The science on sexual attraction claims that evolution prepares us to stay together just long enough to raise children. One study across 58 societies demonstrated a dual reproductive system going from pair bonding to straying at about the four-year mark in a relationship. The study conclusion: we are fundamentally built to stray. Does this mean that our exhilarating experience of early love is destined to be undermined by our inherent biology? Will we always fail at long-term love?
Science claims that the chemistry of passion, lust, and love bind us together for a limited period of time. Haven't most of us figured that out at a personal level? My observation is we already know we need to build for the future before the reality storm hits. Yet many of us neglect our marriages and relationships anyway. Over focus on careers or children, and overindulging in our selfish habits through individual use of time frequently lead to rampant neglect of our partners. Science help us?
The science here reminds me of the Three Little Pigs story. Early love and lust are like building a grass hut on a romantic island. Eventually, the wolf-like hurricanes of time and routine daily living blow it to smithereens. And even if we upgrade to sticks, we still gotta invest in mortar and bricks. What are the bricks and mortar of satisfying long-term pair bonding? How do we build a cooperative and monogamous alliance that lasts a lifetime?
Science of Sex Appeal suggests that our spirituality, life memories, and our children can become the building bricks for lifetime commitment. (I add that friendly roommate-like compatibility and economic convenience or necessity are common factors that prevent break-ups, while not necessarily firming up commitment.) But those commitments can remain shaky or shallow alliances without the intense love mortar. In this documentary, it is proposed that if you want to love longer than 10 years, you must build a mental chemistry of love.
There is scientific proof that we can remain in love with sustained intense romantic love that is stronger, deeper, and more complex than the explosion of early love. Studies of the MRI activity of a male subject in an intense, 24-year marital relationship showed that the ventral tegmental area of his brain still lights up. This brain region is active in early love. How do we utilize our brains to keep that region blazing with light?