As psychologist Barbara Fredrickson explains in her book Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do and Become, love is much more fleeting than people think — but, fortunately, it’s endlessly renewable, too.
This wholesale destruction of the primary relationship myth (because, it turns out, we are all falling in and out of love constantly!) got me thinking about other romantic fallacies that might be doing more harm than good. Here’s what I found out.
Love Myth No. 1: You can’t sustain the “honeymoon” period of relationships.
Oh, but you can. In fact, a study conducted by Dr. Bianca Acevedo in 2010 used fMRI to study relationships that had never lost the initial “spark” that occurs early on and found that the brain scans of long-term couples mimicked those who were newly in love — with just one exception. Gone were the anxiety and obsessive thoughts that show up in brain scans of people who are in relationships in the early stages.
“I used to look at my first marriage as sucking because that’s just the way things were supposed to go,” I confessed to my husband. “When I could have actively worked toward sustaining the spark, like I do with you.”
This means: I dare to have great expectations. The other day I surprised my husband the way he so often does with me by buying him a new yearly calendar and writing an inscription in it, “I can’t wait for our next year together.”
- Mandy Stadtmiller via New York Magazine