How do you make love last?
September 5, 2005 4:21 PM   Subscribe

How do you make love last?
posted by PenguinBukkake to Human Relations (29 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
If I took your question completely literally, I'd say, "you don't." Love is a FEELING. Like other feelings, you have little control over it. So it will last or it won't.

But you can COMMIT yourself to another person -- someone you really care about. And you can take that commitment seriously, vowing to stay with that person even if you don't feel strong love every minute of every day, even if during long periods you feel no love at all. If you make this commitment, and if you make it clear to your friend that you've made it -- that you can be counted on not to leave, not to cheat, to be supportive, to be caring, to be vulnerable, to forgive -- then there's a good chance your friend will feel love for you. And if you're loved, then it's likely that you will feel love.
posted by grumblebee at 4:34 PM on September 5, 2005

Love, in my experience, is always in flux. Sometimes are better than others. Understanding that makes it easier to deal with the hard times. Plus, you need to fins someone you can really talk to as you'll be talking a lot more than anything else.
posted by captainscared at 4:35 PM on September 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

by never taking the other person for granted, by being there for them, by being interested in them, and by trusting them
posted by seawallrunner at 4:49 PM on September 5, 2005 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I meant _your_ love for the other person, not the other person's love for you.

crash: good idea.
posted by PenguinBukkake at 4:58 PM on September 5, 2005

How are you defining "love"? Romantic love, which is all moonlight and breathy promises and feels light/easy because it is, as yet, untested by real life? Affectionate love, which develops over time and through commitment? Selfless love, caring about another without self-interest? (I'm just shooting the breeze here about "types" of love, btw. There probably ARE different types of love that are defined scientifically...I don't know them specifically.)

When you ask "how do you make love last?", what do you want to be the "lasting" part? The passionate novelty of being with someone who doesn't appear to have flaws and hasn't yet learned of yours? :) The affectionate friendship with a life partner who helps you to face life's inevitable downs while helping you to celebrate the ups? A long term relationship with someone who doesn't draw back in horror when they eventually learn your most human secrets or when they smell your breath in the morning? Which is it?
posted by jeanmari at 5:01 PM on September 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: why do you assume that love cannot last unless it turns into something else (like friendship), jean?
posted by PenguinBukkake at 5:07 PM on September 5, 2005

The affectionate friendship with a life partner who helps you to face life's inevitable downs while helping you to celebrate the ups?

If this is what you want to last, the key is that you and the SO need to accept eachothers flaws and faults. People aren't perfect, and despite what we've been programmed to belive, a relationship isn't a romance novel or an emotional utopia.

As Teddy Pendergrass sung:

We all got our own funny moods
I've got mine
Woman, you got yours too
Just trust in me
Like I trust in you

posted by jonmc at 5:09 PM on September 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

why do you assume that love cannot last unless it turns into something else (like friendship), jean?

Well, the moonlight and breathy promises dosen't last. It can't. First of all, a lot of that is simply the giddiness of a new emotional connection, which weras off, humans aren't equipped to sustain that.
posted by jonmc at 5:10 PM on September 5, 2005

Response by poster: why?
posted by PenguinBukkake at 5:11 PM on September 5, 2005

why do you assume that love cannot last unless it turns into something else (like friendship), jean?

I don't assume that. :) I'm throwing out some possibilities to help understand what exactly you are asking? Which kind of love and what types of feelings/actions are you seeking to be the "lasting" ones, peng?
posted by jeanmari at 5:15 PM on September 5, 2005

If I knew the answer to that, I'd be thanking the Nobel academy. But it's what experience has taught me. I haven't met any long lasting couples who still do the moonlight-and-romance thing, but they're still together. The people who are into non-stop honeymoons tend to wind up doing the serial monogamy thing.
posted by jonmc at 5:17 PM on September 5, 2005

Be your lover's best friend.
posted by benzo8 at 5:18 PM on September 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

Think about baseball.
posted by horsewithnoname at 5:22 PM on September 5, 2005

I don't know if you lifted the question from Tom Robbins
"Still Life With Woodpecker" If not, he has a great riff/response on page 274.

