All this Fifty Shades of frenzy going on lately got me thinking about what happens in real life, when it comes to sex, romance and being in Love…
Being a very romantic persona by nature, the more I grow up the cheesier I get… My cynicism seems to fade away over the years and my need for Happily Ever Afters grows bigger and bigger – Even though I’m pretty sure it was supposed to happen the other way round…
I don’t know whether it is those countless Hollywood chick flicks I’ve seen over the years (which, by the way, never show you what happens after the “we are so much in love – let’s get married part ”)… My need to go against my own upbringing – which led me to believe that usually, great passions end up in even greater divorces… Or my willingness to hold on to this orgasmic and very addictive feeling of being in love – for as long as possible.
There are those who believe that we shouldn’t marry our greatest passions. Because we end up loosing control and logic. It’s too mind-blowing for marriage material. I understand, though I don’t share this opinion. I’d like to believe that the most successful recipe for a really good marriage would be great connection and love.
On the other hand, there are those who would tell you that even the greatest loves don’t stand the test of time. Passion and great sex wither throughout the years (can’t say I haven’t seen it happening countless times). It seems only natural, as routine takes over, enthusiasm vanishes and, in general, “Life” happens along the way.
Yet, everyone agrees that sometimes, IF you are really lucky and IF mutual admiration and respect exist, being in love gives its place to another kind of love: the I’m so happy to get to grow and evolve with You by my side, kind of Love.
Obviously, no such thing as the perfect relationship or marriage exists, but I do wonder – Is it possible to remain In Love in a Marriage? And if so, how many years can it last?
“Is the forever part a utopia?”
I decided to get the opinion of an expert on this one. Psychologist MSc. Maria Gogorosi, whose judgment I trust very much – After all, truth be told she has seen countless of couples kiss and make up or break up over the years.
Q & A
Have you ever seen a couple remain in Love in a marriage? How rare is it?
It is really rare! Throughout my practice, I have only seen one couple, who had been together since high school – and friends of mine, not clients. I have seen a lot of couples, who love each other and are together, but not in the crazy In Love sense. You cannot remain in love forever; in time, it changes to love.
“Love is a stronger emotion – being in love is more of a superficial, very powerful, but it doesn’t last for long.“
What are the key ingredients to sustain Passion and Love in a marriage?
Trust is one of the basic ones – sense of Humor – and Respect. Accepting the other person’s differences, as they add spice to a relationship. Each person should also be free to have his / her own space. Also, having mutual interests with your partner – doing things together.
How long can a spicy sex life last in a marriage?
There is no exact time limit, it differs for each couple. Usually, it fades away after a few years. Sex is mostly a mental procedure that needs, though, to be worked upon. Being able to talk about it is very important – people usually clam up, as it is still reagrded a taboo. The truth is that the majority of men and women are very sensitive whne it comes to sex or talking about it. And even if they do, they might feel pressured by their partner, inferior, angry, or humiliated. If we don’t share what our needs are and what we like, then won’t able to fix things. Another tip: there is a time and place for everything! If you do talk about sex, DON’T do it while your are in bed with your partner at 2:00 am in the morning…! Chances are you will have trouble in the bedroom after that… Try to find a neutral moment, when you both feel at ease, preferably out of the house. Over dinner with a glass of wine for example, be playful and not too serious about it.
Do you believe we have unhealthy expectations and sex-expectations of love and passion in relationships due to Hollywood love stories & Fifty shades of Grey readings?
Definitely! A lot of damage has been done because the expectations from these movies and books are unrealistic! Passion and being fully in love, doing things for the other person, being wild and crazy, last a couple of years maximum. It has been researched that, even chemically, the brain cannot handle all this intensity for a long period of time! So, if you are comparing your relationship to a movie or a fictional reading – then, you are in trouble!
Hollywood sells hope and dreams and that is why these films are so successful. “Romance is in the eye of the beholder”; it means different things to different people. What might be romantic for one person, might not be for another.
“Sometimes, we have very unrealistic romantic expectations due to what we perceive in films or books as being romantic.”
Statistically, through the years, we lose our romantic gestures and this happens because we take things for granted much more. But still, our partner might do romantic things that we don’t recognize as such, just because they are not the “romantic” gestures that we see in movies.
For example, he might not bring us flowers every week as he used to, but he might take over the cooking or washing up, because he knows we are tired. The romantic gesture might not be the same, but it is still there – in a different form.
“Fifty Shades of Grey is an overrated book! It sells the notion that a woman can change a powerful man and it also alludes to sexual fantasies that are still considered to be a taboo.”
Through books or films, we have the opportunity to live a fantasy of ours, which we wouldn’t normally dare do in real life. People like reading about these fantasies, but usually they are not able to express them. At the end of the day, it is not the same thing to read about it, as to ask your partner…. to tie you up and spank you…! Again, for the realizations of sexual fantasies, communication is crucial. I have seen couples, who have had common fantasies, but they wouldn’t dare share them. Because of that, both parties ended up feeling dissatisfied and frustrated.
What happens when kids arrive?
That’s when things get really tricky and difficult! You have to be able to communicate with your partner. And the most important thing is to do things together as couple. Women turn their attention to their child and men start feeling lonely and might turn to other flings to fill in the gap… The very first year of the baby’s arrival is a very crucial time, in which the couple has to try to re-evaluate their ways of finding a balance.
Is there a restart button we can press in order to safeguard enthusiasm in a relationship or marriage? Have you ever seen it happening?
There is no restart button per se, but there are things that couples can do together as long as both parties are willing. Yet, A we cannot change things alone, no matter how much we want it.
By default, the term “couple” means two. If the parties involved reach a point, where they feel they need to re-evaluate some behaviors and sentiments in their relationship, then they usually need some guidance, as they lack some pointers to get through this.
No case is the same, some couples need a lot of help, others need less. In general, though, there is no magic button; it’s a process that needs both partners to commit and work on their issues.
What happens when we grow,evolve and our tastes change? Are we able to develop our relationship further, as well and how?
First of all, we have to be open with ourselves and realize what we want in different stages of our life. Then, we have to communicate this to our partner and see whether it is plausible that certain changes come along.
Do you think the concept of a soul-mate exists? And if so, is there only one soul-mate for every person?
Personally, I like the idea of a soul-mate. Practically, I don’t believe there is only one soul-mate for everyone…
“There are some people with whom we have ideas, beliefs and backgrounds in common and, unconsciously we are attracted to them.”
There is a certain pull in these cases, because we feel familiar and comfortable. This is what we call and perceive as a soul-mate.
If everyone is looking for Love, why is it so hard to find?
This feeling we call “Love” has many different shapes and forms and, sometimes, because of all the things we hear and see, our expectations are so high, that we are not willing to compromise and accept something that is less than perfect!
Perfection, though DOESN’T exist. Of course, being in love is fantastic, it is great …
“But being Loved and Loving someone is the closest to perfection that I think we, as humans, can get.”
Maria Gogorosi B.A. MSc.
Psychotherapeutic Institute of Family Relations