Stuart: Hi there, and welcome to The Couples Expert Podcast. This is Stuart Fensterheim, The Couples Expert. I am so pleased to have all of you back here again today.

You know, they say love is a guessing game, and what I know as an emotionally focused therapist is, that is not true. There is definitely a map for helping people have a close, connected relationship. But what about love? Is love something that just happens or is it way too difficult and we’re not able to put our fingers on it?

I am having on my show today a gentleman by the name of Dr. Arthur Aron. Dr. Aron is a psychologist at Stony Brook, and one of the things that he created, or came across with his research and studies, was a questionnaire for helping couples develop a closeness and a deepening of the feelings that they have for one another. And there’ve been a number of people who’ve taken these questionnaires and have found a love that is deep, connected and strong.

What I want to do today is talk with Dr. Aron about that, but talk about it in a different kind of way. Let’s find out, in terms of the research, what he has found that would help couples develop a relationship that has the possibility, more than most, of maintaining a relationship that you feel confident in and feel like you’re in this relationship forever. And we’re going to see what he’s learned about love, relationships, and developing a deepening of the love.

Introducing Dr. Arthur Aron

But who is Dr. Aron and why is he someone that we should listen to? Dr. Aron is a Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook. He’s best known for his work on intimacy and interpersonal relationships, and developed a model of motivation in close relationships. He received his Bachelor’s degree in psychology and philosophy in 1967, and a Master’s degree in 1968, both of them from the University of California in Berkeley. He also has a doctorate, which he received from the University of Toronto in 1970. His work primarily focuses on friendship, intimacy, and developing a model that we’re talking about today on establishing a close relationship.

Dr. Aron is married to the love of his life, and he’s been married since 1968. His wife is Elaine Aron, and some of you may know Elaine through her work with “The Highly Sensitive Person” theoretical model. We might talk a little bit about his relationship with Elaine to see if it relates at all to the research that he’s done, but I’m really excited to get to know Dr. Aron better, and after reading some of his research and material.

I am so thrilled, Dr. Aron, to have you on The Couples Expert Podcast. Welcome to my show.

Dr. Aron: My pleasure, thank you for inviting me.

Stuart: Well, one of the first questions I like to ask the folks that come on my show is a little bit about you, a little bit about your path to becoming a psychologist, why you decided to go into that field in particular, and in particular, why the love area.

Dr. Aron: I was an undergraduate majoring in philosophy and I became very interested in philosophy and science, and in doing so I realized that the most interesting science to study with philosophy was psychology. And so, I was a double-major in psychology, and in the process I got pulled into psychology, particularly social psychology.


So I went to graduate school in social psychology and along the way, I fell very intensely in love with Elaine Aron, my long-time partner. Back in those days, and still to some extent, sort of when you were studying social psychology, the culture was, find a topic that people thought couldn’t be studied scientifically and do it. And I fell intensely in love, I looked around to see what the research was, and there was very little. There was a few, but not much on it, and I said, “Here’s my topic!” And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 40 years.

Stuart: You know, it’s interesting, Emotionally Focused Therapy, the theoretical model that I follow with my couples’ counseling, and I’m sure you’re aware, a bit at least, of Sue Johnson’s work, one of the things that she’s talked about in the “Hold Me Tight” material that she has done is that she was shunned, actually, when she first started researching some of this, to even try to put some sort of a model together about love because people believed love was just sort of a by-chance thing. And that, we now know, that it can be validated by research, and you were even doing that before then.

Dr. Aron: Oh, yes. In fact, the two real pioneers in our field, Elaine Hatfield and Ellen Berscheid, back in the late ‘60s got a U.S. National Science Foundation grant to study love and they were awarded a Golden Fleece Award, the first one from the Senator at that time, who thought this was a total waste of government money. Now, it’s been a difficult thing, and yet the field has now increasingly come to accept it, in part because our research has been so thorough and systematic, especially since we started doing brain imaging studies.

Love is in the Brain

36 questions to intimacyStuart: How does the brain… Talk a little bit about the brain imaging when it comes to this, because I’ve seen some studies recently, which include MRI studies, on love and connection, and how does the brain imaging, how does that differ from something like an MRI?

Dr. Aron: Well, that’s what we’re basically doing. My research that has used brain imaging has been entirely fMRI. And there is a little bit of work using some other methods, but fMRI still is sort of the gold standard. And what we’ve found, very consistently, is looking at people who are newly in love, when they think about or look at a picture of the person they’re in love with, there is activation in the dopamine reward area, the same area that responds to cocaine. And what that permitted us to do is a number of things.

One thing is, it allowed us to compare intense romantic love cross-culturally, because if you just ask people, the language they have, the attitudes they have about it are very different, but if you look at their brains, you can see the similarities. And we were getting the same response when we did it, for example, in China.

