Romantic love is one for the ages
IF THE Beatles were right, love is all we need and money can’t buy it.
Given that we change and relationships change as we grow older, could it be that love changes as we age?
Singing about love can be easier than trying to define it. Ancient Greek has four distinct words for love: agape, eros, philía and storge.
So what’s being asked is whether agape ( a consuming passion for the well-being of others) or philía ( a companionable love) replace eros (a love of passion) as we age?
The love stories we’ve been brought up with are mainly about young people. Rarely do we hear about the young lovers as older people.
And the youngster’s focus doesn’t seem to shift away from each other’s physicality and whatever sexual desire they might have for each other.
The idea of growing old together doesn’t get a jersey.
Older adulthood is not without its challenges, with this population facing transitions such as retirement, empty nesting and changes in health.
Research tells us that five of the most highly rated elements of successful romantic relationships for older adults are honesty, communication, companionship, respect and positive attitude.
(Other elements include self-acceptance, institutionalised religious practice, socialising with friends and neighbours.)
This means that eros takes a back seat as other elements feature more prominently.
Most aging couples drift into what seems like a comfortable attraction, settling into a deep emotional attachment.
They seem to understand their partners more and try to adapt or change in a way that is more compatible and comfortable to their partner.
Maturity (of relationship) tends to lead to compatibility.
Any differences seem to get smoothed out as partners better understand each other.
So, if you’re an oldie and your relationship has changed, that’s fairly normal.
It could even be argued that love becomes more beautiful and awesome as time progresses.