Holding hands into old age, laughing at your partner’s jokes even when you don’t find them funny and knowing when to bite your tongue – that’s true love, according to those who’ve experienced it the longest.
A study of 2,000 over 50s explored the real extent of ‘for better for worse’ to unveil 50 signs of the real thing – with building a home together and not being afraid to show vulnerability high on the list.
While kissing at least seven times a week was critical to keeping the fire burning year after year.
Researchers delved into the intricacies of a successful relationship and unearthed the 50 most popular responses to the question ‘what is love?’.
Saying ‘I love you’ at least nine times a week was also integral to long-term happiness, results showed.
Encouraging silliness in one another, learning to get along with the in-laws and avoiding jealousy if the other person spends time with the opposite sex were also deemed key factors in cementing a long-lasting love.
Only nine per cent believe in love at first sight, but just under half of those polled went as far as to say they believed in the concept of ‘the one’ when it comes to romance.
The research, commissioned by www.retirementmove.co.uk, found that on average love blossoms four and a half months into a new relationship.
CEO Richard Drew said: “The list of what it takes to make love last covers a range of warm, quirky and honest pearls of wisdom from people who have really experienced love in all its forms.
“What the data reveals is that the warmest bonds and most valued memories aren’t necessarily always the big standout things like exciting holidays or calendar moments, but actually in the living and enjoying of one another day to day.
“Building a home together proved a central concept to long-lasting love and shows that so much of the way we think about love comes from that sense of feeling at home and belonging to a place.”
Results showed that home really is where the heart is – when quizzed on their favourite memories with their partner, Brits were most likely to cite ‘just being at home with them’, with two thirds saying these beat holidays, birthdays and Christmases.
Nine in ten think making a home together is what real love is all about and one in six people proposed to their partner in the living room.
But love doesn’t always come easily and over half (56 per cent) feel they don’t fall in love easily.
49 per cent of Brits said they would choose falling in love over winning the lottery, results showed – although more than a quarter (29 per cent) would rather take the cash.
Nearly a quarter of those retired said the best thing about not having to work was getting spend quality time with the person they loved.
While two thirds thought love definitely gets stronger with age, just one in 12 per cent thought otherwise.
Richard Drew added: “This is a great ‘window ‘ on retirement living and loving – and three of the top ten secrets to lasting love revolve around the home, not being apart, even if you’re just sitting in silence with your loved one.
“Our personal service ensures that we get to know our customers hopes and dreams for their new home and they can enjoy the next stage in their lives.”
Over 50s top 50 secrets to lasting love
1. Supporting each other through tough times
2. Building a home together
3. Not taking each other for granted
4. Missing your partner when they are away
5. Remembering the little things
6. Not being afraid to show weakness
7. Being ‘in tune’ with each other
8. When you can comfortably sit in silence
9. Agreeing to disagree sometimes
10. Knowing when something is wrong
11. Holding hands while in your fifties and later
12. Wanting them to let you know they arrived safely after a long journey
13. Being able to confide in them about anything
14. Valuing your partner’s needs over your own
15. Laughing at each other’s jokes – even if not funny
16. Going for a long walk together
17. Worrying for their safety when they go on a night out/away
18. Making tea/coffee for each other
19. Feeling comfortable discussing medical or health issues
20. Remembering life is for living
21. Encouraging your partner in their career
22. Supporting each other when parenting
23. Not having to dress to impress them
24. Knowing when to bite your tongue
25. Having adventures together
26. Suffering no embarrassment at total nudity with each other
27. Encouraging silliness in each other
28. Arranging surprise breaks away
29. Cooking a nice mid-week dinner
30. Feeling a sense of pride at how your partner conducts themselves
31. Sitting through television/films you hate but partner likes
32. Being able to insult them without them taking it personally
33. Tidying up after yourself
34. Getting on with your in-laws no matter how difficult
35. Bringing home food (or cake) without being asked
36. Sharing your last Rolo
37. Being able to talk absolute gibberish
38. Not minding them looking at other men/women
39. Not being grossed out/ put off by anything they do
40. Recording your favourite programme for you
41. Admitting when you’re rubbish at DIY
42. Finishing each other’s sentences
43. Knowing what to order at the bar without asking
44. Boasting to other people about your partner’s achievements
45. Giving your partner control of the television
46. Watching soaps together
47. Getting up early to sort out the kids
48. Getting nice presents especially jewellery
49. Liking each other’s’ friends
50. Hating the same things