I appeared on a show on Channel 3 (NBC affiliate) this week called Good Company and talked about a study that was recently published in the Journal of Psychology. The research revealed that there are basically two stages of love: obsessive love and romantic love.
Obsessive love is all-consuming. It’s that beginning stage where you can’t think of anything else but the other person. Obtaining concentration to do simple tasks, such as paying bills or grocery shopping becomes difficult because you keep fantasizing about the new love in your life. Although this stage is fun, it is relatively short-lived.
The obsessive stage gradually leads into the romantic stage. The romantic stage is still passionate, but the overriding characteristic of this stage is a feeling that you deeply matter to the other person. What can interrupt the romantic stage is when you and your mate begin to get so distracted by the logistics of living that you forget to show each other that you matter to one another. The energy you used to expend to show physical affection to your mate is suddenly replaced by energy spent on pressures from work. The time you used to spend doing fun activities with your partner is now spent catching up on housework or other chores.
The key to preventing romantic love from dwindling is to be aware of how you choose to show love to your mate on a daily basis. In other words, pay attention! As someone wise once said, “Marriage or a committed relationship is an investment that always pays dividends, but only if you pay interest.”