Do you believe in the possibility of a lasting love? Can couples who've been married 20, 30, 40 years still be as crazy for each other as when they first fell in love? Or is that just some fairy tale cooked up by songwriters, romance novelists and movie makers?
Well, even the most jaded among us -- those who think that love can't really "go the distance" in the human heart -- may have to re-think that position after reading about a new study, in which scientists compared brain scans of long-term loving couples with those of new lovers, and found similar chemical reactions arose in each person when thinking about his/her mate. Researchers started calling the longtime lovers "swans" for their similarity to the animals that mate for life.
The study, described in an article in The Sunday Times, lends credence to the idea that true love CAN last. Such couples are able to retain the new-romance state called "limerence," which starts to fade after about 15 months for most people (with significant dips at three, seven and 10 years). For swans, apparently, "elements of limerence mature, enabling them to enjoy what a new report calls 'intensive companionship and sexual liveliness.' "
The percentage of swans in the study was quite small -- only one in 10 -- implying that it's a rare gift to be able to hold onto the limerence in a relationship.
But maybe it's more than a gift, something you have no control over. Maybe it's possible to help the limerence remain -- by working to keep it alive in your relationship. So here's another New Year's resolution for you: Put your mate first again in your life. Remember why you fell in love in the first place. Keep the sexual fires burning. Plan romantic dates. Do something new as a couple. Perform a thoughtful deed for each other every day. Have fun together. Cuddle often. Be a swan!