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.