Studies show the actual feeling of “love” lasts about a year. Levels of a protein called nerve growth factors which causes sweaty palms and the feeling of butterflies, were significantly higher for those who just entered a relationship compared to those who have been in longer term ones. After about a year, whIle you may feel like it’s the first time according to that sappy Facebook birthday post that people roll their eyes at and “like”, your brain has since adjusted, and is like….nigga, I guess. It makes sense ideally, that rush you got when you lean in for the first kiss isn’t quite the same as when you just Netflix and Chilling and trying to get it cracking. You don’t necessarily need to study chemistry to know that firsts are always lit. (Except sex because whIle your brain is going crazy for that first time, it might take a few more times until y’all are more in tune with the others bodies and likes…but maybe that’s just me and shit..more on this later*)
That first year love, that passionate, this person was a stranger and they’re my everything love, burns fast, hot, and intense and extinguishes just as swiftly (My specialty, as of late). It’s something out of the movies, commonly what we associate with romance and passion. Then on the other end of it there’s heartbreak, despair, building yourself up again. We associate love with passion and heartache with not much in between. An observation I could even make in my own writing, largely grand openings and grand closings. It’s the Mary J Blige theory: no one really tryna hear happy Mary, only lovuh and secrehtare Mary. (Recently divorced Mary probably in the booth right now…it’s finna be lit)
What isn’t shown as much, is what happens when you aren’t high off love, or going through it; the happy medium….the comfort. That isnt to say, romance and passion is dead, but real relationships arent always dates, gifts and spontaneous sex. You don’t have to plan a date to see them, they just swing by after work. Texts aren’t a bunch of sweet nothings, yall are just dragging a mutual friend who seems to be in the same outfit in every Instagram pic. It’s a natural progression unlike passion which is premeditated. You go into dates hoping maybe y’all will hook up down the line, maybe you can delete that Okcupid account…you never enter a relationship expecting a level of comfort. There’s no 90 day rule for seeing her with a bonnet, nor for you snatching it off during sex because you’re petty. You don’t have a conversation about leaving toiletries at the crib or her wearing one of your hoodies home (there’s NEVER a conversation….damn I miss my dawgs). Maybe you do remember the first time you said I love you, but you don’t remember saving Coupled on your DVR. Comfort is my sister texts you and your coworkers recognize me. Comfort is “lol i was going to send you that”.
Sometimes comfort can mean complacency; you not unhappy, but you aren’t swooning daily either. Just like a relationship that’s all passion will burn out, one of all comfort may not…mainly because you’re too lazy to date again. It could all be so simple; marry someone stable and have your whirlwind romances on the side…but most of us don’t make enough to really pull that off. Kidding…mostly. Passion and comfort is a juggling act most fail at (see 50% divorce rate) but I’m a hopeful romantic. I’m might be a bit more chill than passionate (like most men), my love language is quality time (because thats the type of shit you do when you’re comfortable…maybe theres a passion/comfort quiz…I’ll check buzzfeed later). Too much passion is like cooking with the flame too high, hotter doesn’t mean faster. (shoutout all the chicken, rice and cookware lost in this struggle…I’m a better cook now tho).
As we get more comfortable, oxytocin and vasopressin intensifies in the brain and makes us want to belong and protect. Its a bond not much unlike parent to child. So lust for a year, then bond for a lifetime. It could all be so simple. Until, someone throws their marriage away over a fling….Brad Pitt.