Love 'can survive' long-term relationships

No matter how vigorously retailers push red roses and cheesy cards, Valentine's Day is generally treated with disdain by anyone over the age of 25.
But it seems it is not just the expectations of expensive presents and romantic platitudes older people abhor. Countless studies have shown that many people believe that romantic love fizzles the longer a couple has been together. After 10 years of marriage, couples supposedly feel more like friends than lovers and are likely to get unhappier as the years go by.
As Oscar Wilde wrote: "One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry."
But a 2009 study from New York's Stony Brook University has found that, contrary to popular belief, long-term relationships don't kill romantic love.
Study leaders Dr Bianca P Acevedo and Dr Arthur Aron surveyed a wide cross-section of people who had been married for 10 years or more, as well as groups of students and other young people in newer relationships. The interviewees were quizzed about their feelings for their partner, how those emotions had changed over the course of the relationship, their self-esteem, and how they felt about life in general.
Surprisingly, the majority of the married people reported a high level of romantic love, disproving theories that such emotions are impossible in long-term relationships.
"Contrary to what has been widely believed, long-term romantic love (with intensity, sexual interest and engagement, but without the obsessive element common in new relationships) appears to be a real phenomenon that may be enhancing to individuals' lives," the researchers wrote in Review of General Psychology. "[It is] positively associated with marital satisfaction, mental health and overall wellbeing."

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