love life: what makes a lasting relationship?
I’m late, I’m late. I’m sorry I missed the deadline last week. Much has been afoot here in the Berra for this columnist and I’ve consequently been quite exhausted. Rest assured, however, that my commitment to providing you with the best in mediocre love advice has not waned.
So, to the point. I saw the State Theatre Company of South Australia’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest last Thursday and it was awesome! One line in particular set me thinking; at one point Algernon, ever witty and incisive, quips: ‘The very essence of romance is uncertainty’. Great, I thought; remain a little unpredictable, always keep them guessing, confound their expectations – this is bound to make you more interesting and keep them on their toes. But still, the statement raised some thorny questions: Gow do you make romance last? What is, ultimately, the secret to a long-lasting relationship?
Well, after about 20 minutes of trying to think of a satisfying answer, I googled it (naturally) and came across this handy infographic. The lesson? Frequency matters. That’s not just about how many times you get it on a week; it’s about the ratio of positive to negative interactions. It seems that to sustain a great relationship there should be five positive interactions to every negative one.
I see what this means; it’s about caring for someone just as much as you care about yourself; telling them that you support their vision and goals and knowing that they support yours. It’s very much like being in a team, as cheesy as that sounds. And revisiting shared experiences, expressing loving gestures like hugs and kisses, having frequent sex and good conversation all work to sustain the relationship. What I like especially about this infographic is that it demonstrates that what allows you to create a great relationship is the amount of effort you put in (seemingly obvious point but one that many miss).
But it’s unhealthy and even arrogant to be an optimist when it comes to relationships. Rather, it’s wise to accept the difficult truth that romance fizzles out and that your partner/s will get bored of you sometimes so that what really matters is how you keep it interesting. It’s also about curbing our negative traits and minimising how often we subject our partner to our worst side. This is all about respect: a much better foundation for attraction than simply being liked. I could go on for quite a bit longer but I’ll stop here because…I’ll cut to the chase.
I am sad to announce that this column of Love Life will be my last. I have taken stock of the last few months, weighed up my time and the commitments I’ve made and it’s simply that I just don’t have the time. I am grateful to Lip for giving me the opportunity to write this column – it has been a joy, however short-lived.
And that’s it, my lovelies. I’m off to write a combined 30,000 words of overdue essays. Peace out and, dare I say it, spread the love. All the best!