What’s the difference between romantic love and real love?
We start with adrenalin-like excitement and then endorphins kick in for comfortable bonding. Scientists discovered we’re attracted to individuals who are like our parents and ourselves, but whose pheromones are least like our own. Different immune systems ensure healthy babies. Love based on deep caring, interest, respect and common values lasts over time, while the half-life of romantic love is often 90 days. We can be infatuated with someone we don’t even like—“bad boys/girls.” It’s easy to confuse love with the intensity of sexual chemistry or of being anxious about whether the other person likes you, when it’s just sexual chemistry or tension. Couples I interviewed for my books on equal relationships talk about working at their relationship. This means hanging in through the difficult times, like illness or having a baby. The work also means regularly scheduling in time for communication and fun to maintain the spark of romantic love. These two areas are problematic for people who write into my “Ask Dr. Gayle” column for the Lotus Guide magazine. Romantic love can grow into deep intimacy and joy if it’s tended like a garden needs attention; otherwise its intensity dissipates into boredom or disappointment. For answers from others see this article: