Gender/relationships expert and bestselling author Susan Shapiro Barash provides advice.

How Being in Love Really Counts

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It is heady stuff to be truly in love and most women describe it as a necessary component, whether married, in a long standing monogamous relationship, or just beginning to date someone. Not that there aren’t other pieces of the pie that count, but women in our culture place such a premium on passion and longing. In fact, we’re sold on the idea – influenced by the media, our friends, our mothers, fairy tales and our own innate desire to have passion in our lives.couples2

And while being in love is about an emotional connection, intimacy and chemistry, many times women place a premium on the chemistry. Women are very invested in this component. I’ve heard women who are dating say they will walk away from someone if there is no chemistry. This is a deal breaker and enough reason to cross the guy from the list. And this applies to women of all ages, not just young women who might be more idealistic about their relationships.

However, it can be misleading to believe that chemistry is the same as romantic love and intimacy. And while being drawn to someone physically at the start is very heightened and intense, it cannot sustain the relationship over time. As the connection deepens, women express a need is to be with someone where the sex is connected to the in love part of the relationship and it becomes all about intimacy. Still, it’s a trick and the daily grind of life can crush out being in love.

If we look at what women of all ages feel during different phases of their marriages, we get a better idea of how ‘in love’ plays out over time.

  • Women who were head over heels at the outset say that this love matures and becomes more companionate (intimate, non-passionate type of love), but the initial feelings remain.
  • More than 50 percent of women claim they aced the slippery slopes over the years of their marriages because their in-love feelings prevailed.
  • The dream of growing old together in the 2lst century is compelling – we live a long time. The women who are hell bent on having this work hard to achieve it.
  • Intimacy, for women of all ages, is integral to the ‘in love’ quotient of a committed relationship. Women who are married are every bit as keen on being in love as are single women. It’s as if few women, whatever their marital status, can't escape this essential ingredient.  
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Susan Shapiro Barash is an internationally-renowned gender and relationships expert and bestselling author. She has written 13 books on women's issues, including her latest, The Nine Phases of Marriage: How to Make It, Break It, Keep It.

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