Don’t confuse passion and lust with love. Sex and love go together, but they’re different. If you run from relationships when hot passion cools, and rebel against love settling into a quiet routine, stop right there. You can’t prevent such change. Science assures us that both responses – hot waves of desire and the peaceful calm of familiarity – are controlled by your body, not your heart.
When you met your lover, you neglected eating or sleeping, and passion consumed you. You craved spending every moment in his company. You extolled her exquisite charms to anyone who would listen. Was there a giddy grin plastered on your face most of the time?
You’re not unique, and you’re practically powerless to change that behavior. The culprit, says medical opinion, is the well-known brain chemical dopamine, coursing through your system. Psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen says, “Dopamine is the initial chemical of attraction. When someone takes our breath away, we become motivated to get to know them better. Dopamine is the motivation chemical that drives (that) behavior.”
Dopamine makes you feel elated after a great workout. It causes feelings of joy after a bout with gourmet chocolates. It’s passion’s trigger, along with serotonin and a couple of others.
When a relationship matures, sometimes fairly quickly, dopamine dwindles and the cuddle hormone, oxytocin, takes over. Colorado State University found that oxytocin enhances trust and cooperation in those who had been together for several years. The same chemical affects birth and lactation. It thrives, they say, in couples enjoying enduring, loving relationships.
As the chemistry of love alters, you notice that your lover actually has a few annoying habits. You’re shocked to find that you’d prefer some time to yourself. Your relationship seems to require more work and commitment to keep it going.
Every relationship has peaks when love and passion seem easy. But there are vast valleys to cross, too. Suddenly, you don’t always see eye-to-eye. You might crave time alone, or feel more independent. If you don’t understand what’s going on, you might panic and run from the relationship. Have you done that more than once? People happily bonded in ripening relationships will tell you that every fire ignites with a burst of white-hot heat, and every viable fire damps to a safer, sustainably steady glow.
It’s your job to help yourself to stay in love with your mate, but you can’t prevent love from becoming quieter and less heated. Here’s what you can do:
• Maybe you don’t want wild sex every night, but make sure to give your partner quality time and serious attention.
• Make sure your sex life remains satisfying to both.
• Plan for a future, and let daily issues stay in perspective.
• Face problems head-on, working for common goals and outcomes.
It’s easier to accept your body’s changes than to attempt to wrestle the Fates into submission. Keep those searing, passionate days alive in your spirit, but cherish and nurture the value of long-term love.