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Can a Relationship Work If You Are Not in Love?

Cindy has been a writer for a number of years. She enjoys sharing her life experiences and what they have taught her.

Can a relationship work without you being in love?

Can a relationship work without you being in love?

We are programmed from an early age to believe in a 'happily ever after' plan for our future lives. The fairy tales we are read as children involve idealistic views of life, where the Prince or Princess of our dreams will become our lifelong partner if we try hard enough to find them. The reality is frequently very different, and a vast amount of us end up 'settling' for a partner in life who is not perfect, but is good enough and who we love in a way that is not lifted straight from a fairy tale.

Can a Relationship Work If the Couple Is Not "In Love" or If Only One Person Is?

I am guessing that most people will immediately clamber on to their soap box and start claiming that there is no future for a relationship where the two people are not in love, and that this is obviously a very unhealthy arrangement.

But stop, wait a minute and think this through properly.

There are situations where this kind of relationship can work very well. There is a difference between being 'in love' with someone and simply loving them, and sometimes love is enough even without the absolute passion of being in love with the person you share your life with.

Here, we will explore the types of relationships where being able to say we are committed the person we are with is enough, and we don't need to be in love (in the old fashioned sense) in order to see a long and healthy future for the relationship.

Arranged Marriages, For Example

Think about marriages of convenience or arranged marriages. In the former case, the people are often already good friends and in the latter, if they don't fall in love with each other over time, they frequently end up loving each other in a way that is unique to the cultures where such marriages are commonplace.

Relationships Where Romantic Love Doesn't Matter

There are various scenarios where a marriage or relationship can work without the two halves of the couple being in love with each other.

For example: Imagine for instance a scenario where a mature man has no real interest in a sex life any more, or maybe he has a problem with impotence. He is an older gentleman who wants an attractive woman on his arm when he attends various functions, and is essentially looking for a companion as opposed to a lover.

Then bring into the equation an attractive woman who has medical problems that have effected her libido and ability to work.

She is a warm and genuine person who needs security, and he is a lonely man who needs companionship. If these two people hit it off and they grow to love each other as close friends, why would them having a successful relationship be so unlikely? They might marry and live an ideal life as both of them are getting what they need from the relationship in a symbiotic way.

Another example: How about a situation where a person is terminally ill. For them, it might not matter whether their partner is in love with them or not, so long as they care enough to not let them die alone. If their partner cares for them for whatever time they have left, then surely this is a good relationship. Probably both of them will accept the fact the marriage or relationship is not based on being 'in love,' but each of them has love for the other in their own way, and this is why they get together and stay together until the end.

I recently read the a case of a married woman was diagnosed as terminally ill. Her dying request to her sister was that after she died, her sister would marry her husband. After she passed, the sister honored the dying wish and married her sister's surviving husband. I am sure they are not 'in love' with each other, but I am also certain they must have love for each other to be able to do this.

Can Friendship Be Enough to Hold a Relationship Together?

What about a situation where a couple is best friends with another, but not necessarily "in love"? Neither have been lucky in love but as friends, they love each other. In many ways they are soul mates. Would it really be so bad if they married or become a long term couple? These two people have loads in common, they know each other inside out, and even if they aren't capable of being passionately in love with each other, they can still love each other to a degree they would each willingly sacrifice their own life to save the other.

Measuring Up to "Our First True Love"

Many of us have a person whom we will always remember as "our first true love." Often, this relationship does not work out for various different reasons, one of which is probably our lack of maturity at the time we meet (usually in our teens or early twenties). We may go on to have other relationships, but deep down we know they will never be that first true love. So what do we do?

Well generally, we settle for someone whom we are either in love with (but not to the same degree at that first love) or someone for whom we care deeply (but are not 'in love' with). Frequently, these relationships will last for many years and work well.

When Love Isn't Shared

There are cases where one partner is 'in love' with the other, but the other person only 'loves' them back. In other words, one is experiencing intense feelings of passion, but the other feels only warmth and comfort. This relationship isn't a bad one just because there are different levels of emotions involved.

