Happiness in Long Term Relationships

Everyone wants to find that special someone and live “happily ever after.”

Falling in love is so easy, but staying is love can be tricky.

Many women question:  “Is being passionately, and deeply in love possible for 20, 50 or even 75 years even possible?”

The answer is YES!  If you know how to foster the right brain chemistry!

When most people think about love—they think about the heart.  Rarely, are people aware of the fact that we love with our brains.  I am not reducing love to some sort of process in our brains—it is a beautiful and mysterious thing that happens between two people.  However, educating yourself with a little knowledge in the area of brain science and love can be helpful to enhance the satisfaction you experience in and the longevity of your relationship.

When you first fall in love, there are two chemicals in the brain that are responsible for the euphoria you feel:  Dopamine and oxytocin.

Dopamine is a chemical that is released in the brain in response to pleasurable experiences.  Food, alcohol, sex, coffee, certain drugs, any pleasure or immediate source of gratification causes the release of dopamine.  Dopamine can be really high in the beginning of a new romantic relationship and makes you giddy, and causes the fireworks of love.  Our brains have a voracious appetite for dopamine.  The more the brain gets, the more it wants.  This can create a very intense beginning to a romantic relationship and is often described as “falling hard” for someone.  The problem with dopamine is that the effect doesn’t last, and a feeling of love that is due to dopamine fades away, especially in men.

According to research in the area of brain science, after four years of a dopamine driven love the man develops a tolerance to his partner and is no longer attracted to her.  The only way to renew the sexual interest of a man at this point is to introduce a new female partner.  So, are we all doomed to a passionless relationship after 4 years?  Absolutely not, because dopamine is only half of the picture.  Fortunately, oxytocin can come to the rescue!

Oxytocin is considered “the bonding hormone” in brain science research.  It is a chemical released in the brains of men and women through intimate, loving interactions.  Oxytocin has a calming effect on the brain and decreases the need for more and more dopamine.  Oxytocin causes the warm, relaxed, secure and intimate feeling of love most people desire.  The great thing about oxytocin is that your brain never develops a tolerance to it—so a loving relationship built on oxytocin will last forever!

There are certain lifestyle changes and simple ways of relating that can help couples avoid developing a tolerance to each other from the perspective of dopamine, and increase the amount of oxytocin released in day to day interactions.  This knowledge helps you take exquisite care of the most important part of life—your love.

If you are dating, check out the Smart Dating Guidebook.  Dr. Heap can empower you with knowledge in the areas of the brain science of love and psychology to help you find a lasting, thriving love!


We are currently developing a guidebook on Fostering a Loving Long Term Relationship that will include:

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