Bringing Back the Butterflies

   By drodriguez  Feb 14, 2008

After many years of marriage, it is not uncommon to hear one or both partners complain about how monotonous dating and romance have become. Going to the same favorite restaurant, movie theater, and other old haunts can become daunting on anyone’s relationship.

Many studies show that the decline of romantic love is inevitable over a period of time. Feelings of excitement or exhilaration are often replaced by the same predictable feeling toward a spouse.

A recent article in the New York Times offers scientific proof that changing the way you date while in a long term relationship or marriage can up the romance level right away. Dr. Arthur Aron, a psychology professor at the University of New York at Stony Brook conducted a study in which he instructed three groups of middle-aged long-term married couples to do certain tasks.

The first group was told to spend 90 minutes a week doing familiar things like having dinner with old friends and so on. The second group was instructed to do new and exciting things that appealed to both partners and the third couple was told not to do anything at all.

The results showed that the couples who spent time doing new things on date night, like attending concerts, plays or even going skiing, showed a greater marital satisfaction at the end of the study than the regular date night groups.

Dr. Aron and others have conducted numerous experiments all suggesting that by simply doing new things with a loved one, a person can help bring back the chemical surges in the brain similar to those of early courtship. Dr. Aron suggests that the activity can be anything from attending an art class together, going to an amusement park or even just trying out a new restaurant as long as it is something that you and your partner would not normally do.

What do you think of the effects long term marriage can have on romance?

Do you have any personal success stories you can share about you and your partner’s quest to bring back the romance?

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raysbatgirl by raysbatgirl | Tampa, FL
Jun 04, 2009

I just had our 36th wedding anniversary May 28. We stayed home, week day! He bought home Chinese, had a few drinks. But on the weekend we went bike riding ,ordered take out. It was my choice.On Sunday I wanted to walk on the beach. We travel alot and I usually get what I want, no special occation needed. Yes always try to do different things, don,t need lots of money either.

lancelin by lancelin | CHARLOTTE, NC
Aug 31, 2008

I just celebrated my 20th year wedding anniversary on the 18th of this month. Often times during these years, I have had to ask myself that Tyler Perry question, "Why did I get married? And something happens or we do something together that gives the marriage that bond back. If it's a mundane activity with no new skills required nothing happens, but if it's a new activity requiring teamwork on both our parts we regain a greater appreciation for each other.

dizzyspell1313 by dizzyspell1313 | Brookline, MA
Jul 21, 2008

long-term romance? i'd settle for short-term dating. the couples from these long-lasting marriages need to give men (who am i kidding; they're not men, they're BOYS!) in their 20s some lessons on dating and how to treat women they're interested in! here's a hint: taking me to a bar is not a date...

sensesfail53 by sensesfail53 | McLean, VA
Apr 07, 2008

it seems that as generations pass by people get in relationships that dont last nearly as long and the divorce rate has flourished and now its as if love dies out after a while... its sad to see but not to say this is 4 all relationships or marriages mine happens to be going great I could not love my spouse any more than right now . you just have to come to common grounds and learn to appriciate them more

Testing123101 by Testing123101 | Seminole, FL
Apr 01, 2008

Boredom hits relationships hard. People need spontaneity. Compromise.

mydisneydollars by mydisneydollars | South Bend, IN
Mar 21, 2008

We will be married 11 years in December. We are always trying new things. We don't want the spark to go away. Our daughter will be 11 in May and she has only added to that spark. Our lastest adventure is going to college with each other. This I am sure will be a real bonding moment.

bbcoop by bbcoop | GREENFIELD, IN
Mar 18, 2008

Yes, after years of marriage you definitely have to make a choice to keep your marriage great everyday! You also both have to understand that its not that you love each other less but that you are just much moroe familiar with each other that it seems less like "butterflies"! When we start to notice we are getting mundane, we schedule a "date" or go somewhere new. We also like to reminisce about the times when we first met, listen to music we listened to when we first met, look at pics together and it brings back some of the excitement of when we first started dating and helps us appreciate how much we've changed and grown--together!

clto1 by clto1 | louisville, KY
Mar 15, 2008

i think that both parties in a relationship have to want to spice it up, or in some cases even make it work after long periods of time. I have been with my significant other for 8 years, and there seems to be absolutely nothing that can bring us back together. We have been having problems, and there have been accusations of infidelity, but no absolute proof. I want things to change and get better, or be the way they were in the beginning. I knew the very first moment we met that I loved him, but now, I wonder what if we never would have met. I hate to say it, but in a way, I dont believe there is anything that can help my relationship. When 2 people who live in the same house dont even speak to each other for days at atime and sleep as far away from each other as possible ( when he even sleeps in the same bed with me) what do you do? I love him, but I dont feel the same from him in return. Some days, I feel like I am just a livein housekeeper or a nanny. Everything that gets done in the house is done by me, and if it isnt done, it is complained about by him. Some days, I wish he would leave me, because the pain in my heart is so extreme that i would rather just get over that love than to try to love and be loved any more. As the saying goes, it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. Seems like that is true, until you evaluate the amount of pain you feel from that loss.

Twiggs by Twiggs | NEW YORK, NY
Mar 13, 2008

I totally agree with this. My FH and I recently picked up skiing as a new activity and it really rekindled the excitement! It is hard though to keep it interesting, it's work!

laurdriz by laurdriz | Syracuse, NY
Feb 26, 2008

I truly agree, when being in a long term relationship you lear what will make it sizzle or fizzle. Your likes, and dislikes, I think both parties need to bend over for the other at times. Honesty is also so important.

stina72 by stina72 | Vancouver, WA
Feb 22, 2008

I have found a way to make my 17 yr relationship feel brand new again.......Having another baby!!!! It has made us both realize what we loved about each other to begin with.

christinatj by christinatj | ARDEN, NC
Feb 22, 2008

I also agree that you have to do new things to keep the relationship interesting, but with kids and a job it just don't seem like there is any time left for each other.

polinka by polinka | Brooklyn, NY
Feb 22, 2008

If you stop loving ,nothing brings back your feelings.Just shake hands and be friends.

edentongirl by edentongirl | EDENTON, NC
Feb 21, 2008

I cant even imagine why anyone wouldnt want to try new things...recall that incredible feeling you got in the lower part of you abdomen when you even thought of being with your partner? trying new and different things or reinventing the old things that worked before almost gaurantees you to get that feeling back. (if you've lost it) I say try doing the things that take you out of your 'comfort zone' If he isn't one to try dancing a little bit with you to a slow song then you dance for him. It is amazing how the little things can spice up your life. I put a little love note in my sweety's lunch each week and most often it is when he does something I truly enjoyed like going for a walk in the woods or something small like that that means alot to me. I make sure I tell him what it meant to me. On occasion I slip the sexy lil note in his lunch and am quite often surprised by the call I receive at lunch time tee hee hee...go ahead girls..spice up your life a is soooo worth it for both of you!

crystalee1713 by crystalee1713 | HOLLSOPPLE, PA
Feb 19, 2008

Due to my husbands job we only see each other a couple of hours a week. I am just so happy to be with him that I don't find our time together boring. I am sure not seeing eachother a lot is creating its own excitement because there always seems to be a "spark" between us.