The latter partner might desperately want to be 'in love' with their partner, but simply doesn't feel that way. This is not to say they would ever willingly hurt the other person, and it does not mean they would ever want to be with anyone else. It only means that they cannot quite achieve that depth of feeling for the partner they are with, possibly as a result of previous relationships where they have been hurt very badly and they have now put emotional barriers up to protect themselves against further hurt.

Marriages of Convenience

For citizenship. There are marriages that are convenient because they allow people from other countries to live in countries they would otherwise not be able to (think green card). Whilst these marriages are sometimes completely fake, there are times when the couple do develop a love for each other as time passes. There are even occasions when the love was already there and this is why one partner agreed to help the other out by marrying them so they could remain in the country of their choice.

For company. I have heard of many cases where elderly people have been left alone after their spouses die and decide to marry another elderly person in the same situation. This second marriage is for companionship. In some cases, they were well past the stage of life where sex was important, anyway. Why would they want to spend the rest of their own remaining months or years alone when they could have a friend whom they love as their spouse for the rest of their days, someone they could go on holiday, share a joke, cuddle, and chat with? They don't have to be passionately in love with each other. . . all they need is compatibility.

Love Without Love

Certain relationships can survive and be healthy even if the couple are not in love with each other. Sometimes, simply enjoying each other is enough, and the all the consuming passion of being madly in love is not essential. It is often said your husband or wife should also be your best friend, but in some cases they actually are, and that is all they will ever be. . . how can we say this is a bad thing and that it cannot work?

What Is Love, Anyway?

How People Fall In and Out of Love. With modern analytical tools at their disposal, science has set its sights on how people fall into and out of love. Find out what love is and how people fall in love, stay in love, and in some cases fall out of love.

Can a Relationship Work With Someone Who's Never Been In Love? When you are dating someone who has never been in love before, it can severely challenge and alter the relationship.

Why You Should Choose Someone Who Loves You More. "Would you choose someone who loves you or someone you love?" My friend asked me this question when I was still in high school. A decade after, I'm still thinking about this question.

7 Ways to Cope When He Can't Say 'I Love You!' How do you stay in a relationship with someone who has never said "I love you?"


Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on June 09, 2018:

Nicely summed up realtalk247 :)

realtalk247 on June 09, 2018:

It depends on your outlook. If you are more driven by logic and purpose, I think a marriage can survive without the romance option. Arranged marriages took place that were disasters and others survived because based on mutual condition/situation both parties were able to respect and find interest in the person they were partnered with because they valued marriage/family status.

The Mirror Has Two Faces captured how relationship is more than just equation.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 23, 2017:

Very good points Paz.

Paz Andrade from Spain on August 23, 2017:

people forced to live with one another doesnt automatically mean they cant fall in love, the relationship could bloom or wither depending on what happens

loving someone just means focusing on that person we love, and that would feel like forcing our feelings, unlike letting the events make you two fall in love with another

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 01, 2017:

So sad to hear your dilemma Jeannie. It may well be a case of you having to distance yourself from this man in order to give him a chance to realise he misses you and that maybe looking for all the teenage type butterflies in the stomach type of relationship isn't the right way to go. Good luck

Jeannie Busby on February 01, 2017:

I met a lovely man and we were together for 7 months....we have shared the best spiritual sex we have ever had in our lives......we enjoy many many things together.....have so many things in common .....I love him as a person but both have said we are not IN LOVE with each other....I am 66 and he is 58......he now wants his freedom to find somebody he is in love with.....he has been so so attentive....lots of loving emails hugs kisses holidays all the beautiful things together.......I am really at a loss as to what to do I want to be within in every respect ....any advice please.....thank you

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on May 01, 2015:

Thank you Sarah. I am really pleased you enjoyed this article and totally agree with the points you make in your comment.

