There are theories that we fall in love with situations when we are forced to undergo a change. Either because we want to get out of boredom or because then we are ready to enter a new world that has opened up for us.
The one we meet becomes a symbol of this change. The person in question makes the change possible and facilitates it.
It is therefore difficult to imagine a depressed person falling head over heels in love when life is at a standstill and self-esteem is at an all-time low. In the brain, there is a partner selection system that strikes when you are ready for a love affair. This readiness requires a belief in one’s own attractiveness and a desire to open up to another human being.
But eventually even the most intense passion dies.
What should you do then? Should you try to keep the passion alive or invest in a safe but unexciting relationship?
– Passion is a transient state. You should grow together in a relationship, says Anna Kåver, psychologist and psychotherapist in Uppsala, who will be out this summer with a book about emotions.
Is it easier to keep the passion alive if you experience shocking love at first sight? Or is it better to build a loving relationship if you get to know each other more and more?
– There is nothing that is better or worse, the relationship only develops in slightly different ways, says Anna Kåver.
However, the risk is greater that the relationship will break down if you enter into a bubbling passion and do not see that the ideal image you have created of your partner is a distortion of reality.
Anna Kåver has published several books together with Åsa Nilsonne, who is a psychiatrist, professor of medical psychology and detective story writer.
Most recently, it was the book Together – about compassion and confirmation, which has become a bestseller among the flood of relationship books.
I meet them both for an interview at Anna Kåver’s reception in Uppsala. Åsa Nilsonne Chinese naked dog Zelda arrives to greet with modest curiosity and waves her tail. She wants to be petted.
– The same expressions of joy that Zelda shows in the morning or every day when she comes home from work, more couples in long-term relationships would show each other, Åsa Nilsonne thinks.
Both Åsa Nilsonne and Anna Kåver believe that passion is a clearly overrated love intoxication.
It is a pleasurable feeling that makes people feel more alive and wonderful as long as it lasts. It can last anywhere from a week to more than a year. But it can never survive in its absolute state.
Anna Kåver explains it with a tunnel vision when you only see your partner as unique, perfect and unique. No help to keep the relationship alive is needed.
When it turns into an everyday life, it becomes all the more important to invest time and commitment in the relationship. If you do not accept that the person you fell in love with also has faults and shortcomings, the relationship will die.
– It is quite hard work to be passionately in love. I would like to highlight friendship, the ability to work together, loyalty and encouragement as the key to why relationships survive and feel good, says Anna Kåver.
But much of our lives still revolve around love, desire, sensual love and romance. The idealized image of fierce love is reproduced in movies, literature and music.
The passion has been portrayed in all times. It is nothing new that people are blinded in their passions. The High Song in the Bible, Shakespeare’s love drama Romeo and Juliet and Euripides Medea are just a few trembling passions that have influenced us through the ages.
Today, it is considered almost a bit odd not to have been included in the circle that has experienced skyrocketing love.
– A strong love adds energy, it gives strength, optimism and can be developing. People who are in love open up to each other and the world around them and become happier, says Åsa Nilsonne.
But it is also a kind of escapist state.
– Imagine that a passion viagra appears, a pill that you take every day to keep a strong love alive. Would you like to hang out with someone who takes such tablets? Would you like to have surgery by this doctor or that the children had such a kindergarten teacher?
Åsa Nilsonne shakes her head and adds:
– And do you have to keep your passion alive at all costs? I’m not so sure.
She refers to a proverb in English that means something like this: “Children whose parents still have the passion are orphans.”
Two people who are in love with each other close their eyes to each other. They see themselves as the most important thing in the world. Parents who do not care about anyone other than their partner are devastating to a child. Åsa Nilsonne has seen it up close. The couple’s daughters got in trouble, got no attention and felt like the fifth wheel under the carriage.
No, it is better to invest in acceptance in a long-term relationship. That you accept that your partner may be grumpy and angry, make bad jokes, smell bad in the morning and never rinse out the milk cartons before folding them.
You need to have an understanding of all aspects of your partner, even less attractive personality traits.
– I also believe that you should give each other the freedom to develop in different directions and identify some areas that you like to do together. Love that is only based on a type of attraction that is appearance-controlled is not so much to build on, says Anna Kåver.
Love can also be that you are good friends and are loyal to each other. And there must be some measure of curiosity. If you have lived together for a long time, both can think that you know everything about each other.
– You are interested in the person, ask what happens at work, what he or she thinks about different things. The dialogue makes it possible to show appreciation and get an impression of each other. If you do not get that conversation, I think you withdraw and do not let the other into your own inner room. One may also begin to believe that one is no longer attractive. And if the other person starts to withdraw in the same way as his partner, they both go around carrying the same negative thoughts completely unnecessarily just because you do not talk to each other, says Anna Kåver.
But if we just love each other? Then the rest takes care of itself, right?
It is dangerous to think like that, says Anna Kåver. If someone in the relationship is ill, stressed or feels bad about something, it can easily happen that it affects the relationship. Then understanding and support from the other side is required. Lack of understanding can lead you to start focusing on the other person’s strengths.
– Instead, you should focus on the positive ones. That he has humor, interesting opinions or cooks good food. It is just as easy to get a negative tunnel vision. That in the end you only see the bad sides, says Åsa Nilsonne.
She also thinks that taking care of herself in the relationship is important. That you make yourself nice and make an effort to take care of your health and your appearance.
And you cando unexpected things. Offer surprises. Seemingly trivial tricks, but they work. Like lighting candles for dinner. Fix a weekend trip in secret or put a note with a few words of love under the pillow.
In relationships with children, it is easy to show more love for the children than your partner.
Why is it like that?
– Maybe because you take the relationship more for granted. And that you become too lazy and comfortable to express your feelings, says Anna Kåver.
But we have feelings for us to show them. In a loving relationship, you give without always expecting to get something back. And it is mutual from both sides.