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The secret to sustainable desire in a long-term relationship

Last Update : June 28, 2017

There’s always been the debate about the durability of things in love. Can love last forever? Is desire sustainable in a long-term relationship?

Esther Perel, a professional in relationships, explained in a Ted Talk the secret for long-term desire.

If falling in love is relatively easy, and the honeymoon phase is described as one of the most intense and most passionate of a relationship, what happens afters years of relationship?

What happens when love grows and adapts and the routine starts to sink in… and desire becomes less and less present?

The Dilemmas in Modern Love

When you are in a long-term relationship it means that in most of the cases, you spend every single day with you partner. You create a routine together, you share your routine…

Routines can be very nice, a great way to organize your days and sharing a routine can indeed be a very romantic thing.

The romantic act of knowing that your lover will be home when you’ll get home after a long day, the romance behind meeting every Tuesday to go to the supermarket together…

However, the problem of routine in couples is that it tends to leave little room for surprises, for adventures, for attraction…

As Perle says, « attraction requires distance » and that’s exactly the distance you don’t get when you live your routine in a couple.

The problem is a Perle mentions « the dilemmas in modern love », we want a transcendental experience in love, we want it all. The security, the safety, the dependability together with « the novelty, the mystery, the adventure, the risk, the unexpected ».

We are living in individualistic societies, and as such « desire has become a centered-concept » in our societies. Whereas love is supposed to cover every single aspect of your life, desire is meant to surprise, break the routine, fuel your love.

The result? As Perle claims, « romanticism has entered in a crisis of desire ».

In which case, are all long-term relationship damned to the loss of desire?

Can desire be reconquered?

The mystery of long-term desire

According to Perle who interviewed couples around the subject, people tend to find their partner the most attractive when they see them as a « self-sustained entity, as a solid whole ». If routine unites, for Desire to happen separation is needed.

Not even a good intimacy guarantees desire… desire « requires a crossing over », it requires to ” create space the one we love” and you.

The mystery of desire lies in the transgression that makes desire so important.

What’re the different feelings you have when you love someone and when you desire someone?

Desire is « an expression of our individuality » while love is the opposite. How to reconcile both needs in a relationship?

According to Perle, a relationship that manages to reconcile both needs becomes what’s called a Passionate Marriage, a relationship that within the routine can give transcendence and mystery, a long-term relationship that knows how to survive between love and desire.

Most importantly, if Desire is an expression of our individuality, it is exactly the individuality of your partner that becomes attractive.

That’s exactly the secret of desire that most couple experience when they’re away from each other: desire needs space, it needs a « bridge to cross »… Desire is seeing from the distance how radiant and confident your partner is in a given moment… desire is never lost, it just needs to be looked at from a different perspective.