I first read about this when it was originally published; it was a fairly big news item at the time. There were previous studies, and there's been a lot of meta-analysis of this and similar studies over the past few years, and quite a lot of commentary. I'm amused by the commentary, in particular, because it falls into two main categories: "I can personally attest that this is accurate," and "Nyaaa, this is bullshit because it's never happened to me, so the people who say it's true are delusional or lying."
I've spent quite a bit of time reading the studies, the articles, and the commentary, and I've drawn the following conclusions:
- This subject evokes a high degree of insecurity and defensiveness in many people because their relationships don't fit the ideal minority in the study.
- This sort of thing doesn't happen to everyone, probably for two reasons: romantic relationships aren't a high priority for some, and a lot of people are very exclusionary and closed-off and therefore never develop a personality and lifestyle that can support it.
- There is incontrovertible physical evidence, in the form of fMRI records, that this is true. While one could argue over the subjective nature of asking someone how they feel about someone else, there is nothing subjective about an actual electro-chemical brain reaction.
- Regardless of how someone feels and whether very positive feelings last forever, the amount and quality of effort that goes into creating and maintaining a relationship is universally important.
- Along the lines of the following point: you still have to have a lot in common with the person you have feelings for. If you don't, then there are too few shared interests, goals, and principles to sustain a relationship.
- The concept of long-term feelings of strong affection isn't limited to relationships; it happens with all kinds of things. Music, for instance. Some songs are really great for a short time and then they get worn out. But every now and then there's a song or instrumental that never truly gets old, and you discover something new about it every so often. Movies and books, too -- or art in general.