Sarah B from Klamath Falls on April 30, 2015:

This is a great point and a well-written article! I have been thinking about just this - and that, for couples who are parents of children, sometimes the loving-each-other but not in-love type of relationship works out best because there isn't that hot and cold passion--or hot and hot passion--and the couple can work as a team and focus on being great parents. I think a lot of divorces stem from passionate relationships that end equally passionately.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 04, 2014:

Thanks Anamika S, a very good example :)

Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on February 04, 2014:

Yes, relationships can work without being in love. India is known for the Arranged Marriage system where the couples marry mostly without being in love. And after spending days, months or years together... They may or may not fall in love with each other. This marriage of convinience arranged by Parents and elders in the family is known to have a high success rate.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 04, 2014:

Interesting point, but I would say to care for someone is to love them on some level, so it falls under the same category as I described here.

Yeapyeah on February 04, 2014:

What if you are neither "in love" or "love" your spouse? What if you only "care" for that person? Is that the same as loving that person?

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 31, 2014:

Thanks Angel, glad you agree with the point of view I expressed here.

Angel on January 31, 2014:

I loved this page and I agree 100% with you. Congratulations!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on October 19, 2013:

Hi LongTimeMother, I am really happy that you managed to find such true love. If only everyone else did, but many people don't, and if they held out for 'true' love for their entire lives they might well die old, lonely and struggling to cope financially. You were one of the lucky ones you found someone who loved you as much as you loved them.

LongTimeMother from Australia on October 19, 2013:

You raise some very valid points, mistyhorizon2003. I am, however, very lucky that my husband and I are still as much in love as we were the day we married about 20 years ago. We are delighted to spend time together and absolutely hate it when we are apart.

I do understand what you are saying, but I look back at the years I spent with my ex and wonder why I settled for less than brilliant for so long.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on October 18, 2013:

Thank you for your thoughts and comment Jo. I really hope you find happiness, be it with this man or another man. I have been in relationships with age gaps, and in fact my parents had one. I can honestly say I have seen those relationships both work and fail (maybe it depends on how old you both are at the time of the relationship). I hope in your case this is either just a 'blip' in the relationship, or you manage to part amicably and you get a chance to be happy with a partner better suited to you.

Jo_Goldsmith11 on October 18, 2013:

I once met a guy who took my breath away at how warm and attentive he was to my feelings. His eyes would light up when he would see me. We enjoyed hanging out and talking. We snuggled and it felt so comfortable and wonderful.

Then the problems and storms began to come on a frequent basis. The times we shared together ended up more times apart. I would withdraw into my shell and close him out of my space. The breakdown of communication started to snowball and when there was any communication. It was a matter of feeling like his achievements overshadowed mine to the point he seemed to be arrogant to me. Our love life started to take a nose dive and I wonder if it is because of the age of years that separate our individual life experiences. I pray that the love we once had may return. Right now I have those emotional barriers up. I feel numb inside and I am unsure how I should approach our future. Love your insights on this subject.

Shared and Up +++ :-) Take care

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 17, 2012:

Well thought out comment dashingscorpio. Perhaps people still believe the 'ideal' is the whole passionately in love thing, therefore they want that for their kids, forgetting that in reality this is not all that likely and that perhaps the long term contentment comes from different stimuli like security, mutual respect etc. Who knows for sure, but if you recognise that the 'in love' feeling is a chemical reaction in the body, it then becomes more acceptable to realise that other things can be more significant over many years. A fascinating subject all round whatever anyone's opinion.

dashingscorpio from Chicago on July 17, 2012:

I believe there are trade offs in every relationship. No one gets everything they want. The word "work" when applied to relationships/marriages is often defined as (staying together). However this does not mean one or both people are "happy". They may be "comfortable" or "content" with their decision to remain together. Either they entered into the relationship knowing how things would be or they reached a point where they "accepted" things as they are. Very much like having a (dead-end) job for 30-40 years. It's a steady paycheck and you know the ins and outs of the job. Odds are a person in this situation would wish for more for their own children though. This makes you wonder if it's so great why would you want something different for your children. hmmm. Honestly I believe if people can stay in abusive relationships for life then it's possible to stay in a romantically dull relationship as well.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 15, 2012:

Well said Saina0721, respect and a passion for each other is a very important part of a successful relationship.

