I don’t often post about relationships and affairs of the heart, but yesterday I came across a brilliantly insightful and succinct analysis about what it takes to build a truly great and enduring relationship, and I wanted to share. It comes from Arthur Aron, Ph.D., a professor at Stony Brook University, and one of the world’s leading researchers in the study of romantic love. In a conversation with Eric Barker of Business Insider, Aron breaks down the secrets of what it takes to ignite a relationship from the very start, and to keep those fires burning for decades afterwards. This is where I would normally begin a lengthy paraphrase of the source material’s content, but this time the source material is so compelling I’m not even going to touch it — I’m going to send you straight there instead:
TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE SIMPLY HEAD OVER TO BusinessInsider.com.
The article is interesting enough to me on a personal level that I’ve stamped it as a FEELguide Classic, and I highly recommend it as a must-read. Arthur Aron’s research centers on the self-expansion model of motivation and cognition in personal relationships. This model posits that (1) people seek to increase their potential efficacy and (2) one way they seek to do so is through relationships in which they include others in the self (thus seeing themselves as possessing to some extent others’ perspectives, identities, and resources).
His major research programs focus on identifying interpersonal closeness as cognitive overlap between self and other and on how self-expansion motivations relate to and can be used to alleviate the typical decline in relationship satisfaction over time. Other current studies examine implications of the self-expansion model for understanding empathy, intergroup prejudice, persuasion, the social basis of logical processing, and how relationship experiences are mapped in the brain. He is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and serves on the editorial boards of Personal Relationships and the Journal of Personal and Social Relationships. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Society and Principal Investigator on a major National Science Foundation research grant. You can learn much more about Arthur Aron’s work, including links to all of his publications, by visiting Aron.SocialPsychology.org.
If this topic is in your field of interest, you might also enjoy Esther Perel‘s brilliant TED Talk on the secrets of long-term desire (watch below). Esther Perel is the author of Mating In Captivity, who once wrote: “A peer relationship is one where the partners experience an affectionate, companionate coupledom. They are friends. They are the product of the egalitarian model; they are good life partners, but are often less sexual.”
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