How love evolves in a relationship in two charts


If you thought love in a relationship grows with each passing year, you might not want to read the rest of this story.

A recent survey from U.K.-based public opinion pollster YouGov found that love gets "more practical" and "less head over heels" over time. People even stop saying "I love you" to their partners the longer their relationships go on. They don't call it a "Honeymoon Phase" for nothing.

YouGov asked 2,072 British adults during two days in September 2014 a series of questions about their relationships, including "How would you characterise your feelings about your partner at the moment?" and "How often do you say 'I love you' to your partner?" The researchers found that love evolves as the years pass in a relationship.

A third of those in the first year of their relationships said they have "head over heels, butterflies in the tummy love" for their partner, which is the highest degree of love on this scale. However, it looks like love fades a little bit as time goes on. Only 10 percent of those who have been in their relationship for five to 10 years have that "head over heels" love for their partners. Still, 50 percent of them say they are "definitely in love" with their partners, so that's something.

But as we all know, feeling something and saying it are two very different things. When it comes to people that tell their partners "I love you," the results aren't as reassuring. Surprisingly, those who have been in relationships for two to five years say "I love you" most often to their partners with more than half of respondents in that group saying "I love you" to their partners every day. This drops to 33 percent of relationships more than 10 years old and to 18 percent in relationships that are more than 50 years old.

As you can see, there are also couples out there that never say "I love you." About a quarter of those who have been together for zero to 12 months never say "I love you," but that may just be due to hesitation to say those three little words at the beginning of a relationship. Sadly, about 12 percent of relationships that are more than 50 years old never have the words "I love you" uttered.

So it looks like love doesn't last forever for some people, at least saying "I love you" doesn't. But can we all be hopeless romantics for a second and pretend that just because these people aren't saying "I love you" outright doesn't mean they don't love each other? When you get to a certain stage of a relationship, maybe some things just don't need to be said. Yeah, let's go with that.

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