Saina0721 from Vienna, Virginia on July 15, 2012:

I will have to said that respect and passion can hold a coupe together, for a long time...my parent use to tell me that they didn't love each other, but they respect and have passion for each other. 30 year later they still together and closer than ever. Great peace... i love it

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 12, 2012:

Thanks sharonchristy, glad you enjoyed this :)

Chris from India on July 12, 2012:

Very interesting! :) Voted up and awesome!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 27, 2012:

Previous comment deleted as it is yet more SPAM about a certain Dr's spells. 'Marie' or whatever your real name is, please stop spamming my articles with your very unsubtle adverts for 'powerful spells'. I know your IP address and for anyone else on the planet who might want to watch out for it or report it, it is:

voodoo123 from Provo, Utah,United States on January 22, 2012:

yes you are wright mistyhorizon2003 loves make to each other and both are happy and secured life.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 21, 2012:

I agree again, and this is very possible even under the circumstances I am describing, you can love and not be 'in love' and you can still respect each other. You can in this way make each other very happy and secure, working as team who have genuine feelings for each other without all that teenage 'butterflies in stomach' stuff.

voodoo123 from Provo, Utah,United States on January 20, 2012:

Nice tips but it helps most when both respect and love each other. The husband should make his wife equally happy too!!! Marriage takes two to make it work

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 19, 2012:

Thanks for the extra feedback voodoo123, I am one of those people I guess who just 'says what I see'. I agree with your comments on people claiming to love each other that don't, or saying they hate each other when they love each other, but I can't quite see a relationship being an 'ideal one' if it requires 'therapy for a long, long time', (actually this makes it far from ideal to me). In my experience however, frequently the most successful relationships and secure ones, are based on trust and mutual compatibility as opposed to 'being heart poundingly in love'. I think part of the problem is that 'heart pounding feeling is the dopamine in the brain, and after a year or so this wears off. At this point one partner or the other, (missing their 'fix'), goes looking for it elsewhere. The time scales vary couple to couple, but this is frequently what happens sadly.

Our own bodies and the chemicals within them con us into the feeling of being 'madly in love' in order to ensure the future of the human race. After a while the brain decides we no longer need the chemicals as we are now, 'an established couple', and then the true test of if we are really 'in love' begins! This is when we start to find other people attractive, and our partner's bad habits get on our nerves....

voodoo123 from Provo, Utah,United States on January 19, 2012:

Ideal relationships are possible if both people have been in therapy for a long,long time.Everyone is defensive.This sounds like something Oprah would say in her magazines.No one is or can be honest.Many people say they love each other but don't.Many people say they hate each other but clearly they love? each other.That's my point mistyhorizon2003 and many thanks for this nice hub

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 18, 2012:

Hi Voodoo123, I am not sure of your point here! If you read this article you can see that frequently relationships not fueled purely on 'dopamine' and 'butterflies in the stomach' are ultimately the strongest and happiest relationships of all! The one chance we may or may not get at life, could well be the reason to go for the kind of relationships I describe in this article, as opposed to the 'idealistic' ones so many believe are there to find, (and expect the fairy tale ending which is so rare). Trust me, I have opted for the so called 'ideal' on at least four occasions, and none of them worked out for various reasons, however, the marriage I am in now is happy and secure, and I love my partner dearly. I would not consider anyone else as he gives me all that I missed out on in the emotionally 'ideal' relationships. I guess you have to get to a 'certain age' to see the bigger picture quite often. Life has given me the experience I needed to realise that what we perceive as 'ideal' is often us simply letting our 'hearts rule our heads!'

voodoo123 from Provo, Utah,United States on January 18, 2012:

