Can love last forever? Dr. Helen Fisher and her team of biological anthropologists from Rutgers University set out to answer the question by comparing brain scans of couples married an average of two decades with young, infatuated lovers who had met their partners just seven months earlier. When the mature participants looked at photographs of their partners, their brains showed much the same activity as their younger counterparts. The main difference? Brain regions associated with anxiety were no longer active in the middle-aged couples.
In other words, despite the pessimistic belief that love has a predetermined shelf-life, it seems love can (and does) stand the test of time. That said, while we may be capable of lifelong love, keeping the magic alive takes continual effort! Studies find that those who practice forgiveness and mutual appreciation are more likely to experience lasting relationships. Also, regularly reminding yourself (and your partner) how much you care can fuel long-term success. And of course, open, compassionate communication is essential to conflict resolution.