Can We Really Make Love Last?

By Anna Luerssen | August 20, 2009 | 2 comments

We've all read the fairy tales and watched the "rom-coms," but most of us maintain a certain cynicism when it comes to romantic love. Sure, it may exist, but it certainly doesn't last in long-term relationships. Passion and romance give way to routine, boredom, and even infidelity. This is just the disappointing truth about romance, right?

Not necessarily, according to Bianca Acevedo and Arthur Aron, two psychologists at Stony Brook University. In a recent paper, published in the Review of General Psychology, they examined research on long-term relationships and conclude not only that romantic love—intense, engaging, and sexual—can persist, but that it's a reasonable and important goal for couples to work toward. In a meta-analysis of 25 studies of long-term marriage, Acevedo and Aron found that a significant proportion of married couples report being intensely in love. So why are we still so skeptical?

Acevedo and Aron argue that we underestimate long-term relationship satisfaction partly because we confuse romantic love and passionate love, which is like romantic love plus obsession. While many long-term couples report having deep, strongly connected, and sexual relationships, these relationships are no longer characterized by a distracting preoccupation with one another. Acevedo and Aron find that a lack of obsession is certainly not a bad thing; in fact, obsession is associated with poor relationship satisfaction in long-term marriages.

The authors say it's critical to dispel the myth that romantic love cannot persist in long-term relationships. They argue that if partners recognize their potential to love one another for years, they won't settle for the status quo.

"In terms of real-world implications," write Acevedo and Aron, "the possibility of intense long-term romantic love sets a standard that couples (and marital therapists) can strive for that is higher than seems to have been generally considered realistic."

Tracker Pixel for Entry

Like this article?

Here's what you can do:


I do think that love can last… but i don’t know if it can last forever! There are few long-lasting relationships these days… What happened to true love? As they always say love at first sight! But that hardly happens anymore. You should only say “I Love You” if you mean it. Not when you just “Like” them. How do you know if you love the person? You care about them, you trust them, enjoy being with them and you look out for them. But what are the fights that make love stop? They are small and stupid fights. But isn’t arguing good for a relationship? Not anymore, i guess… Sometimes you meet someone else and sparks fly. You want to be with this person but you also don’t want to hurt your current partner’s feelings. This is how cheating starts. It is the most common cause of break-ups. I don’t get love, you say you love someone and then later you realize you don’t. Your partner can make you feel special and happy when you’re together but when you’re not together you don’t feel so special and happy anymore. Love isn’t about being with someone it is about how you feel about them. So I don’t believe in long lasting love.

Klara & Sahara (by the way we are 11) | 5:41 pm, November 10, 2009 | Link


True romantic love that last a lifetime happens for matured people.  First, you have to understand that love is not the romantic notions we see on television.  It is two people who commit to building a relationship, feelings will come and go but commitment is what creates long term endearment, trust and respect, all foundational elements of life long love.

Dory Alexander | 8:41 pm, October 13, 2010 | Link

blog comments powered by Disqus



Greater Good Events

The Science of Happiness

Register now for the acclaimed online course, re-launching January 5, 2016

The Science of Happiness

A free online course exploring the roots of a happy, meaningful life. Co-taught by the GGSC’s Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas. Up to 16 CE credit hours available.


Take a Greater Good Quiz!

How compassionate are you? How generous, grateful, or forgiving? Find out!


Watch Greater Good Videos

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.


Greater Good Resources


Book of the Week

Gratitude Works! By Robert A. Emmons The world's leading scientific expert on gratitude offers a step-by-step guide to becoming a more grateful person.

Is she flirting with you? Take the quiz and find out.
"Greater Good offers a first-rate service to those who want to track new and important research findings in social and emotional intelligence."  
Daniel Goleman

Best-selling author,
Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence

thnx advertisement