Popular wisdom would have it that romance fades over time but a fascinating research into passionate love suggests that the honeymoon does not have to be over just because you have been together for years.
The researchers studied the reaction of the brain when ten women and seven men, who said they were still intensely in love with their spouses after an average 21 years of marriage, were shown photos of their partners. The functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) brain scans were similar to scans of those who had just fallen in love.
The study, which was presented at the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC, concluded that long-term relationships can be just as passionate and romantic as new love.
'We're confident it is real,' said psychologist Arthur Aron of the State University of New York-Stony Brook, one of the researchers involved in the study.
'That's what the brain scans are telling us. People can't fake that.'
'A lot of other research always suggested romantic love is over by 12 to 15 months. This suggests that may not have to be the case,' Richmond Thompson, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Bowdoin College, was quoted as saying by the USA Today newspaper.
'If you ask people around the world whether romantic love can last, they'll roll their eyes and say 'probably not', and most textbooks say that too. We're proving them wrong,' said anthropologist Helen Fisher of Rutgers University, a co-author.
Findings show long-term relationships don't have the obsession and anxiety of new love; instead, they show increased calm and attachment, Fisher stressed.
Couples view partners as central to their lives; they continue to want connection and engagement and maintain a sexual liveliness, the report in the US daily said.