Can you revive the spark in a long-term relationship? Science reveals all

Sarah Collie Gomillion

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


At the beginning of a romantic relationship, passion is not in short supply. The thrills of learning all about your beloved, sharing new experiences, and having plenty of sex, create an exhilarating state of desire and romantic love. In fact, a number of scientific studies have shown that this kind of love actually changes the chemistry of the brain, making us temporarily addicted to our partner.

But this flame typically dims over time, and a different – perhaps deeper – emotion takes over. Research has shown that this so-called “attachment phase” is linked to a decrease in “pleasure” hormones like dopamine and serotonin and a boost in “bonding chemicals” like oxytocin. Given these extreme physical changes, is it possible for someone in a long-term relationship to revert back to being infatuated, say, in time for Valentine’s day?
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

Sarah Gomillion receives funding from the Economic and Social Research Council.


  • Sex
  • Relationships
  • Love
  • Valentines Day


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