I keep on falling, in and ooout of love...with you
August 27, 2007 4:29 PM   Subscribe

How do you stay in love?

I am not and have not ever been in love, I think. (And since I said "I think" I'm pretty sure that disqualifies me from having been in love)

Generally, though, I tend to get bored with people and things quickly. I am one of those people who will LOVE a new song, have it on repeat on iTunes for days and then hate the song and forget why I loved it in the first place.

With people, I may begin a friendship or have a crush on someone, but soon the emotional attachment ends, I'm bored, lose interest and am off.

I understand that the "honeymoon phase" of anything ends eventually. But how do I preserve that emotional attachment, or maintain an emotional response to people/things after that initial wave of obsession ends?

It's like, you watch some sad movie, perhaps Titanic. ::spoiler alert:: The first time Jack dies, maybe you cry. The next 5 times you watch the movie, you may still get sad and/or cry. But eventually, his death no longer generates an emotional response from you. THIS is what happens to me with people and things. We share experiences that bring us together, and the emotional response creates a bond, but after a while that experience no longer triggers an emotional response and the bond is lost.

I remember reading something about how our minds have a harder time remembering negative emotions and that's why people keep repeating mistakes that have hurt them (like getting back with an ex) because they forget how bad it hurt. Does this relate in some way?

What to do? Help me keep the love.
posted by PinkButterfly to Human Relations (40 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
How old are you?
posted by contraption at 4:33 PM on August 27, 2007


Have you ever had a friend that you've loved? A brother, a sister, a parent that you've maintained a long friendship with? You stay in love with a romantic partner the same way that you stay in love with all the other people you love. By knowing him/her well, appreciating him/her deeply, accepting his/her flaws and embracing his/her weaknesses, and recognizing that as nice as fleeting passion may be, it is not the same thing as love.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:35 PM on August 27, 2007 [8 favorites]


People aren't songs or movies: they change, they respond to stimuli, they are human.

Do you have long-term friends? A relationship will be like that, but more intense.
posted by k8t at 4:38 PM on August 27, 2007


I'm no expert, but have been married 29 years, total, to two fine women, the first of whom died after 24 years, and have been asking the same question for years.

Structurally, romantic relationships SEEM to go through phases of interest, infatuation, lust, comfort/contentment, and usually, conflict/dissolution.

Nature seems to encourage serial monogamy, and I have felt for years that we are programmed to move on to the next mate, and that the programs execute slower for some people, but are active in most.

I don't think (and am supported in the literature) that we can maintain the high energy levels of lust/infatuation perpetually, nor that it would have been positive for the species when these behaviors evolved.

As a mature human, I accept that things are going to change for me physically over time, and that it is probably true for my emotional self, too.

It seems a sad thing that we are only allowed a relatively small interval for the effervesence of infatuation, but I do enjoy that wonderful, long plateau of contentment, and hope you get to experience it, too, someday.

Mourn the human condition, PinkButterfly, but please don't be hard on yourself for not being a marathon 'infaturator'. I'm not sure it's possible.
posted by FauxScot at 4:38 PM on August 27, 2007 [12 favorites]


We share experiences that bring us together, and the emotional response creates a bond, but after a while that experience no longer triggers an emotional response and the bond is lost.

That's why one continues to find new experiences to share with one's partners. That's the function of dating, really -- you go out and do things together and continue to create and nurture those bonds. (Which is one of the reasons married or long-term couples are encouraged to keep up a "date night" or its equivalent.)
posted by occhiblu at 4:38 PM on August 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ever found something that does keep your interest, because there are new ways/locations/methods of doing it? Maybe mountain climbing, or sex, or traveling, or dining out?

Now imagine you are with a person who you do things with (and maybe the things above that interest you) that is interesting and quite often when you spend time with that person they bring something new to the situation that you didn't think of it. Your initial, fleeting, attraction to them is compounded by the ongoing exploration of their personality and their ability to share situations with you.

Not every day brings out something that makes you shout "oh cool!", but it happens often enough that you can remember the last time it happened pretty clearly.