Hi mistyhorizon2003 I think you need to consider yourself for once and realise that you may only get one chance at life then you see what's changes in your life.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 17, 2012:

Hi again Kelly, glad you checked in again here. Please do read the articles I link to in my above comment, they really are eye openers, and can also show you that there are ways out to happiness again. I think you need to consider yourself for once, and realise that you may only get one chance at life (for all we know), and you owe it to yourself to be happy and fulfilled, not oppressed, even if some of the time the relationship feels 'good'. Can you really be sure it is 'good' at these times, and not just a relief from the 'silent controlling emotional abuse' periods?

I really hope you can find a way out of this and to a relationship where you can relax and feel happy and contented.

kellys19 on January 17, 2012:

Misty thank you, what i am going through is more silent controlling emotional abuse in doses. We have a good life except for this, but unfortunatelly starts to affect every aspect that used to worked somehow. My children are all teenagers and one adult and they are very upset about this, even my sister-in-law suggested divorce. I have to consider many options before making final decision.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 16, 2012:

Hi Kelly, there is more a problem with the relationship you are in than anything else, so it is no wonder you are looking outside of it for solutions. I hope you could benefit from reading a few of my other articles (I have been in relationships like your current marriage). The links are below, and I hope they will not only illustrate why what you are living with is wrong, but also help to illustrate why even though you believe you have to be 'in love' for a relationship to work, this is not the case, and you only feel like this because the relationship you are in is so flawed. What I described in this article was not 'surviving in polluted relationships without love', it was 'having successful relationships without being in love'. There is a huge difference. The links you might find helpful are:





kellys19 on January 16, 2012:

I have been married for 25 years. Friendship and life circumstances brought my husband to me. I love him as a friend but married him and i have not been in love with him. I have never felt passion for and from him ( he says that i am love of his life), although our intimate life was good (we have 3 kids). I am very sexual and my husband does not understand this. The irony is he is a psychologist specializing in women psychology. our relationship is envy of our friends, but I have never been happy. I am considered very attractive and my husband is jealous. He uses emotional tactics to control. When we are in public and a guy even looks at me it is my fault and he will be angry at me for that. Because of thAT we do not socialize, he separates me and our children from social life. If i have a business meeting he will not go but suggest that our son go with me. Two years ago I changed workplace and i met a guy 6 years younger than me. we fall in love to the point that we could light up the city. He tried but i never let him know how madly in love i was. I have never cheated and i never wanted to be the other woman (he is also married with kids). I was not looking for this it just happened. We had 1.5 year emotional, platonic relationship and non of us had the guts to verbalize to each other, but we both want to be together in different circumstances. he change workplace but it does not work, he still wants to know indirectly how i am. At first i thought it was lust but now i know i do love him and i am in love with him. I have never felt dis way, he is my soul mate and i can't be with him. I am in love for the first time at 46, i am connected to another human being (for 25 years my husband was trying to convince me that he cannot connect to me because of me, when in reality he was not connecting). I am depressed, i am lost, frustrated. At work I am called "power house" and nobody knows how this love affects me, but when I am home i am falling apart. My husband is very nonchalant, not affectionate ( i have no emotional support from him). he is happy when other people are miserable. I tried to give him hints, but he does not care. I look younger than my age and still have a life to live. I can solve many thing, but this. I have an advise to any man and woman: loveless relationship do not work, as spiecies we need love , affection and connection when we are with another being. I am very lonely and sensitive now. For 25 years i have been married single woman. i have no idea how to find a solution to this.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 13, 2012:

Thanks 100Ktranier, you make some very good points :)

100ktrainer from Michigan on January 12, 2012:

I believe couples can survive that only love each other and not be "in love". If they choose to be in a relationship like this, then they'll have to learn how to work together especially when difficulties arise.

Communication will be the biggest factor here. Knowing upfront how you are going to "deal" with one another is mandatory. It may also be helpful to know the boundaries of this kind of relationship so there is no confusion about what the other wants and expects.. this too falls under communication.

