Valentine’s Day, the day of the lovers, a day in which between romantic dinners, gifts and flowers, one seeks to revive the flame of passion, often exhausted by the routine of daily life. For this special day, the marketing team of BYHOURS launched a study to a niche of its users who use the hotel service in packs of hours with their partner (currently 23.5%) . Among the more than 300 responses obtained, three rules stand out, which were repeated in more than 60% of the answers: the secrets for a long, lasting relationship full of passionate love.
Passion, the Holy Grail of relationships
According to Harvard studies, led by Professor Richard Swanton Schwartz, in the process of falling in love the chemicals associated with the reward circuitry flood the brain, producing a variety of physical and emotional responses. It is the state we recognize as falling in love: the racing heart, sweaty palms, flushed cheeks, feelings of passion and anxiety about seeing the person desired.
This sensation is carried by the rise of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain, but also brain activity in the caudate nucleus zone, a region associated with the integration of sensory experiences in social behavior, and the ventral tegmental area, associated with pleasure, attention and motivation to pursue rewards. Passionate love also lowers serotonin levels, which brings a hint of obsession and madness in the first few months of falling in love.
Unfortunately for some, during the first year of love, serotonin levels gradually return to normal and the “stupid” and “obsessive” aspects of the condition moderate. That period is followed by increases in the hormone oxytocin, a neurotransmitter associated with a more mature and tranquil form of love. This is precisely when love becomes more mature and the initial obsession subsides.
The three types of love
According to studies by Helen Fisher, a famous American anthropologist, author of “Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love” and one of the world’s experts on love, humans have developed three central brain systems for mating and reproduction: Passion (sexual desire), Attraction (romantic love) and Attachment (Partner Love). Love can begin with any of these three feelings, however, while sexual desire evolved to seek a variety of partners, romantic love evolved to allow the mating energy to be focused on just one person, and attachment evolved to allow you to feel a deep bond with this person long enough to have a family. In each of the states different neurotransmitters predominate and it is the changes in their levels that cause feelings related to desire, sexual attraction or emotional attachment.
Is it possible that the passion lasts?
The most loyal BYHOURS users who use the service to keep the flame of passion alive in their relationship comment that the surprise factor is key to maintaining desire after long years of marriage. More than 40% of the open responses included examples of surprising couples: knowing how to escape from routine, share new experiences or well thought out small experiential gifts are factors that most list couples who claim to have the flame always alive.
The studies confirm the users’ claims. Helen Fisher, asked by BYHOURS about the details of their studies regarding tips to keep the flame alive, commented: “I don’t know what these couples did specifically, but I can tell you what they should do: new, new, new. Any kind of novelty drives dopamine in the brain and that’s the core activity of being in love. It’s a constant exploration and any kind of exploration, physical or spiritual, can help to sustain romantic love over the years.”
The spark, the vital nourishment of the flame
Undoubtedly, what was most repeated by the happily married users was the factor of continuous surprises. Some tried a new sport, others made romantic blind dates in one of the hotels of BYHOURS, others suggested escapes to unknown places. The spark, however, was the second most repeated factor: “Our secret is to keep living the relationship as if we were lovers,” said Belen, one of the users of BYHOURS. “Absolute trust in your partner makes all aspects of a relationship easier. Keeping the flame alive is complicated but keeping the details in both day-to-day life and sex makes you feel safer by their side. Every day I try to express in different ways what makes me feel (…) every day you have to surprise me so that it is not something monotonous: blindfolding, erotic massages, etc., makes me want my partner more every day. You have to take care of all the details.” – says Almudena, another user.
Help in the fulfillment of your dreams
Asked about the BYHOURS team, Ramon Nogueras Perez, psychologist, university professor, and specialist in couples therapy, says: “The key to keeping the flame is twofold: On the one hand, it’s good to try to avoid habituation, that is, variety matters. A certain routine is inevitable, but it’s good to try to add new activities and situations that allow us to rediscover our partner. On the other hand, one of the most important things is to understand what our partner’s most important dreams are, and to try to help them come true, to draw what Gottman calls love maps. Few things keep a couple’s flame more alive than the thought that you have a partner who’s going to help you achieve your dreams.
The golden rules
The happy couples of BYHOURS consider it essential to try to find time to surprise themselves with small details and new experiences, to maintain intimacy and positive thinking. Although surprises and intimacy were mentioned the most, among other advice we found
- SURPRISE: Keep the surprise factors in mind
- CHISPA: Creating blind dates, trying new things in bed and maintaining sexual desire
- NEW: Knowing how to escape from routine and share different things
- LAUGHING, LAUGHING, LAUGHING: Bringing a smile to your partner’s face each day
- CONFIDENCE: Being friends with each other
- INTIMACY: Trying to have intimate moments together every week
- ROMANCE: Reliving the romantic moments that initially brought the couple together
- RECIPROCITY: Being reciprocal in actions
- ATTENTION: Make sure that the couple does not feel neglected
- SUPPORT: Support in difficult times
- CRAZY: Knowing how to incorporate small doses of madness into the relationship
- CARING: Showing love every day through hugs and kisses
- COMMUNICATION: Talking things out
- ENTHUSIASM: Positivity, energy and optimism