Can We Control When We Fall in Love?

24 Oct

Is it possible to eliminate the stress and heartache of relationships? Ground-breaking research from psychologists suggests that love is actually far more malleable than previously believed.

Welcome to couple's therapy. You now know what the other is thinking.

…Okay, maybe not quite. But ground-breaking research from psychologists Sandra Langeslag and Jan van Strien of the University of Missouri–St. Louis and Erasmus University Rotterdam respectively, have explored whether the very concept of love is actually far more malleable than previously believed. Furthermore, are we in fact able to flick a switch, so to speak, in order to fall in or out of love in order to better suit where we are in our lives?

According to Drs. Langeslag and van Strien, the answer is yes —with a little training and concentration. In the future, we may actually be able to love less, making breakups fundamentally less difficult and draining. Conversely, we may be able to love more, fortifying our existing relationships. No longer might love be revered as some transcendent, unstoppable force of nature. It may be possible to control our emotions by understanding, then altering our cognitive processes. But how is this possible?

Change your thinking

In the seminal paper, Regulation of Romantic Love Feelings: Preconceptions, Strategies and Feasibility, the researchers explore empirical evidence that demonstrates the surprising flexibility of love. For example, the feeling of attraction felt towards one’s partner can, according to the study, be supported further by simply thinking positive thoughts about the person. On the flipside, you can actually decrease how smitten you are by focusing on their negative qualities, an excellent way of reducing heartache upon a painful breakup.

This has potentially massive implications that just cannot be ignored. It is arguable that the grief and hurt caused by rejection by someone you love is one of the most stressful life experiences you can ever experience. After all, falling in love has tangible and demonstrable long-lasting physiological effects on our bodies, so understanding how to assuage these — if that’s what you feel you need — could be unbelievably useful. What’s more, we can sometimes feel ourselves falling for someone we know is going to hurt us down the line. Imagine the pain you could preemptively avoid by simply changing the way you think and actively averting your gaze.

Why is this research so important?

It isn’t hard to envisage a situation in which the findings of Langeslag and van Strien’s research would be invaluable. You love someone who doesn’t love you back. You fancy someone in the office with whom a relationship would be highly troublesome or inconvenient. You are happily married and develop a crush on an acquaintance which you seriously do not wish to develop.

In contrast, you and your spouse are still hugely compatible but the romance has staled. You love one another, but you’re not in love. By implementing a brand new cognitive take on your relationship and life in general, you can be in control and inject some passion back into what was once a fantastic partnership.

The future of love

So what happens now?

Langeslag and van Strien have hopes to build on their research and better understand the psychology of love. Their findings are revolutionary and still very much in the nascent stage of being understood. For now, though, it’s more than enough that their research means it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to the trials and tribulations of romance.

If you’re single and looking for love, in a relationship and need some help revitalising the magic or, indeed, in love with someone you feel you just should not be with, The Vida Consultancy can help. We are world leaders in the psychology of love and a multi-award-winning international matchmaking consultancy, with boundless experience in setting up literally hundreds of happy couples amongst our network of exceptional singletons.

We also offer high-end relationship coaching sessions courtesy of our in-house relationship psychologist Madeleine Mason Roantree. Madeleine has over fifteen years’ experience helping individuals overcome the barriers we so often put up that stop us achieving true happiness in our relationships. The advanced psychological concepts with which Madeleine is conversant will help you get you back on the right path, changing your mindset and outlook on both love and life in general. Our intensive coaching sessions will help you truly understand how you can be getting the most out of romance, and what changes to your lifestyle would work wonders for the magic of your relationship.

Get in touch with Vida today and book in one of our renowned coaching sessions, or speak to one of our friendly team about getting on the road to finding the love of your life.

by Rachel Vida MacLynn

Founder & CEO

Rachel Vida MacLynn is reputed as being a world-leading matchmaking and dating expert. Registered as a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, Rachel advocates a professional matchmaking approach based on psychological principles and professional consultation.More by this author

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