My response may be similar.......

You make love last by understanding that you may never really, truly know that person.
posted by goalyeehah at 6:40 PM on September 5, 2005

Tell love that you are going to Junior's on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn for a cheesecake, and if it lasts it can have half.

Seriously, though, the best way to make love last is, I think, to see the object of your affection as the enigma that he/she is. You can never truly know everything about another person, especially since people change over time. Enjoy trying to "solve" the puzzle that is a relationship.

It sounds weird now that I write it out, but it works for me.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:50 PM on September 5, 2005 [3 favorites]

cerebus and i are sniffing the same glue.
posted by goalyeehah at 6:56 PM on September 5, 2005

Yeah, what goalyeehah said. We used the excerpt as a reading at our wedding:

"The most important thing is love," said Leigh-Cheri. "I know that now. There's no point in saving the world if it means losing the moon." Leigh-Cheri sent that message to Bernard through his attorney. The message continued, "I'm not quite twenty, but, thanks to you, I've learned something that many women these days never learn: Prince Charming really is a toad. And the Beautiful Princess has halitosis. The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. Loving makes love. Loving makes itself. We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love. Wouldn't that be the way to make love stay?"

The next day, Bernard's attorney delivered to her this reply: "Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words 'make' and 'stay' become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free."

-- Still Life with Woodpecker, Tom Robbins
posted by xo at 7:03 PM on September 5, 2005 [4 favorites]

Do this.
Don't do this.
posted by mono blanco at 7:21 PM on September 5, 2005

First rule: No bukkake.
Second rule: Always put the other person first.
Third rule: Reorder rules one and two.
posted by caddis at 8:07 PM on September 5, 2005

goalyeehah, you just rocked my world. Seriously.
posted by youarejustalittleant at 8:35 PM on September 5, 2005

There are several theories about why we love, but the one I think fits with most of the observable signs says that love isn't a feeling, it's a motivational system. The sensation of being in love correlates strongly with activity in the goal-seeking area of the brain.

Romantic (passionate) love fades most probably in the time it takes to conceive, bear and wean a child - about eighteen months seems to be the mean. Perhaps we evolved to be serial monogamists as jonmc put it.

One suggestion I heard for two people wishing to keep the spark alive is to do novel and exciting things together. Essentially it's a way of tricking the brain, as we tend to form closer attachments with people who accompanied us in stressful situations.

To be honest, the way we fall in (and out) of love seems a bit random to me, but that's probably personal bitterness speaking. I actually don't think there is anything you can do to make love last: it's a lottery. On the other hand, there's probably all sorts of ways to screw it up. Good luck!
posted by Ritchie at 4:41 AM on September 6, 2005

Best answer: ...a few notes before I rush out, which I'll organize later into a coherent system...but this is really a quite easy riddle to solve:

*1. Tiziano's Amor, Sacro e Profano.

----a. Securing and maintaining the utter saturation of amor, and then tending to the unpredictable (but rewarding and delicious) balance between sacro and profano:

----b. sacro: contemplation of love as the complete arousal of the unfettered, the sublime, meditations, theories, etc...

----c. profano: secular, bourgeois, somatic, grounded...(teh hawt sex).

*2. Reciprocated love. demise imminent without reciprocation. See below: Venus's Sons:

*3. Eros and Anteros, constantly fighting for the possession of the palm branch.

----a. importantly: love that grows, and is strengthened only when it is returned. simply, sustainability.

----b. struggling vs. reconciliation: struggling not in discord, but from the madness of fire and ire of complexity and duality of love.

*4. Cupid and Psyche: the search for soul + the union with desire = pleasure.

----a. dichotomy of love ultimately yields pleasure, regardless of torment.

----b. pleasure = contentment = lucky in love/endurance.