And then add to that an ongoing feeling of comfort, like a favourite meal or movie or chair. Not something that continually excites you, but something you can experience repeated times without feeling utterly cheating or like you've wasted your time. With a person that creates this feeling within you it might be as simple as a smile that makes you feel good, or that way they hold their head when concentrating.

If it all fits together, and the initial bonfire continues into an ongoing slow-burning candle (with occasionally lighting a bit of fireworks), then you'll end up with a lasting love affair.

Maybe. Try it a few dozen times and see what fits.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:45 PM on August 27, 2007 [10 favorites]


Wow. Well, there's two answers to this question, and really, it depends on your age, your lifestyle / maturity stage, and all of those attributes in your significant other. See, people start having 'drama' and fall in and out of love and handle it badly when they're missing something for the relationship that they're in -- either one person is or both people are too immature, or clingy, or unstable for the relationship. And so the relationship ends, and you go on to find the next one.

The thing is, each relationship's a learning process. You learn about yourself, what you're willing to take from a partner and give too a partner. This one might've been a little too much or a little too little in some certain parameter. But finally you end up with someone you can take for a long time. (This usually happens about the time that you find enough zen in a relationship to understand this paragraph -- if it made perfect sense to you, and you're OK with your relationship ending and excited about starting a new one, then you're there. If you protested that your current one is perfect and forever-lasting and all those wonderful codependent goth things, then you're not there.) And then you both learn how to keep it exciting. How to get through the daily grind together, and then put that little spark back in each other's lives at the end of it that makes you go to bed curled up with a smile on your face.

It's not something that can really be bottled up and described concisely, but there you have it.
posted by SpecialK at 4:46 PM on August 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Maybe you are afraid of getting too close? That's always been my problem. Fear of intimacy.
posted by wafaa at 4:53 PM on August 27, 2007


to contraption:

I'm in my very early 20s.
posted by PinkButterfly at 5:00 PM on August 27, 2007


Hmmm. I didn't fall in love for the first time (really in love instead of lust or unrequited longing) until I was 33. So, don't be too hard on yourself if it doesn't happen for awhile.
posted by jeanmari at 5:17 PM on August 27, 2007


after a while that experience no longer triggers an emotional response and the bond is lost.

I think your problem lies here. A bond doesn't need an "emotional response" in order to exist.

Also, what you define as an "emotional response" will likely change over time. I think that your emotional sensitivity gauge might be set rather high right now, meaning that it takes a fair amount of excitement/lust/drama to trigger it. As you age, stuff that seems boring and neutral now will start to trigger that sensor, and your gauge will be reset to a lower level so that you enjoy a wider range of less dramatic things.
posted by desjardins at 5:22 PM on August 27, 2007


short version: there ain't nothin' wrong with you.
posted by desjardins at 5:23 PM on August 27, 2007


Heh. Pink, at under 29, you're a baby. (I am also under 29) You're hardly out of your teens, where everything is radically changing. You haven't figured out who you really are or what you really want. My completely armchair diagnosis? Perfectly normal. Don't worry about it! explore. Do silly things. Hang out with artists, business people, old people and young. Then you can start worrying about Twue Wove.

Oh, and to pretend I'm actually answering the question- time spent together, time apart, shared interests but also things you can do separately. Good communication, and better conflict resolution. Patience. Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness. Accepting that it might not always be that hot flame of infatuation/crush. Willingness to be wrong. Dont settle.

ok, no more rambling
posted by Jacen at 5:41 PM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


It sounds like you look to your partner for entertainment. Don't. I've been with my wife for 13 years, but I don't expect her to "be interesting." Instead, I make sure I have an interesting life -- when I'm with her or when I'm alone.

If do some activity together, we focus on the activity. Later, we discuss what we saw or did. It's never boring, because the activity isn't boring. (Even if it's just watching a good movie.)

