What keeps a relationship alive? Is it love, patience, or understanding? According to a new study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, among other factors, it could also be oxytocin, otherwise known as the "cuddle chemical."
Researchers came to this conclusion after recruiting 163 adults in their 20s for their experiment. Out of the group, 120 were in new relationships. After measuring their oxytocin levels, the study authors found that new couples had higher levels of oxytocin. For them, love is apparently still in the air, and according to the study results, these couples were also more likely to stay together.
While high levels of oxytocin make for better synchronization between couples, they may be responsible for increased obsession and anxiety as well. For new parents, high levels of oxytocin could make them worry more about their kids. For couples, researchers believe that "the preoccupations with the romantic partner and the relationship are just as essential for the formation of the selective and enduring romantic bond." This means your oxytocin levels may help determine how enduring your relationship with your man can be.
Still, researchers have no concrete idea as to whether couples with high levels of oxytocin do end up sticking together or if their affection for each other keeps the oxytocin levels high. Whether or not oxytocin is primarily responsible for couples staying in love doesn't matter, however; you should still make the effort to keep a relationship full of love, no matter how many months or years you are into your romance.
For more on oxytocin, check out this study:
For advice on keeping your romance fresh, try these:
(Photo by jk+too via Flickr Creative Commons)