Are there any physiological or hormonal changes associated with the decline of passionate affection for one’s partner?

Submitted by Yuuichi on
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The feelings of being passionately in love with a person early in a relationship are widely acknowledged to decrease over time, and after a few years, probably disappear entirely.

Are there any hormonal, physiological or neurological changes associated with the increase of relationship duration, and thus inevitable change in behaviour?

I would like to request this question pertain more specifically to the female, rather than the male and male behaviour, since it seems to me that substantially more has been written on men and male behaviour already. Thank you.

The best candidate

for sustained affection is oxytocin, as discussed at length in my book. However, it can't be delivered artificially.

That is, it's more accurate to say that "engaging regularly in bonding behaviors" is important to help stabilize relationships. And warm touch happens to release more oxytocin.

No short cuts. You may like this article:


As to your specific question, I haven't seen any research that directly measures such changes as human relationships deteriorate. Some neuroendocrine changes cannot be measured without sacrificing the subject. Hence the use of animal models. There's a fair amount of research on male rats and their sexual satiation cycle (they aren't fully recovered for about two weeks, and initially, androgen receptors decline for a few days...more so with more ejaculations...again, this is discussed in my book at length). But rats aren't pair-bonders...among other differences from humans.