If we've been apart all day, it's because we've both been at work, doing stuff. When we meet up, we talk about that stuff. Now if every time I talked to my wife, her response was really boring or predictable, that might be a problem. But her remarks (about our activities and about her or my work) often surprise me. If your problem is that your partners don't have anything interesting to say, then you just haven't found the right partners yet.

When relationships first start, they're all about intense attraction and gazing into each others' eyes. That part doesn't last forever. The next faze is about making dinner and taking out the trash. Or about playing on the Wii or traveling to Mexico. It's about LIVING -- and having someone to share your experiences with.

You need to learn to push through the boredom. The post-romantic phase will necessarily seem dull compared to that initial spark. And it's tempting to pack it in at that point. But that's too bad, because if you persevere, you'll get to a better stage. It was awesome when I first met my wife, but I wouldn't trade now for then. Now is better. Having so much history, so many in-jokes, so much trust ... that's gold!

I'm not saying hang in there forever, no matter what. If I was in a relationship, and the first bloom ended, I would persevere for several months but not for several years. If, six months later (post bloom), the person seems boring, he probably IS boring.

I must admit, I didn't find love until my late 20s. Before then, I wasn't ready. You sound really young. Maybe you're not ready. There's no sin in that.

But it IS a problem if, in general, you don't learn to persevere through boredom. And I'm not just talking about romances. There isn't a trick to it. You just get a backbone and don't quit just because you're bored. You don't hang on forever, but you don't quit after five minutes, either.
posted by grumblebee at 5:46 PM on August 27, 2007 [55 favorites]


Right now, the most powerful emotions you have felt in the sexual arena are the amazing crush feelings that we all get, especially when we are young. And, hopefully, you haven't really taken some of the hardest hits that life can hand us that still leave us standing.

Because it is those hits which bring the understanding of love. Love is something that goes far beyond the butterflies in the stomach phase--it is the incredible feeling you get when you have just been laid low by something terrible and someone who understands you fully and knows exactly what you need reaches out to you and makes you realize that they see those good things within you that will allow you to remain standing.

It takes a long time to get to that point. It takes starting to know one's self quite well before being able to recognize.

Most importantly, you have to love yourself first. Once those conditions have been reached--it is only a matter of time.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:46 PM on August 27, 2007


I'm not sure I can teach it, but I have been lucky enough to live it. I just celebrated my 20th anniversary a few days ago, and I am typing this after a fabulous evening of grilled food, a shared bottle of wine, great conversation and great sex. I am almost certain that the key was a discovery that maintaining relationships is not supposed to be easy. We had to learn HOW to do it and spent a lot of time struggling in our early years. Its so corny that you don't ever give it credit when you hear, but I think the key is to communicate EVERYTHING. Understand each other in minute detail and share everything and some day you will find yourself unable to imagine life without her.

If you never do the work and lay yourself open, you'll never have more than a superficial relationship and you'll never get to that next level. I still can't stay interested in a hobby more than six months, but I'm as fascinated by her as I ever was. I don't think we are special -- I'm pretty sure anyone can do it.
posted by Lame_username at 6:11 PM on August 27, 2007 [8 favorites]


i just broke my mouse favouriting Kickstart70 & grumblebee's comments. i think there is almost nothing that can possibly be added, other than to play on grumblebee's first three paragraphs:

It almost sounds like you are playing the role of a passive, demanding consumer, as grumblebee suggests by saying "It sounds like you look to your partner for entertainment". You might be sitting back & weighing up whether somebody still does it for you, or not, when the focus really should be on making your own life as interesting & fulfilling as possible, and using your relationship to enhance the depth of your experiences, and also those of your partner (some of which will be shared experiences, but far from all).

i suspect that too many people view their relationships as their primary source of interest & creativity, when they really should be a crucible in which external influences are shared, played with, and alchemically transmuted into something higher than they could have been had you experienced them solo. The relationship cannot go on generating interest out of itself indefinitely - that would be too much like trying to pick yourself up by your own bootstraps - but if you can continue to bring these outside things into the crucible, you should never run out of fuel for the fire (sorry about the mixed metaphors!).

