Why We Love Who We Do

By Ed Susman MSNBC

Science can explain a lot about why and how we fall in love, but there are still critical parts of the love equation that remain puzzling, an expert says.

Dr. Ayala Pines, an Israeli clinical psychologist and author of several books on love and its consequences, said there are many conscious ways people can enhance their chances of finding love, but that the "spark" that seals the deal is imbedded in the subconscious.

‘Major changes in life -- divorces, deaths, accidents -- make people sitting duck for love.’ The keys to finding love are proximity and arousal. The chance of love being enhances when people meet and see each other regularly.

Researchers have shown that if you see a person periodically, you have a better feeling toward the person, and the person seems more attractive. The best chance of finding love, is seeing someone regularly in the same building in which you live or work.

Chances of finding love are even better if you meet in the same block than in the neighborhood; in the neighborhood than in the city; in the city than across the country. Then you need arousal. Adrenaline is the elixir of love.

Supportive evidence is found in a study in which a woman stood in the middle of a rickety, high, bridge over a deep gorge. When pedestrians reached the middle she engaged them in conversation and gave out her phone number.

She then repeated the experiment on a highly-trafficked city bridge. When on the rickety bridge -- a scenario guaranteed to get adrenaline going -- the woman got eight times as many calls as when on the city bridge.

During the Gulf War, when Israeli families had to stay at home during bombing attacks, many couple found the danger restarted dormant or dying relationships.

Major changes in life -- divorces, deaths, accidents -- make people sitting duck for love. Among other factors that can enhance love: Similarity. Finding someone of similar attractiveness makes love more likely.

Look for people of similar beauty, height, age and interests. Reciprocity. Letting the other person know that you find him attractive is a very powerful force. But one mustn’t overdo it.

A poem expressing one’s feelings will go straight to her heart, but repeated poems at every occasion can have negative results, Pines cautioned.

Satisfying needs. Love will grow if people are able to fill important needs that the other person has, she said. Some people want to be loved; others want to be listened to, while still others require a person to be the one and only.

Being able to fulfill your partner’s desire will enhance a relationship.

WHERE’S THE SPARK? But all these factors may still not create the spark that cements the relationship. Various researchers have theorized what that spark is or how it is achieved in relationships.

The irrationality of love surrounds a person’s romantic image -- an image that can be formed in early childhood. Romantic image may be the reason why people who fail in relationships continue to select the same type of partner -- they are seeking a certain type of person, even if that person may be wrong for a relationship.

It is difficult, but possible, to change one’s romantic image and find love. You do have a choice. You have to work on the relationship.

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

An interesting aside on an aspect of life that many of us are curious about. With respect to correcting the "romantic image" issue which seems to sabotage people’s efforts in selecting partners, tools like Applied Psycho Neurobiology would be most helpful in correcting.

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