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Entries in passion (13)


Need An Energy Boost? Try Thinking about Your Partner

We’re all likely familiar with the idea that love is energizing; for example, Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes encapsulated this notion in their 1982 single Up Where We Belong when they sang, “Love lifts us up where we belong....” But does love really physically energize us? It’s definitely possible. Love is associated with positive emotions and simply thinking about love can trigger stress responses (such as increases in cortisol) in the body, responses thought to result from arousal or passion. One intriguing thing that can happen when your body releases cortisol is that you get an accompanying rush of glucose (blood sugar) to give you extra energy. Since thinking about your romantic partner can increase stress hormones like cortisol, it may follow that you can also get a glucose boost from thinking about your partner. 

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Intimacy and Passion Go Together Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

image source: laineyslifelessons.blogspot.comIntimacy and passion are two key components of a high-quality relationship. But to what extent are intimacy and passion intertwined? In a recent study, couples reported on their feelings of intimacy (e.g., how much they self-disclosed and felt close to one another) and passion in their relationships each day for three weeks. They also noted whether they had sex each day and if that sex was satisfying. Increases in intimacy over time were associated with higher passion, as well as more frequent and better sex. 

Rubin, H., & Campbell, L. (2012). Day-to-day changes in intimacy predict heightened relationship passion, sexual occurrence, and sexual satisfaction: A dyadic diary analysis. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3, 224-231.


Hot and Heavy or Slow and Steady: Changing Our Perspective on Love

In a recent New York Times article, psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky challenged ideals about long-term marital bliss and presented evidence that new love has a short shelf life.

As she outlines in the article, in a new relationship, our partner constantly surprises us because so much about him or her is a mystery. This uncertainty is exciting and often accompanied by high levels of desire and passion. Social psychologists refer to early stage of a relationship as passionate love – an intense period of longing and desire for a partner that is common in new relationships but tends to fade after about two years. Over time, our partners become more familiar and predictable, and we shift to a more companionate love stage. Although this stage typically involves a deep connection, it is less intense and often feels more stable and comfortable.

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Mother Knows Best: Fleeting Passion or Romantic Love?

My mom (who I live with) thinks I am falling in love, but I am not so sure. Being the scientist that I am, I constantly deliberate on what exactly love is. Love is such a general term that people use to describe so many feelings—I find the application of the word “love” to particular relationships to be very subjective—for example, although she may think I am in love, I actually might just be infatuated.

Given my mother’s unshakable opinion, I reflected on a recent weekend get-away with The Consultant, a man I have been dating for several months, to think about whether this is love or infatuation.

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Stranded In Barcelona: The Ups and Downs of Passion

A few years ago, I fell madly in love with a guy shortly before he left for a study abroad program in Barcelona. So I did what any rational person in my position would do: I made plans to stay with him for a month, bought a plane ticket, and spent every possible moment chatting with him via Skype until my long-awaited departure. We both grew increasingly excited about my arrival, and when I finally showed up at the front door of his hostel, things were, well, intense (in a can’t-keep-our-hands-to-ourselves kind of way). Things continued this way for a couple of days. But soon we realized that we didn’t have as much to say to each other as we thought we did, and the passion quickly dissipated. Within a week of my arrival, he dumped me, and I found myself stranded in Barcelona. (If that’s not the title of a country song, it should be). 

So, what happened? Where did all of that passion go?

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Is Long-Term Love Possible?

If you want to read about love and marriage you've got to buy two separate books. ~ Alan King

Popular wisdom suggests that intensely passionate love is a rare phenomenon in long-term partnerships. The assumption is that passion peaks in the early stages of a relationship and then fades over time. In a recent study, however, researchers found that intense love for a partner (even after 30 years or more together) may not be as rare as people assume.

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"Passionate Love": Relationship Matters Podcast #9

A new Relationship Matters (the official podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships) has just been released. SofR's own Dr. Bjarne Holmes interviews Dr. Elaine Hatfield about her about her work on passion and sexual desire.


Love Sick?

Several years ago, I read a journal article in which the researchers reported that individuals who had recently fallen in love had higher levels of cortisol than did individuals in long-term relationships or those in no relationship at all. Importantly, high levels of cortisol can eventually weaken the immune system and undermine physical health. Admittedly, this finding baffled me. If chronically high levels of cortisol can be bad for health, then how does that explain the overwhelmingly positive impression people have of being passionately in love? I’ve yet to find a Valentine’s Day card that reads, “I love you so much that you make me susceptible to pneumonia.”

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Rekindle the Romance in Your Relationship with Self-Expansion

If your relationship has become a bit stagnant, it likely lacks sufficient self-expansion.  As we’ve discussed previously, self-expansion refers to people’s inherent desires to improve themselves and relationships serve as a key route to accomplishing this goal. However, many relationships are in a rut or otherwise feel a bit stagnant, stale, or boring. Want to learn about some strategies for improving your relationship that counteract boredom by fostering self-expansion? Read on... 

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Ask Dr. Loving: Are Long-Distance Relationships Rewarding?

"DX" asked the following question: I'm wondering if there are any studies about long distance relationships? There's just so much knowledge I believe to be gained from focusing on such a very difficult but highly rewarding relationship type.

Dear DX-- You are exactly right; there's a lot to be learned by looking at the dynamics of long-distance relationships (or what those of us in the business affectionately refer to as "LDRs"). Fortunately, researchers have not neglected this common relationship context. Please see our previous posts by SofR contributor Dr. Bevan (see here and here).

Additionally, below I've pasted an excerpt from our forthcoming book, where I answer the question: Is distance bad for relationships?

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Ask Dr. Loving: Does Sexual Chemistry Matter?

Nicole asked, "If every other sought after characteristic is present, can a relationship thrive on a long-term basis if there is no sexual chemistry?"

 Dear Nicole;

The makers of Viagra® would have you think such an idea is sheer lunacy!  Ultimately, however, it depends on what you mean by “thrive.”

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Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, and Love at First Sight

Countless books, songs, and movies have rapturously portrayed the idea that you might one day look across the room, lock eyes with a stranger, and know instantly that you two are meant to be together forever. This phenomenon is portrayed in the movie The Adjustment Bureau in which Matt Damon’s character meets Emily Blunt’s character briefly in a bathroom and is thereafter willing to defy scary men in suits who control the world in order to be with her. 

So what does science have to say about love at first sight?

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Marriage Satisfaction: Is It Now the "3-year-glitch"?

Recently, there has been an explosion of news stories about that seem to suggest that in today’s fast-paced world couples are getting sick of each other even faster. Namely the 7-year-itch is now a “3-year-glitch.” Interestingly, the study was funded by Warner Bros. and timed to be released with the movie Hall Pass.

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