These external things i am talking about are not just "what i did today", but anything from your memories, thoughts, new things you come across day-to-day, changes in your ideas over time, sensory experiences, cultural gems, whatever. As long as you are interested in the world around you, and your partner is too, and you are interested in & respectful of each other's ideas & views, there's no reason why things should ever stagnate. More to the point, you build up over time a shared 'vocabulary' that enables shorthand communication - almost a form of ESP-like empathy - and a mutually-understood history of angles on all facets of life that only becomes broader & richer as you continue exploring, which is probably where the real basis of ongoing love lies, imho.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:06 PM on August 27, 2007 [12 favorites]


In my opinion you may be confusing the feeling of "love" with whatever gives you an emotional rush. It's interesting that you used the comparison of reviewing a movie scene over and over - the problem of course, is that nothing you've done or seen before will ever give you that same emotional high you had that first time. That's not exactly the way I think of love. Otherwise, love would only be for victims of short term memory loss.

I am in total agreement with what others have said previously. Love is not based on what is exciting and new - those experiences enhance the relationship, but are not the foundation for one. Love is the conscious and recurring decision to seek out experiences with someone with whom you share an emotional bond. It is not something you can engage in passively, and you cannot expect it to just happen on its own. You need to become a willing participant, work at maintaining it, and then allow it to grow.
posted by krippledkonscious at 7:15 PM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Love is a verb, not a noun. It is something you do, not something you have.
posted by alms at 7:17 PM on August 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think Pink is asking how to hold onto the feeling of love.

If your love is a verb, then we're only dealing with homonyms. Hopefully the way to maintain love isn't to redefine it.
posted by the jam at 7:51 PM on August 27, 2007


Thank you for the responses so far.

Grumblebee struck a nerve with the idea that I am being passive in my interactions with others. I think that is especially true and could be a key issue.

To the others who have said that my feeling, or lack thereof, is a result of my youth, I am interpreting "youth" as really meaning "immaturity" because many have been able to be in love when young....??

I'm not offended, but just wanting to make sure I'm reading that correctly.

Again, thanks.
posted by PinkButterfly at 8:25 PM on August 27, 2007


Not immaturity. That's being not as advanced as others in your age cohort. What I was getting at was that in my experience I didn't understand love until I was in a situation where my clock was cleaned emotionally and someone was really there for me.

Also you may have already experienced such issues, and I hope my original comment made it clear that it was possible that such things had happened to you.

Plus, to be honest, some oldsters may have a definition of love I haven't seen or experienced yet. I just know that when I was in my very early 20's I hadn't had that feeling yet.

I think being in love requires knowing what you want and your comment seems to indicate that it may be the case that you haven't figured that out yet 100%. Neither have I.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:58 PM on August 27, 2007


To the others who have said that my feeling, or lack thereof, is a result of my youth, I am interpreting "youth" as really meaning "immaturity" because many have been able to be in love when young....??

Can't speak for the others, but I favourited Jacen's comment because of a general (admittedly patronising) personal belief that people don't really mature - exceptional cases aside - until they've lived at least a few years in the adult world, which means (in my kinds of circles) being at least a couple of years out of university, typically in full-time employment.

People in their early 20s are usually stuck in that hazy quasi-adult, quasi-highschool world, where they are still coccooned within predictable, hierarchical structures, and largely dealing only with people of their own age, and of their own choosing, and whose knowledge of the world tends to exist more on an idealistic theoretical plain, rather than an experiential one. At the same time, they're getting into relationships & sex & partying & politics & often living out of home, working & so on, which is where the quasi-adult stuff comes in, but mostly I think it's a time of messing about & experimenting, trying to find oneself, largely devoid of any real kind of adult responsibility.

