Previous studies on love had it that it went through certain phases (or critical points), to eventually die down altogether in the first ten years of togetherness. The conclusion of said researches was but one: true love existed only in fictional works and, for many, in their own mind. Yet, a new study done in the US shows that, even over 20 years after first meeting, love not only exists but is also as strong as it was at the onset.
Arthur Aron, psychologist, took 20-year-old couples and pairs of new lovers, and analyzed the way their brains responded to pictures of partners. As it turned out, even after so many years, a picture of the loved one could still generate the same response in a partner as in the case of new lovers. This, in turn, goes to show that love, real love, can (and does) last forever.
“The findings go against the traditional view of romance – that it drops off sharply in the first decade – but we are sure it’s real,” Aron said upon making the results public, adding that in these couples, the behavior of the partners is similar to that of swans, grey foxes and wolves, which mate for life. For this reason, these couples have been named “swans.”
As Aron explained, the study came to be after he met with people who had fallen in love many, many years ago, and who still professed to be very much in love with the other person as they were at the beginning of the relationship. Despite the initial skepticism with which the psychologist regarded them, he got to see with his own eyes that they were not deluding themselves, as he suspected, but speaking the truth. “But this is what the brain scans tell us and people can’t fake that.” Aron added.
Speaking with the media, one “swan” couple from Bristol said that the secret to the 17-year life together is to be found in their always trying to escape routine. “He was crazy and so exciting he whisked me off my feet. That excitement is very much alive. We make sure our lives are always changing.” said Lisa Barber of David, the man whom she still loves today as she did almost two decades ago.