Interesting Hub!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 06, 2012:

Glad to be of help drjasonhill01, I am really pleased this has 'given you hope' :)

Good Luck

drjasonhill01 from Pisgah, Al on January 05, 2012:

Truly a gift, something worth thinking about. This gives me hope in more ways than you can possibly know.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 02, 2012:

Thanks voodoo123, delighted you liked this :)

voodoo123 from Provo, Utah,United States on January 02, 2012:

great post loved it who lucky in love, but as friends they love each other and in many ways they are soul mates.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 29, 2011:

Thanks sheraz afridi, I am pleased this was of use to you :)

sheraz afridi on December 28, 2011:

Really great Arcticle, i learn much more from this Arcticle.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 03, 2011:

I am so pleased for you Leaderofmany. You are one of the lucky few. Long may those butterflies last :)

Leaderofmany from Back Home in Indiana on December 03, 2011:

I have loved and now I am in love. I spent 10 years with a person that I only loved, most likely because he was the father of my children. Now the last 13 years I have been with the person I am in love with. I still have the stars in my eyes and the butterflies my stomach when he arrives home. It is the most wonderful feeling. Nice hub, makes a lot of sense.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 02, 2011:

Another very insightful comment L.R. I much appreciate the input. I loved the point you made about 'buyer's remorse', so very true. Honestly I think you should write a hub on the dopamine topic as you express the effects of it so eloquently that anyone would sit up and take notice.

Catch up soon


Lone Ranger on December 02, 2011:

Perhaps I should also mention that many people, especially women, tend to be "in love" with "being in love", and the object of their temporary obsession acts as the catalyst responsible for releasing the love drug into their blood stream which makes them feel so AMAZING.

In this regard, it is not the object of temporary obsession that this individual so craves, rather, it's the feeling they get from the chemical release they associate with their new flame.

The recipient of Dopamine does not think of it in those terms, but only knows that they love to be "in love" because it feels so good, but they assume the other party is responsible for their feelings, when, in fact, the other party may have little or nothing to do with it at all.

This is why one should allow a sufficient amount of time to pass before jumping in the sack with someone or rushing to the altar, because many people end up with "buyer's remorse" after the love drug fades-off into the sunset.

In a sense, these individuals have become addicted to the effects of Dopamine and could thusly be considered Dopamine "junkies". The down-side here is that the effects of Dopamine wears off through the passage of time, but the Dopamine junky still craves another "fix". So, if their current flame can no longer provide the "high" they are looking for, they will often seek a new "dealer" that can get them where they want to go.

I believe, Cindy, these particular individuals are the ones who tend to subscribe to the theory that a relationship just cannot work out if the couple, or one of the partners, is not "in love" with the other. And, this really is sad because these individuals are not likely to stay in a relationship long enough to appreciate and experience the benefits and virtues of mature love.

In America every 3 out of 5 marriges end in divorce and women file for divorce 75-91% of the time (depending on which studies you subcribe to). Moreover, only 10% of married couples claim to be "happily" married after 10 years.

Now, in America domestic and emotional abuse can only account for 11% of these divorces, so it is left to speculation what is responsible for the major majority of failed marriages.

I tend to think that the concept of romance, perpetual passion, and the fairy-tale courtship is found in many of the books mothers and fathers read to their little "princess" during her informative years. For many females, these fairy-tale relationships become the gold-standard and thus becomes what every little girl hopes for and dreams about...and expects to get!

It has been said that the two greatest elements that lead to unhappiness in life are unrealized and unrealistic expectations. At the end of the day, I think it is likely that these two elements are the main culprits behind most of the divorces in this country and are responsible for much of the dissatisfaction in one's life.

Better go for now, but will check back soon. Best wishes. - L.R.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 02, 2011:

Thank you L. R. Well I am glad we worked through our 'conflict' the other day and I really appreciate the comments you have left since ;) I hope you begin writing here soon as I am positive you have plenty to offer as a writer and as a person.

