Neural Correlates of Long-Term Intense Romantic Love


For centuries, humans have speculated about the mysteries of romantic love. One question that has puzzled theorists, therapists and laypeople is whether intense romantic love can last. Some theories suggest that love inevitably declines over time in marriage or after the child-rearing years (Sternberg, 1986; Buss, 1989). Other theories suggest that over time, passionate/romantic love, defined as ‘a state of intense longing for union with another’ generally evolves into companionate love — with deep friendship, easy companionship and sharing of common interests, but not necessarily involving intensity, sexual desire, or attraction (Berscheid and Hatfield, 1969; Grote and Frieze, 1994). Some psychologists even speculated that the presence of intense passion in long-term marriages may sometimes exist, but is an indication of over-idealization or pathology (Freud, 1921; Fromm, 1956). However, other theories suggest that there might be mechanisms through which romantic love may be sustained over time in relationships.

Click here to download the study in PDF format.