Romance is an elusive thing that seems to wear off after a while like a drug. Only a select few manage to capture that feeling of euphoria for any length of time. Are they faking it? What’s their secret?
Scientists have been pondering love for years and have asked the same questions and have found that romance does indeed exist as a powerful emotion that shows up deep inside the brain known as the primal core – the oldest part of the brain. So romance is nothing new, it is not something fabricated by Hallmark or Harlequin, it is indeed real and can be cultivated through mutual commitment.
Biological Anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher recently discussed this phenomenon of romance. She believes that romance exists outside of lust, that romance is the attraction to someone and lust is the drive to procreate. Every living animal exhibits these laws of attraction and anthropologists have studied more than 170 different societies and have found romance to be a driving factor in how we select a mate.
Dr. Fisher works with renowned scientist Dr. Arthur Aron from Stony Brook University and they base their findings on elaborate questionnaires, coupled with brain scan imaging, to determine which areas of the brain are affected by romantic emotions.
In one recent study from 2012 that appeared in the journal of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Dr. Aron proves that romance can stand up to the test of time. After comparing groups of couples who had been together for more than 20 years to couples who had recently fallen in love, Aron saw evidence of romantic attraction in the same deep-seated area of the primal core in both groups. This area of the brain, known as the ventral tegmental area (VTA), is driven by dopamine and is responsible for reward and motivation. Brain scan images revealed this area was activated when individuals were subjected to pictures of their romantic partners.
So, if you’re wondering if you can reignite the spark in your relationship – the answer is: Yes!
If you once had romantic feelings for your partner, but kids, work, life, and the stresses and time demands that go along with these commitments have robbed the romance from your relationship, there is hope.