Why love fades after the one or two year mark in every relationship

At the beginning of every relationship, when everything is still novel and we are immersed in the chemical cocktails our brain is preparing for us, we never stop to wander if the state of eternal bliss we find ourselves in is ever going to fade. Unfortunately it does. This fading comes from a phenomenon called Hedonic Adaptation. The term, which was coined by Brickman and Campbell in 1971, compares the pursuit of happiness with a person on a treadmill, who needs to keep working to stay in the same place.

It seems that marrying the woman of our dreams and reaching the top of our profession, for example, is only rewarding for some time. Our expectations, with time, change, multiply and reach greater heights, and so we take the old improved circumstances we currently find ourselves in and which took us a great deal to achieve, for granted.

There are several reasons underlying the evolutionary and psychological aspects to why it is contrary to believe that passionate love will endlessly endure. If actually all our lives obsessed over love, we would not be very productive human beings. We would not pay attention to our offspring and we sure as well not be able to pay attention to our health and lives in general. Quite right, it would not be a great surprise if we´d compare the state of being in love with the state of being addicted. Too much of anything is always bad.

Hence lies the reason why couples when they reach the first or second year mark, they mistake the shift from passionate love to companionate love for having incompatible differences. The fact that someone else can provide the novelty and variety that is required for someone to experience the surge in dopamine in the brain is quite possibly something very difficult to resist. The best way to prevent this monotony in long term relationships is to promote surprise and variety and to specifically seek to let it thrive. 

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Pictures via johnberd and oO-Rein-Oo.
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