What If Love Was All Around?

by DavalosMcCormack on January 9, 2009

Today I read in the San Francisco Chronicle that Tony Martin, the crooner and Cyd Charisse, the dancer with Lloyds of London legs, were in love for 65 years.  The article said that upon her death 6 months ago, Tony Martin was bereft.   They had a blessed marriage – the kind where if one of them was away even for a few days, he or she would call the other to eagerly relate everything that had happened.

So, I’ve been wondering if love really can last forever.  What do you think? I know, I think the same thing!  The fact is that when you are in love you wish it would last forever.  You want it to last forever, but in reality, does it?

You will be glad to know the there has been a study done on this very topic by the lovebirds at Stony Brook University in New York… Guess what they discovered!
Using brain scans, researchers at Stony Brook University discovered a small number of couples respond with as much passion after decades of being together as couples in the first blush of romance and passion.  How is that possible?

Well, researchers looked at the brains of couples who had been married an average of 20 years, couples who believed that they were still as intensely in love as they were when they first fell.  They found that the MRI’s of this small group of 17 couples showed the same activity in regions of the brain as people who had just fallen in love.

Most passionate love stories follow the same trends,  Boy meets girl or vice versa, they fall in passionate love get married and a few years later the passion is gone and the couple do the best they can.

In fact, social psychologist Arthur Aron, one of the researchers says, “It’s always been assumed that passionate love inevitably declines over time. But in survey after survey we always have these people who have been together a long time and say they are intensely in love. It was always chalked up to self-deception or trying to make a good impression,” he said.

The Stony Brook study shows that the idea of self-deception may not be true at all.  In fact Bianca Acevedo,  now a postdoctoral student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx and the chief author of the study, says they found an intriguing element in the longer-term relationships she studied: the brains of those people showed less anxiety and obsessiveness than other couples.

In a 2005 MRI study of 17 people who had recently fallen in love,  Dr. Aron found that regions of the brain associated generally with reward and motivation – the same regions that light up when cocaine is taken – became activated when the subjects were shown pictures of their beloved. The study showed that these regions, are not the same as those associated with sexual arousal.

It is believed that the emotional investment of intense love, passion and interest is highly underestimated in our culture.  Hey!  Love is good for you!  Who would have thunk it?

Among the 17 couples, all of whom said they were still madly in love with their spouse, was Suzanne Bernstein and her husband. Bernstein, 59, a retired teacher, said she learned of Acevedo’s research from a newspaper story and contacted her at Stony Brook. “It dawned on me that the article pertained to myself,” she said.

Bernstein says she and her husand always sit together, hold hands, and always talk to each other.
Acevedo said another study she and Aron conducted found about 35 percent rated their feeling for their partners as very intense.

“We were shocked,” she said. “We hadn’t predicted it would be that high.”

I’m sorry to say, that the study doesn’t go into specifics of what these couples do that makes their love and passion long lasting.  So I think we’ll need a lot more research.  It occurs to me that I’ll have to conduct my own study and see how long lasting love and passion can be with Mr. McCormack!

I’ll let you know what I find out.

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