The affection is mutual, I am looking forward to reading your work when you do begin writing here :)

Take Care


Lone Ranger on December 02, 2011:

Thank you for the kind words, Cindy, and I am glad that you found my post useful.

I wanted to give you something good after putting you through the proverbial ringer the other day. So, you may say that the above post is symbolic of a fragrant bouquet of flowers with "I'm sorry, Cindy, please forgive me" written on the card. :0)

I truly am sorry about the other day...it didn't go as planned, but I think having worked through that misunderstanding we are stronger as a result. I can already tell you that the experience has left me with a better understanding of who you are and an affection for you as a person. Thanks again and best wishes. - L.R.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 02, 2011:

Hi L. R. What an excellent and informative comment. I am very glad you went into such detail about Dopamine and its effects, not least because on at least one of my other Hubs I get people asking me how to keep their relationship and sex life 'alive' without the romance and love fading. I always try to explain that they can't expect it to stay exactly as it is at the start of a new relationship because this so rarely happens, if ever. I wish it had occurred to me to explain about the Dopamine too, as I did know about it but not in such detail as you have provided here. I am sure I will be referring back to, and quoting from your comment in the future.

Thanks again.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 02, 2011:

Hi Ruchi, thanks for commenting, I really appreciate it :)

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 02, 2011:

Hi Bob, I am so sorry you no longer have 'your Helen'. As you know I have been widowed and always miss my late Husband dearly, even though I am now remarried. I think in a situation like yours whilst I would love to find someone I felt as strongly about, if it didn't look like it was going to happen I would settle for a good companion who I loved and who loved me instead so neither of us were alone.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 02, 2011:

Thanks for commenting wonderful1, sorry you have had such a tough time. Maybe your situation is a good argument for why a relationship based on love rather than being 'in love' is better, if both feel the same. That way neither can 'hurt' each other emotionally.

Ruchi Urvashi from Singapore on December 02, 2011:

Great article. Something interesting to read and ponder. Voted up.

diogenes on December 02, 2011:

Ah! Romatic empassioned love! What a heady state and all too often, how destructive. In answer to the question posed by you article, yes, I'm sure every kind of relationship man can forge goes on with or without "love, whatever that really is once you take sex out of the equation. I am old now, but a little voice hardly heard and never aired (except here) wants to feel that hopeless passion again that I once had with Helen, my one and only great love.

Good article Missy, it asks the question many would like answered...Rx

Lone Ranger on December 02, 2011:

Interesting topic, Misty, and well written!

Yes, it is true, the Lone Ranger knows a thing or two about love and has even been "in love", once or twice if memory serves.

Misty, you brought up a lot of good points and I agree with all of them. In fact, studies have shown that cultures where arranged marriages are practiced are less likely to end in divorce and they are less likely to experience the broken-home syndrome that has come to typify those cultures who marry for "love".

One needs to consider that love is a fickle emotion; one that can cease to exist, grow in strength, or change direction as easily as the wind. Therefore, one must nurture love on a consistent and continual basis for it to grow into maturity, in grace and in beauty.

I believe many people place too much stock in the temporary chemical release of Dopamine into the blood stream when they think they are "in love". Most people don't even know about its existence, but it's there.

Research has shown that Dopamine, which is also known as the "love drug", is present for up to four years in any given relationship, but can subside even sooner depending upon circumstances. This chemical makes one's heart beat faster, causes one's pupils to dilate, and makes one feel like they are walking on sunshine whenever the object of affection is near.

Now, it's important to note that at some point Dopamine will cease to be delivered into the blood stream which is commonplace between 2-4 years after a relationship begins. It is, however, no coincidence that many relationships end at about the same time the chemical release runs its course.

It is also at this juncture in a relationship where married couples often claim that the "honeymoon is over". Unfortunately, when Dopamine ceases to be released, many people think that something is wrong with their relationship because they no longer feel the high of being in love, hence they tend to think that changing partners is the solution.

