Can True Love Last Forever?

Photo by Laura Ockel

We are all searching for that Utopia where true love lasts as long as possible and we are happy ever after. Yes, true love can last an awfully long time, but it is unlikely to do so for two key reasons: our own emotional evolution and a lack of reciprocity.

Every person who meets someone on a date and falls in love has the potential of enjoying everlasting love, if the following are in place:
a. They love unconditionally;
b. They affirm their partner regularly;
c. They demonstrate that love at every opportunity;
d. They have the confidence to know what they both want in the relationship and mutually agree to achieve it.

However, those things seldom happen in most relationships because of our emotional evolution which changes the way we view life. As adults, we evolve as we age, and our needs are constantly changing to match our maturity. By the time we are 40, for example, we are naturally different persons from the ones we were at 25. Our aspirations, needs and desires, and especially how we perceive ourselves, would have changed, some in subtle gradual ways, others more dramatically.

It means that the person we have expressed undying love for at 25, when we are inexperienced and just finding our way, is seldom likely to be the one we find attractive when we have reached a more experienced 45 years, when our expectations are different, our experience has taught us otherwise, and our values and attitude to life have changed remarkably. Partners are likely to have very little in common with us by the time we reach that stage, unless they have evolved in the same direction with us, and we have the same feelings of appreciation and value.

The second major reason for love failing to stay the course is a lack of give and take – reciprocity – in the relationship. Like anything else, love has to be nurtured and sustained. However, within a few years of the partnership, it is likely that the couple will begin to get very comfortable with one another and start taking each other for granted. In short, they stop making the effort to affirm and reinforce each other in loving ways. The love between them either becomes static or fades altogether because of increasing resentment and failed expectations.

In the end it is our basic need for change as we develop that prevents us loving anyone forever. No matter how wonderful the person, after a good while with them, we really just want to try something new – a natural thing to do in order to fulfil our need for ongoing stimulation in order to match our continued emotional growth. Hence why the divorce rate has risen significantly over the past few decades, as the laws have relaxed, and women, in particular, no longer feel compelled to remain in unsatisfying or abusive relationships.

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