by Kassandra Lamb
Love, like cheese and wine, tends to get better with age, in a mellow kind of way. Oh yes, it can go in the direction of moldy or potentially turn into vinegar, but more often than not, it mellows into a very deep friendship.
My favorite model for understanding love (if one can ever understand love) comes from a psychologist named Robert Sternberg. He put a whole new twist on the concept of a love triangle.
First he distilled love down into three components: passion, intimacy and commitment. You might assume that these terms are self-explanatory, but when I was teaching psychology I was amazed at how many college students had never really thought about their definitions.
- Passion: physical attraction (this one is obvious)
- Intimacy: closeness through self-disclosure (sharing who you are, your feelings, your past, etc.)
- Commitment: making the effort to maintain the relationship
The ideal love, that’s strong enough to base a marriage on, is consummate love, according to Sternberg—a fairly equal balance between these three components. A triangle with equal sides.
So what happens when the relationship “ages?”
Often the passion slows down. (Why do you think we have all those ED medications out there?)
Even if there are no physical problems, our energy levels go down with age. The number of nights when one or both partners are too tired to even think about sex increases.
The passion rarely goes away completely, although it can, especially if there is some medical reason why the couple can’t have sex.
But even then, a relationship that had a strong base to begin with will usually still be deemed a happy one by the partners. Why?
Because the commitment and the intimacy have grown over the years. The couple knows each other, and trusts each other, like no one else does. And they have many years of shared experiences.
So the triangle has become skewed, with two long sides and one short one, but it’s still strong. Sometimes stronger than ever.
Aging and love mellowing are subplot themes in my new release, Book #9 in the Kate Huntington mysteries. The main character, who was in her 30’s when the series began, is now dealing with menopause and an angst-ridden pre-teen daughter.
But that doesn’t stop her from chasing down leads to unravel the latest mystery!
Official release day is this Saturday, 2/18, but it’s now available for preorder.
Just $1.99 during preorder and for 5 days after the release! (Goes up to $3.99 on 2/22)
ANXIETY ATTACK, A Kate Huntington Mystery, #9
When an operative working undercover for Kate Huntington’s husband is shot, the alleged shooter turns out to be one of Kate’s psychotherapy clients, a man suffering from severe social anxiety. P.I. Skip Canfield had doubts from the beginning about this case, a complicated one of top secret projects and industrial espionage. Now one of his best operatives, and a friend, is in the hospital fighting for his life.
Tensions build when Skip learns that Kate—who’s convinced her client is innocent and too emotionally fragile to survive in prison—has been checking out leads on her own. Then a suspicious suicide brings the case to a head. Is the shooter tying up loose ends? Almost too late, Skip realizes he may be one of those loose ends, and someone seems to have no qualms about destroying his agency or getting to him through his family.
Your thoughts on the mellowing of love with age?
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological suspense series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.
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Angela NoelFebruary 14, 2017 at 3:34 pm
Hi Kassandra! I’m very newly married to my second husband and the experience is so different the second time! I’m certainly older, but I like to think I have a better handle on love that grows from mutual commitment and purpose rather than the clinging, co-dependence of my younger love. I’m a new follower of the Misterio blog! Can’t wait to learn more.
Kassandra LambFebruary 14, 2017 at 4:12 pm
Cool! Thanks for the follow. I really loved your post about the young woman from India.
Yes, we do live and learn through the years, which contributes to the mellowing. We learn not to sweat the small stuff and also to treasure that mutual commitment and trust.
And believe me, I had my share of co-dependent relationships in my youth. I just never married them, thank the good Lord (because it wasn’t for lack of trying, in a couple of cases).
Kirsten WeissFebruary 14, 2017 at 5:01 pm
Interesting triangle! I wish I’d seen this years ago – it might have changed what I brought to relationships (and how I evaluated existing relationships).
Kassandra LambFebruary 14, 2017 at 6:18 pm
I love Sternberg’s triangle! And I agree, if only I’d known about it in my youth.
Even today this theory doesn’t get enough press.
K.B. OwenFebruary 14, 2017 at 5:16 pm
Interesting breakdown! Makes total sense. I am so blessed to have this great guy in my life who thinks he got the better end of the deal. (Psst…I did!). LOL. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours, Kass, and good luck on the book release!
Kassandra LambFebruary 14, 2017 at 6:20 pm
That’s the definition of a good deal, Kathy, when both parties think they got the best end of it! 🙂
Thanks for the well wishes and Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your wonderful man!!
Ally BeanFebruary 14, 2017 at 5:53 pm
I’ve never seen that triangle, yet it makes good sense. I’ve been married forever so I look at it trying to remember back to dating and how useful this information would have been back then. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Susie throws the best parties, doesn’t she?
Kassandra LambFebruary 14, 2017 at 6:22 pm
Susie most definitely is the hostess with the mostest! Thanks for popping over here, Ally. And yes, if we knew then what we know now… 🙂
Shannon EspositoFebruary 14, 2017 at 7:11 pm
I’ve never seen the triangle of love either lol! Makes total sense. Though, I think when the physical passion slows down, that can be replaced with other things you enjoying doing together…tennis, movies, skydiving 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Kassandra LambFebruary 14, 2017 at 9:13 pm
Uh, maybe not skydiving, but yes, the shared experiences are priceless. Happy V Day to you, Shannon.
Susie LindauFebruary 14, 2017 at 8:14 pm
What a great tie in to your new book, Kassandra! I’ll be sure to download a copy.
Thanks for bringing this to the party! Love is amorphous and always changing, in a good way!
Kassandra LambFebruary 14, 2017 at 8:54 pm
And thank you for throwing a party just as I’m launching a new book, Susie!!
Yes, love–by definition–is never stagnant.