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A truly scientific way to keep love, 100% guaranteed

Arthur Aron, an American psychologist, is known not only for 36 questions with which you can fall in love with a stranger and fall in love with himself. A true scientist, he explores the psychological phenomenon of love. The experience of “falling in love with 36 questions” was set twenty years ago and is still amazing. But to fall in love, in the end, is a simple matter, the really interesting thing is how you can keep the feeling, carry it through decades of living together, doing laundry, children, animals, crises and diseases.

Arthur Aron also has a very interesting answer to this question, which intuitively seems extremely true.

Personality Expansion: Basic Instinct
Aron adheres to the theory of continuous expansion of personality. This means that our personality all the time wants to increase in size, absorbing new knowledge, impressions and experiences. A kind of “cadavre, dissatisfied intellectually.” And a wonderful way to expand your personality is romance or love. The personality is expanding wildly at the expense of the partner – new smells, new sensations, new knowledge, friends and even relatives. Moreover, this, of course, is a mutual process, the identity of the partner is also expanding. By the way, this is one of the reasons why separation is so difficult – instead of expanding the personality, there is a reduction, compression, we become “smaller”, and this is a wildly traumatic process for the psyche.

The same theory explains the decline in the mutual satisfaction of partners in a long relationship. The first amazing period of mutual expansion, when people giggle together until the morning, share skills, secrets and post-coital cigarettes, has already passed (usually it takes from six months to two years). And then the couple already knows everything about each other, and the expansion stops.

In some cases, it helps to have children – this also helps to expand consciousness. Children grow all the time, change all the time, discover the world for themselves – and we do it with them. But for most couples, constant joint admiration for offspring is not enough.

Human experiments
It all looks so far like a banality from Captain Evidence, but it is not. Aron and his colleagues conducted several very interesting experiments regarding a long-term relationship. He took 53 middle-aged married couples and convinced them to follow his instructions for ten weeks, spending an hour and a half a week on certain classes. A third of these couples had to choose an active holiday, a completely new leisure for themselves: skiing, hiking, dancing, concerts. The second group was supposed to do “pleasant”, but calmer things: movies, restaurants, go to visit friends. The third group was a control and did nothing. It turned out that the level of satisfaction with marriage was much higher among those who were engaged in delicious and amazing types of outdoor activities.

A more accurate and carefully controlled experiment was delivered in the laboratory. Half of the couples were forced to do something ordinary – household chores, for example. The second half was forced to do a strange and wildly gambling thing, namely: they were tied to each other by the ankles and wrists and forced to crawl together, overcoming obstacles and pushing with their heads a small and not very heavy barrel. It was necessary to do this for a while, and the experimenters initially cheated and made it so that two times the couple could not meet the deadlines, and for the third time they could barely. Then, with standard tests, they measured the level of satisfaction with the relationship, and it always turned out that those who pushed their heads with the barrel were much higher than those who, for example, peeled potatoes together.

No need to peel potatoes together
The main thing that this theory leads us to – the advice of family psychologists to spend more time together and do housework together – is complete nonsense. “If the relationship does not provide an opportunity to expand the personality, finding partners close to the relationship can only hurt.” In other words, why spend more time together if this time is devoted to watching the same TV shows and the same cleaning?

Dr. Aron recommends avoiding routine. It is clear that not all couples will be able to climb Mount Everest or rafting along mountain rivers together. But in any case, dinner should go to a different restaurant each time, and not always the same one. It doesn’t matter that your favorite restaurant is good, and everyone else is as usual. You have to try every weekend to try new hobbies, do different things, and do it together.

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