Having said that, there are plenty of exceptions to this general rule, and I wish to emphasise the "Don't worry! explore. Do silly things. Hang out with artists, business people, old people and young" part of Jacen's answer. I mean all of this in the most positive way.

posted by UbuRoivas at 9:12 PM on August 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


(too much emphasis on the work/lifestyle thing above. more importantly, one probably normally needs to have had at least a couple of serious, longish-term relationships, some messy breakups, maybe have lived with a partner & had some friends die on you, that sort of thing...being in the workforce (in some kind of career sense, not just to buy nice things or pay the bills) adds another entire level of issues & challenges)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:18 PM on August 27, 2007


Lots of good stuff here. This is how I would say it, succinctly:

Love is a decision. Not one you make once, but one you make every day.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:57 PM on August 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


That's pretty good, allkindsoftime, although I would qualify it slightly: you don't necessarily make the initial decision.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:12 AM on August 28, 2007


I can't personally claim that it's "youth" being a limiting factor, that's for sure. My fiance and I have been together for 12 years, and we started dating our sophomore year in high school. And I don't believe that we were more emotionally mature than others our age when we started dating. Most likely, it was ridiculous luck at the beginning, and then we just became quick studies of how to stay stay happy in our relationship through the years (fairly relevant self-link).

Whatever happened, I am aware my relationship experience is relatively uncommon. But I did want to point out that you don't necessarily have to have a bunch of bad relationships and/or hardships under your belt before you luck out and find someone you can love. I'd advise anyone to stay positive about relationships in general - be willing to trust someone and don't let cynicism and defensiveness prevent you from letting someone get close. I realize how serious it is gambling with your heart, but if you don't ever try, life can become very long and very lonely. Especially when you get to be my age and your single friends have to watch everyone else get married.
posted by krippledkonscious at 12:16 AM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


According to some studies, love can act like a drug on the brain. After a half hour of looking, I'm not finding the third article I remember which discussed that some people may prefer the "falling in love" sensations as opposed to the work it takes to stay loving mentioned by many posters above.

You've mentioned your age and others have addressed your youth and, yes, immaturity as factors to your current pattern of behavior. Different people mature at different rates. This is normal. If in 10 or 15 years, you find yourself in the same pattern, however, it may be that you prefer the rush of new love, the rush of excitement.

For a very clear example of the differences, let me draw from my own family. I'm 34 and have been married for almost 14 years. The first year was great. The second sucked. The third improved and so has each year since. While there is a lot of love, playfulness and appreciation in my marriage, it takes a lot of work and a daily decision to stay committed to it. On the other hand, my brother, age 37, is on his 5th marriage. Each of his relationships tend to last only 4 to 5 years. His ability to initiate a new relationship is always surprising. We've not seen any real cooling off period because he's always looking "to just be happy again." I really think he is just more wired for the rush of a new relationship. If you find yourself like my brother, do everyone a favor and don't marry. Just date and have fun.
posted by onhazier at 6:58 AM on August 28, 2007


“Who knows how to make love stay?

Tell love you are going to the Junior's Deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake, and if love stays, it can have half. It will stay.

Tell love you want a memento of it and obtain a lock of its hair. Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides. Face southwest. Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language. Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a mustache on your face. Find love. Tell it you are someone new. It will stay.

Wake love up in the middle of the night. Tell it the world is on fire. Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it. Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right. Fall asleep. Love will be there in the morning.”

- Tom Robbins
posted by ND¢ at 9:31 AM on August 28, 2007 [4 favorites]


It's really hard to put into words why I wasn't ready for love until my late 20s. I wasn't mature enough, sure, but what does that mean?

I think it's partly about drama: I first learned about love from stories (movies, etc.), and love stories are always so dramatic.

Romantic relationships in hight school and college tend to be dramatic, too. Maybe this is because kids are trying to emulate movies; maybe it's teenage hormones; maybe it's kids using love as a form of rebellion (I love my boyfriend better than I love my DAD!); maybe it's all-of-the-above. But it boils down to associating love with being part of some big drama -- pursuing, throwing yourself at someone, loud/public breakups, etc.

