniques that will allow you to keep love in your relationship. Your therapist will help you learn important skills and strategies that give your relationship a better chance of long-term success. They will be able to help you and your partner identify areas in yourselves that need to be dealt with, and help you learn what the root causes of the issues in your relationship are.
There is a growing body of evidence pointing to online therapy as an effective method for couples who want to participate in counseling. A study published by the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy surveyed couples who had utilized various kinds of therapy resources. Overall, the majority of couples indicated a preference for the comprehensive tools and methods provided by online counseling, compared to in-person meetings.
As mentioned above, online therapy can help create positive relationship changes for you and your partner. With flexible couples counseling through services like BetterHelp, you’ll be able to schedule online sessions at your convenience, that you can attend wherever you have an Internet connection, including the seclusion of your own home. If you’re ready to work on your relationship, the licensed counselors at BetterHelp can work with you and your partner to help you make your love last. Read below for reviews of BetterHelp therapists who have helped people with their relationships.
“Sandy was really great and helped me unlock the things I needed surrounding my relationship and dating patterns. In the period of time she was a great sounding board and also helped give me the thinking tools I needed to move forward in a better path. I definitely recommend Sandy and her open and direct approach -–she was wonderful!”
“Izabela is AMAZING. Since I've started working with her, I have begun to sort out my emotions revolving around past traumas, I've become more aware of what I'm feeling and my communication skills have improved immensely, which has really improved my relationship with my husband.”
Once you know what the root cause of your issues is, you know what to start addressing in order to have a successful relationship. If your relationship is struggling or if you're wondering if you're really in love with your partner still, don't delay in getting the help that you need. The sooner you act the more effective your counseling can be. However, if you keep putting it off you may allow problems to compound making it more difficult to improve your relationship once you decide to take the step to go to counseling. Relationships aren't easy. But love is only fleeting if you allow it to be.
Frequently Asked Questions
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