Long-Term Love

Long-Term Love

There are studies, hearsay and informed comments about what makes good long-term relationship and love. The following appear frequently:

  • Appreciation. Noticing things that you appreciate about your partner and frequently saying what they are.
  • Teamwork. An attitude that “we face what the world throws at us together.” “Your problem is also my problem as we are part of one team.” And “Your joy is also my joy.”
  • Hope. The ability to retain belief in your successes and a good future, even in hard times.
  • Difference. Tolerating and allowing your partner to be different. Accepting and affirming differences, both when they are exciting and enjoyable, and when they are aggravating and threatening. Being interested and non-judgmental: ‘What’s it like to be like that? How can we manage and enjoy these differences?’
  • Sex. Exploring, enjoying, renewing, communicating, and respecting ebbs and flows.
  • Separateness. Trusting each other with maintaining and developing lives outside the relationship.
  • Communication Styles. (eg Extrovert/Introvert) Accepting that your partner has a different communication style and that yours is not the “right way”. Stretching yourself sometimes to use your partner’s style when needed, eg: to share when it feels difficult, or allow withdrawal without criticism.
  • Change. Accepting it, managing it, sharing and supporting each other through both the joys and the losses that arise.
  • Excitement. Doing things together which stimulate dopamine production in the brain: affectionate touching, sex, new experiences together, shared excitements, creating romantic feelings etc.
  • Forgiveness. Recognising the need to debrief; then forgive and move on.
  • Laughing and playfulness. Looking for opportunities to laugh and play together; be silly together, and remind each other of funny things.
  • Reality. Accepting that there will be both good and bad times. Working with what is possible, not delusions like: perpetual happiness, continuous passion, absolute freedom, total security, etc.
  • Freedom versus Security. Novelty vs Familiarity. Flexibility vs Discipline. Having an alliance where you both feel you have enough of these opposites.
  • Priority. Making time for each other in this busy world.

No relationship has all of these; indeed some of them may be unsuitable for yours. Yet it may be worth reviewing your relationship in the light of this list.

With thanks to:
Helen Fisher, Utube – The Anatomy of Love.
The Best Kept Secret by J Reibstein,
Mating in Captivity by E Perel,
The Dance of Intimacy by H Learner,
Getting the Love you Want by H Hendrix,
Staying together by S Quilliam.

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