Love is an intense, deep affection for another person. It can be felt for friends, family members or romantic partners. Whether you have love for your parents, siblings, pets or a spouse, it’s an important emotional bond that affects you and shapes how you see the world around you.
Romantic love is an enduring subject for artists, poets and novels throughout the ages and across cultures. It’s also one of the most common emotions for humans to experience, according to research.
But can love ever last? It’s a complex subject that depends on many factors. And while cynics say it’s not possible to find true love, hopeless romantics believe that everyone should be on the lookout for soulmates.
Scientists have devoted a lot of attention to the science behind love, finding that it has a unique way of developing and changing over time. While there’s no definite answer to what makes love work, here are a few tips that can help make it easier to nurture a healthy relationship:
Think of the people in your life who have been there for you, even through tough times. They’re a source of support and a source of joy for you. It’s not always easy to remember who those people are, but it’s crucial for a long-lasting relationship.
Take the time to really think about those people and what you value about them. Perhaps you have a favorite song or an object that reminds you of them. Conjure up a moment when you had all your attention focused on that one person and experience the physical and emotional feelings of that moment.
Be sure to bring this feeling with you wherever you go, so you can relive the memory as often as possible when you’re not together. It’s a great way to strengthen the bonds in your relationship, especially if it’s been strained in the past.
Being in love can make you more open to trying new things and exploring new experiences. It can also change how you see the world, making it easier to appreciate certain things that once didn’t hold much appeal to you.
A 2014 study found that romantic love triggers a surge of activity in brain areas rich in dopamine, the brain’s feel-good chemical. These areas include the ventral tegmental area and the caudate nucleus, both part of the reward system.
This can lead to intense feelings of lust and sexual desire. Aside from the physical attraction, it’s important to remember that love should be about commitment and friendship. A love that is based solely on sex or physical attraction is short-lived and often leads to depression and emptiness.
The best kind of love is not based on sex or physical attraction, but on mutual admiration. If you’re in a relationship with someone and don’t have that mutual admiration, your connection will crumble and everything else you’ve built together will fall apart.
If you’re struggling with a difficult relationship, you may want to seek professional counseling. Licensed marriage and family therapists can help you work through issues that are preventing your relationship from working. They can help you learn how to communicate with your partner and develop a shared sense of self that will make your love last.