I believe it is fair to say that relationships will not make one happy. No, let me rephrase that: Relationships will give one a temporary boost in "hapiness", but anywhere from 2-4 years later, that chemical kick usually disappears completely and the individual is back where they started before the relationship began in terms of psychological and emotional aptitude.

This is to say that if one is a happy person before they get married, then most likely one will remain that way even after the Dopamine has subsided. Conversely, if a person is not a relatively happy individual by nature, they will typically return to a psychological and emotional base-line in short order after experiencing a temporary spike in "happiness" while the drug persisted.

What this means is that people who marry for love had better know themselves even better than the person they intend to marry. And, what people need to realize is whatever baggage they take into a relationship will still remain with them and it's not right to think that just because one doesn't feel the high of being in love any longer, that something is wrong with them, their spouse, or their marriage.

It's also true that some people mistake the effects of Dopamine for being in love and when it wears off they cannot believe what they were thinking. So, one had better marry a good person because after the love drug has worn off...you still have something to work with and something to be thankful for.

So, it is of utmost importance to be quite selective in the marriage game and not let the effects of Dopamine lead you astray. Emotions come and go, but good judgment must always have a place of honor at one's table.

My take on this issue is that The Almighty gave us Dopamine to help us bond quicker with our prospective spouse and to help facilitate the transition from oneness into the warmth and security of togetherness.

I believe it was also His intent that after a sufficient amount of time, the married couple will have been able to find a deep and abiding love for one another without the need of a chemical crutch.

In a way, Dopamine acts like the training wheels on an infant's bike, but after a little practice and with subsequent maturity, the stability of those training wheels should no longer be needed and the married couple should be able to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after.

Hope this helps and best wishes to all. - L.R.

Sheila Varga Szabo from Southern California on December 01, 2011:

I'm sort of on the fence about that. I was "in love" with my ex up until he left me for another woman (after 15 years of marriage). It's best to find the level of passion in your mate that mirrors yours. I am a very loving person, and although my ex did not provide my "needs," I still found ways to focus on his good qualities (and remembered the fire that brought us together). We are not all created equal, but after what I've been through, I've realized: life is too short to pour your heart out to someone who can't return the kind of love you can. Anything less, really, is settling. I'd rather stay single from now on than love unconditionally and get "crumbs" of affection in return.

Thanks for posting. Interesting Hub.

Kim Cantrell from Deep In The Pages of a Book on December 01, 2011:

Mature - that's the word I was looking for. :)

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 01, 2011:

Thanks for the comment Kim, this is what I like to call 'a more mature kind of love'. You might not be experiencing all the butterflies in the stomach and the roller coaster of emotions, but that doesn't mean you haven't got a very solid love and therefore a good basis for a relationship.

Kim Cantrell from Deep In The Pages of a Book on December 01, 2011:

My husband and I were just discussing this the other day. We've been married for almost 9 years and don't so much feel the "in love" stuff anymore, but have moved into a more comfortable, steady love phase. It's simple and secure with just the right amount of emotion for the place in our life (late 30s & early 40s). We agreed we love it here! :)

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 01, 2011:

Wow, that is an uncanny coincidence Cardisa, and no, I hadn't read your Bio on this subject, but now I intend to. I am so pleased this has helped you :)

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on December 01, 2011:

You must have read my Bio on how I am struggling to decide if I should marry the man I love as opposed to waiting to fall "in love" with someone else. This hub has helped me a lot. Thanks.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 01, 2011:

Hi Pamela, thanks for commenting so quickly (this has only been published a few minutes). Glad you understood what I was trying to convey here :)

Pamela N Red from Oklahoma on December 01, 2011:

Great story. Yes, two people can and do live together in relationships without being "in love". As you've mentioned there are arranged marriages and situations where two people marry for convenience and have fondness for each other but not the passionate love we think of when two people get married.

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