But now that couples postpone marriage and often live together, it is common for passion to subside--often well before the wedding or soon thereafter.

Nature intends our initial, temporary falling-in-love bonding period to be replaced by a longer-term attachment between partners--with a totally different underlying brain chemistry (based on oxytocin and vasopressin).

The brain chemistry (based on elevated levels of dopamine and norepinephrine) that underlies romantic attraction can't remain in this state very long. That special chemistry that drives courtship is destined to fade.

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They tend to be relatively self-confident, accepting and supportive in relationships.

Many people with colder and/or rejecting early attachment experiences continue to have some degree of difficulty with romantic bonding during adult life.

They also tend toward defensiveness and blame and have difficulty getting their needs met.

In addition to any bonding challenges posed by these attachment patterns from childhood, there are many realities of modern life that disrupt our longer-term attachments (even though they interfere less with the earlier phases of our relationships): Every couple has 5 - 7 unresolvable differences, so there's a lot to disagree about once you start thinking about getting married.

This pattern is what's primarily behind the stereotypes of the 'nagging' wife and the husband who 'doesn't talk.'All of these factors can chip away at the strength of your bond, in part by disrupting the brain chemistry that underlies it.

Many couples count on the strength of their initial bond to get them through these challenges and can't imagine that it might fade.

The different approaches of the genders to many aspects of relationships, including communication and bonding, are another factor that can stress couples' feeling of closeness over time.

The pursue--withdraw pattern, where one partner keeps after the other to resolve an important issue or for more closeness, while the other feels overloaded and keeps withdrawing or picking a fight to get away, is especially dangerous.

[Fisher, et al, 2002]But, some of us find it easier to form and maintain these long-term bonds.