As I got older, I got tired of the drama. I wanted companionship. Now, that sort of drama -- that I once loved -- repulses me. It seems immature to me when other people do it, and I can't imagine wanting to do it myself. It just seems babyish and ... boring. But I liked it when I was younger, and guess I needed to get it out of my system.

(With nerdy me, more often then not, the drama was not having a girlfriend. But it was still drama. It was a tragedy starring me. Looking back, I wish I'd expended less energy on my personal after-school special and more on, say, learning some marketable skills.)

When I woke up from being like that and fell in love, I realized that what I'd previously thought was love actually wasn't. When I was in drama mode, it almost didn't matter who I was with. It just needed to be someone who'd be dramatic with me. I just didn't want to be left out of the drama that everyone else seemed to be having. Now, I'm very, very picky. I demand that my lover be my best friend.

And then there's the life lesson -- that most people learn sooner or later -- about sticking with things. This is a lesson that encompasses so much more than relationships. Babies don't do it. They give up something as-soon-as they're bored with it. Many children, teens -- even adults -- have trouble with delayed gratification. People don't work out because they get fed up when one session on the exercise bike doesn't make them skinny.

How did I learn to stop being this way? By fucking up to many times and getting burned. If people around you (teachers, bosses, etc.) let you coast, they're not doing you any favors.

(It really sucks that our culture TRAINS people to expect instant gratification. I think that's an immense problem. Taken to logical extremes, it leads to catastrophes like global warming. Don't give into this! Learn to take long walks, prepare complicated meals, read long novels, etc. If you force yourself to do it at first, you'll eventually come to enjoy things that are long and involving and don't have immediate payoffs.)

Finally, I leaned that "happily ever after" is a myth. (Again, this applies to much more than love.) Once, I thought "I just need to get a girlfriend, and then my life will be complete." Later, I thought, "I just need to get a wife, and then my wife will be complete." I don't plan to have kids, but if I did, I might think the same thing. But life wouldn't be complete. After you have kids, you have to take them to the doctor when they have ear aches, explain sex to them, discipline them when they total the car...

There's no happily ever after! Once you reach a goal -- any goal -- the next step is work. That doesn't need to be a negative thing if you expect it.

Recently, I got a great new job. I fucked up past job by thinking that the trick was just to get them. With this job, I knew that getting the job was just step one. I expected to have to work. I am working. I'm enjoying it.
posted by grumblebee at 10:33 AM on August 28, 2007 [12 favorites]


I think grumblebee's explanation of what people mean when they say you sound young is fantastic. That's what I normally think of as a young-person relationship -- one that's more about the sweeping-you-off-your-feet drama of it all.

After a few of those relationships crash and burn, most people come to realize that the sweeping, while lovely, can't really sustain an entire relationship, and that there also needs to be partnership, respect, comfort -- those seemingly boring things that set a strong foundation out of which both people, and the relationship, can grow.
posted by occhiblu at 11:30 AM on August 28, 2007


sweet jebus, grumblebee, have you written any books i can buy & read? it doesn't matter what they're about.

on drama: When I woke up from being like that and fell in love, I realized that what I'd previously thought was love actually wasn't. When I was in drama mode, it almost didn't matter who I was with. It just needed to be someone who'd be dramatic with me. I just didn't want to be left out of the drama that everyone else seemed to be having.

I quite like Roland Barthes' approach in A Lover's Discourse, where he sets out a mini-encyclopaedia of "figures" that can be drawn upon & acted out by a lover, in much the same way as a dancer might perform a routine: "hm, a pirouette would fit now, then a leap...". Together, they make up a kind of vocabulary of exactly that sort of drama, like wearing dark glasses to 'hide' (draw attention to) the fact that you've been crying; or waiting impatiently for a phone call.

The standard figures for that kind of drama have been set out for us in high & popular culture - in fact, we're totally immersed in them - and people so often trip over themselves in order to take part in that drama almost for its own sake, and in doing so, adopt a panoply of received figures from this language with a surprising lack of self-consciousness - it boils down to associating love with being part of some big drama -- pursuing, throwing yourself at someone, loud/public breakups, etc.

