Does Relationships Change Over Time?
Do you agree with me that today we hardly see long-lasting relationships?
I guess, today if someone stays in a relationship for more than six months, they will consider that to be a long relationship.
But some people stay in a marriage or relationship for ages. I have met a few couples who have been in a relationship for more than 20 years. And though they couldn’t marry each other for some unavoidable reasons, yet they are living for each other.
I have seen married couples, living together happily for the last 40-45 years, and they feel the same love for each other, what they had in their initial days of dating.
Seeing these couples feel so good. This gives confidence in love and makes me happy.
But staying together all that time means they’ve had to do a daily job to take care of the relationship and I know it hasn’t always been easy.
The challenge of building a life as a couple
Building a life as a couple is a two-way job, in which both must make the conscious decision to commit and do their best.
Couple life is a long way to go, with ups and downs and with obstacles, but also with great satisfaction. A path that can only be travelled when both parties want and decide to do so.
We cannot forget that over time not only do our body and appearance change, but love and our feelings, or rather our way of feeling and expressing ourselves, also change.
People who have lived as a couple for years know that the way they felt and showed their love at the beginning of the relationship is not the same over the years.
How does love transform over time?
When we are young, we awaken to love almost in despair. We need to love and feel loved virtually like breathing, and a loving disappointment can plunge us into the most profound misery as if the world were going to end.
Of course, that is not a mature love, and it cannot be, because we lack age and lack the necessary experience.
After the 1920s or already 1930s, that’s when we usually start the most lasting relationships. Of course, there are exceptions, but in general, we can say that this is the mean.
However, even if at that moment, we are fortunate and start a long-term relationship, that love will go through several phases, until it becomes a Mature Love.
What are the phases of love?
Although love and passion are not exclusive to youth and at any age we can fall in love again like teenagers; no matter how old you start, love within the couple goes through different phases or stages.
The first phase of love: Infatuation
This first phase of love is the one that most resembles that novelistic idea that we have of love, that of fairy tales, full of extreme emotions and where there is nothing beyond being loved. But, contrary to what is thought, it is the shortest… Fortunately.
This is a stage of maximum physical and mental arousal when all we think about is being with the loved one. It is the phase of “blind and irrational love”, we are unable to see beyond each other, and there are no defects or inconveniences that stop us.
When we are in the phase of infatuation, we feel vibrations, our hands sweat, our nerves are full of skin, and in our body, there is a total revolution of hormones out of control. Of course, at this stage, physical attraction and sex play a fundamental role.
But this state of permanent euphoria cannot last too long, our body would not resist it, so it is good that it is the shortest.
The second phase of love: Romantic love
After the euphoria of the first moment, that can last up to one or two years, the second phase of love begins. A quieter stage in which the couple settle down and feel comfortable with each other.
But it is also when we start to analyze more rationally whether we are really made for each other and whether we could walk the path of life together.
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Although we may not be aware of the change, at this point we need to find out if we can trust the other person, whether it will be the vital support we will need when things get tough and if what we feel goes beyond physical attraction and eroticism.
During this second phase, we are “less blind” and see our partner as it is, with their flaws and virtues, accepting both. This acceptance process is one of the main foundations for couple love to last in time.
The problem arises when, at this point, one (or both) self-deceives, doesn’t want to see their partner as they are or thinks they’ll get them to change. The conflict stems precisely from an expectation that cannot be fulfilled or fulfilled.
It is at this stage also when the couple develops (or must develop) their best communication skills and mutual respect. Good communication is the other of the foundations of a healthy relationship.
At this moment, past the almost obsessive attachment of the beginning, that the couple learns that they have a life in common but that at the same time each has his own life and enjoy and respect that.
The third phase of love: Mature love
The third phase, mature love, is synonymous with commitment. At this point, the couple thoroughly enjoys each other. They are friends, lovers, companions and accomplices.
Indeed they have overcome substantial obstacles and solved significant problems, so the relationship is more vital.
It’s time to enjoy a free, fearless love based on mutual trust. They both want each other’s company but without obsessions. These are the characteristics of mature love.
And no matter when it’s reached, for some it’s swift, and others take a little longer. Again here, age has nothing to do with it.
Mature love is calmer and calmer love, but make no mistake, this does not mean that it is less passionate love. Passion and sex continue (and should continue) to be a fundamental part of a healthy and lasting relationship because, in addition to being pleasant, it helps strengthen the affective bonds between the two. Let’s not forget that sex is one of the secrets to having a long life.
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At this point, it is essential to escape monotony; the passage of time is not a pretext for love to become boredom, custom or exhaustion.
A couple who have been together for years and who have managed to mature their relationship should not always take it for sure. Romance, adventure, and continually starting new projects are the firewood that fuels the fire of love.
In short, getting to enjoy a mature love is a blessing, but it is not achieved effortlessly. It is a daily and conscious work, in which both sides want to build a couple based on respect, trust, communication, collaboration and romance.
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