…now if you’ll please pardon me. i'm running late...and i still need to visit that tit-fucking thread before i take my leave.
posted by naxosaxur at 5:00 AM on September 6, 2005

We still haven't heard from penguin about what kind of behaviors/feelings that he hopes will last. Peng, what say you?
posted by jeanmari at 8:04 AM on September 6, 2005

Response by poster: touch touch touch kiss kiss kiss snuggle snuggle snuggle earth-shattering sex all nite every nite dirty talk in foreign languages some of them dead I daydream of your naked body and I think I can still taste you in my mouth my heart starts racing whenever caller ID tells me it's you and the way you fall asleep close to me with a little girl's smile I'm so proud that you carry yourself so lightly even if you're usually by far the smartest person in the room not to mention the hottest I peer over my book just to steal a glance of you and you don't even notice I have a hard time concentrating on the paintings even at the Frick if you're standing next to me and I inhale deeply every time you kiss me goodbye to try to make it last a little longer, things like that jeanmari
posted by PenguinBukkake at 8:55 AM on September 6, 2005 [2 favorites]

That stuff doesn't really last that long. Jonmc speaks the truth. For more, check out this article.
posted by caddis at 9:54 AM on September 6, 2005

Best answer: Thanks Peng, that helps. I would say that, although that stuff doesn't stay around all day, every can recycle itself throughout the relationship. How? I don't know how to trigger it purposefully, but I can tell what events trigger FOR me in regards to my spouse. When we both are involved in things that really feel fulfilling to us personally, it is always delightful to come back together and share that excitement. In tends to spill over into touch touch touch kiss kiss for us. Pursuing adventures together that get our adrenaline going puts us in touch with what is thrilling about each other. (When we backpacked across China, that was awesome. But I also got a little thrill when we ran to the park last night after dark and kicked a soccer ball around. He looked so cute with his hair in his eyes, trying to impress me with his kicks...sigh :) And when he can make me laugh? Hoo boy...what a hunk.

Do I ever have the feeling of "I just want to be by myself right now" ? Or do I ever get frustrated? Do we ever argue? Yes, yes and yes. But we don't hold grudges, I really try to honor his feelings, apologize when I'm wrong, etc. etc. We try to get all of the emotional housekeeping done in as orderly a fashion as we can in order to leave ourselves freed up for all of the good stuff.

I learned a team building model years ago that seems to apply well to many relationships. Stage One is the Honeymoon Stage (Forming) have no idea what you are in for on a long term basis, but the novelty is exciting. Stage Two is the "Honeymoon is Over" stage (Storming)...reality meets the ideal, and your emotions suffer a little hit. If you can get past this stage, you go onto the Norming stage where you are learning about the "real" other person and learning to appreciate them for ALL of who they are. And your getting those good feelings back. And then, Performing, where you know them as well as you can, you work well together, conflicts are resolved in a healthy manner, you feel good together, etc.

The catch? Whenever the relationship adds a person (like kids for example) or undergoes a big change of context (perhaps one spouse becomes a stay-at-home parent), it can start over somewhere earlier in the 4 stages and have to progress forward again.

This is my own person vision of it and I'm sure others have their own as well. As creatures, we seem to be too complex for an easy, concise answer, eh?
posted by jeanmari at 10:31 AM on September 6, 2005 [2 favorites]

Well, maybe things like that don't last, but they come in waves (for me, anyway). My husband and I have been together six years in total. Every so often it feels like I fall in love again. It's not that I've fallen out of love, but maybe it's some sort of renewal of that love. I'm not sure what triggers it - sometimes it's something he does or says or I just look at him and BAM! it's all new again.

As for making it last, I'm sure it's different for everyone but I believe there are a couple things that are important in any relationship:
- Making the commitment grumblebee mentions is part of it.
- Being best friends with your significant other.
- Realization that we're each flawed and learning to live and adjust to those flaws.
- Open communication cannot be overstated. It's the cornerstone to any lasting relationship.
posted by deborah at 10:45 AM on September 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

Stick out tough times.
Do nice things for each other.
Share experiences, good and bad.
Once in a while, be surprising.
Make the relationship a priority.
Most of all, Be kind to each other.
posted by Mom at 6:21 PM on September 8, 2005 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: mom? is that you?

what are you doing on MetaFilter?

this is embarrassing...
posted by PenguinBukkake at 6:16 AM on September 9, 2005

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