A bit of a ranty digression there, but I think it's still on-topic, because if the OP is complaining about falling in love but being unable to sustain it, then it could be that they are wanting too hard to make some of this performance their own, finding it doesn't reflect the reality of the situation with the partner, then moving on & trying to force the role to make sense in another context, with another partner.

Understanding the relative arbitrariness and historical & cultural specificity of this kind of language or performance - dating back perhaps only about as far as the courtly love poetry, at least in the way that lurve is constructed in the modern West - might be an aid towards understanding what is going on. But probably only if they are of the overthinking type.

There was a post on the blue just the other day about Barthes, including a link to a few snippets from that book.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:33 PM on August 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


grumblebee, have you written any books i can buy & read? it doesn't matter what they're about.
posted by grumblebee at 5:28 PM on August 28, 2007


well, i *did* ask!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:57 PM on August 28, 2007


thanks everyone! great advice :)
posted by PinkButterfly at 8:49 PM on August 28, 2007


But how do I preserve that emotional attachment, or maintain an emotional response to people/things after that initial wave of obsession ends?

you grow up. you consult Websters as to the definition of commitment. love is something you choose to do, not an emotional response you have.
posted by quonsar at 9:21 AM on September 1, 2007




Asked previously: how do you make love last?
posted by PenguinBukkake


(heh)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:17 PM on September 1, 2007


I'm younger than you so I'm probably even less equipped to answer this question but I thought I'd offer my opinions on the matter, anyway.

I'm one of those iTunes repeat gals, I'll find a song and become so infatuated with it that for a week or two it's the only thing I can listen to. It's the only thing I'll have in my head and i'll proclaim to anyone that'll take me seriously that it's my favourite song ever. Then, I listen to it a little less and a little less and all those things that made the song shine so brightly begin to fade or become kind of 'meh' and most of all, don't cause that sort of reaction I had gotten from it initially. I've done this many times over and maybe it's because we are of the instant gratification generation or what have you but it's a common occurrence among my similar aged friends.

That's probably why I was (and still am) surprised that I've been in the same relationship for the past two years. Right from the beginning I feared that the intensity that comes with meeting someone exciting and new that you click with would abate and the conviction I had about this guy would all be a sham. Now, I realise two years is hardly a drop in the ocean for some of the more older members here, but at this age it's still a bit of a feat.

I’m not sure exactly why I didn’t get sick of him early on and leap into yet another crush waiting in the wings, but I do have my suspicions. First, while initially I was afraid to lose what we had at the start, I also realised that I wanted nothing more than to create a deep bond with this man, that went beyond my heart skipping a beat every time I heard his voice. I wanted the comfortableness and trust you share with someone once you’ve given yourself completely to them. Secondly, he exhibited all the traits I could ever desire in a significant other – even in my wildest dreams. It’s not only that we share so much in common but have been able to open up whole new worlds to each other. We talk and we talk and we talk. Our interests both diverge and intersect, which makes it all so interesting. Communication is part of the foundation in any lasting relationship. Lastly, in these two short years we have been through some of the toughest events in our personal lives and he has never faltered once to be by my side and support me when I could not hold myself up. I like to think I have done the same for him when he has needed me.

That is not to say that we haven’t had disagreements, or that there are aspects of each other that are in no way appealing but even on those darker days the loyalty and companionship I share with him means I never question our love. I fear that I have repeated what others have said upwards but I hope this was helpful, anyway.

Ookay, so this has gone on far longer than I expected but basically what I wanted to say was:
Love evolves. Don’t think of it as just those first heady days of romance (which I am sure to some extent I am still in). Love is the ever growing and evolving union that you share with the other person. You stay in love by adapting with it. Love is not just a feeling, it’s every aspect of your relationship and like everything else needs to be worked on. If you’re willing to wait it out when you think the time is right, it will reward you greatly, I am sure of it.
posted by liquorice at 8:19 PM on September 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


i think liquorice has totally mosted this thread
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:07 PM on September 1, 2007


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