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My boyfriend and I have loads of good, solid ideas for new things to do together. For instance, he wants to teach me about opera and classical music. Every time we set out to listen, we wind up ignoring the plans and doing the same things we usually do, in the same place, every single night.

"Okay, let's talk about sex," Fisher says. "I want to distinguish lust from infatuation. Having lust doesn't mean you're in love. Many couples start out with lust and then move into infatuation. You can certainly fall in love without sex. But falling in love triggers your sex drive. Suddenly, everything your boyfriend does is sexually attractive. You have high levels of dopamine in your brain, and you want it constantly. That may be what you're most afraid of losing, why you want to arrest the infatuation stage." I admit to nothing. "You don't have to lose the desire. There are an enormous number of ways you can experiment sexually, and we live in a world where there is a wealth of easily accessible information on how to do that."

So Internet porn might net me another few months of testosterone infusion? Naturally, I'm willing to try anything. Fisher also advocates prolonging infatuation by making improvements in your physical appearance. Perhaps losing ten pounds and washing out my gray hairs will win me another year. Combine that with my boyfriend's frequent flying and our future novel adventures, and I'm ratcheting up my limerence potential to a grand total of five years.

The doctors didn't respond favorably to my math. "You know, some people are never limerent," Tennov says. "We don't know why, but they can't or won't experience the feeling of being madly in love. "And for the majority of limerent subjects, the feeling is unrequited. They have a horrible time."

"Leaving one stage is not an end," Fisher says. It's a new beginning? "My point is that relationships can be fluid. You can flow from one stage to another if you're able to put energy and attention into the relationship," she says. Of course, you can't flow from detachment back to anything. I suppose you could break up and get back together, but then the love wouldn't have the same blissful optimism. And, Fisher warns, putting too much effort into maintaining the status quo could cause problems (and not the good "romantic struggle" kind). Fisher says that I should let the infatuation run its course and enjoy the hell out of it. Who knows? Maybe when it ends, I'll have had enough of it. I'll report back, four years from now.



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