The other thing it permitted us to do most recently, which I think will interest your listeners particularly, is we were able to look at people who were together 20, 30, 40 years, who claimed to be very intensely in love, and we interviewed them, and sure enough, these people seemed like they were very intensely in love, so we put them in the scanner. Were they just kidding themselves or kidding us? And what we saw in their brain looked very much like the people who’d just fallen in love. Now, there aren’t a lot of such people, but the fact that it can happen at all is quite striking.

Now, a lot of people don’t want to hear this. As you probably know, some of the nice research that’s been done by Paul Van Lange and Caryl Rusbult, and others, suggests that one of the ways couples feel good about themselves is by comparing to other couples. You know, “Oh, look how they always argue at the party.”

But, you know, on the other hand, this is a reminder that it is possible. We don’t have to just assume that being in an okay relationship is the best you can do.

Okay Is Perhaps Not Okay Enough

Stuart: Right, and one of the things that I talk a lot about in my practice is, okay is about survival. If you really want to live your life and have a life that really has some substance and significance, you have to have a connection that’s more than just okay. It has to be one that is authentic and vulnerable, where you really know that you’re important to your partner.

couple holding hands

Dr. Aron: It’s really central to your well being and to your health. The research shows that the quality of your close relationships play a bigger role in your general well being and happiness than any other factor, and also, they’re a huge predictor of how long you’ll live and physical health, as big a predictor as smoking or obesity.

Stuart: You know, it’s exciting to hear you say some of this because, for me, I’ve always believed that and the theoretical model of Emotionally Focused Therapy says that very clearly, validated by the research that they’ve done. But, to have it really be shown in different forms of research over and over and over again, how could you disprove that or how could you disbelieve it because it’s been proved over so many times? And to get people, sometimes, to really understand that it’s worth that energy and effort to really feel something more than just “it’s a nice relationship” is sometimes difficult for us in this field.

And one of the things that you and I were talking about before we went on air here is a little bit about the research that you did. And I was calling it a quiz earlier and you were clarifying that for me, so I’d like you to talk about that to make sure that this audience understands what it is and what’s exciting about what you’ve done.

The 36 Questions


Dr. Aron: Well, the research that has, in the last year or two, gotten so much attention has been the so-called “36 Questions” that we developed to create closeness between any two pairs of strangers. There was a New York Times article, a very lovely written one, where the author used this to fall in love with someone. The way it works is there are 36 questions that you ask each other. Two people sit together, and the beginning questions are relatively superficial and they get increasingly personal. And she found that when she did this with this person, they fell in love, and what went viral was the notion that any two people could do this who want to and could fall in love. Well, that might be the case; we haven’t tested it for that. We developed it as a…

Stuart: So it’s not a pick-up thing. If you go into a bar, you’re not going to use this.

Dr. Aron: Well, you could. It would probably get you close to the person if you did it, but it might not make you fall in love.

Stuart: Right. Okay, go ahead. Sorry.

Dr. Aron: No, no. I mean, it is a way to connect with someone and not just a romantic person. It’s a great way to connect with someone you’d like to be a friend with. But, we basically developed it as a laboratory procedure. We wanted to be able to test, systematically, what is the effect of being close to someone, and if you just bring in, say, pairs of friends versus strangers, the friends have a whole different history and chose each other. This way, we can bring in any two people, randomly assign them to either get closer or not, and then put them in the scanner or measure their hormones, or measure their behavior or their attitudes, whatever. And so, that’s what we developed it for, but it has been used in some applied settings, including in some interesting romantic settings, but not so much to make people fall in love, but to strengthen love in long-term relationships.

love in the headWhat we found, this is some great research we did with Rich Slatcher, is if we take two couples, now you know, two married couples, the couples may not know each other or just know each other a little, and they do these 36 questions as a foursome, so each of the four answers question 1, goes on to question 2, and at the end of the hour or so, they are not only closer to the other couple, which is a good thing for relationships, a lot of research on that, but they are closer to their own partner and it even increases passionate love for your own partner.

Stuart: That’s a really fascinating comment, the last one especially about passion.

Dr. Aron: Yeah. Well, one of the ways it does it, I mean, self-disclosure, revealing things, is part of the formation of closeness, developing closeness. When it happens rapidly it creates a sense of passion. But, it turns out it’s not so much self-disclosure as the responsiveness of the other person. When two people, and I’m sure you know this from your work with Emotionally Focused Therapy, when two people hear each other, when they are responsive to each other, that really strengthens their feelings for each other, and when that happens rapidly, it creates a sense of passion.

Stuart: How does the responsiveness fit with this, because if I ask you a question and there’s a lot of ways you might address the question I ask you, I could say, “Okay, what is…”, like, one of the questions you have in here is, “What do you value most in a friendship?” you could answer it in a two-word sentence, or you could answer it in, you know, two paragraphs. And responsiveness, for each individual, I think, is very different. So how do you sort of put that into a form where people are responding to the questions in the way that you need them to?

Self-Disclosure versus Responsiveness

Dr. Aron: We basically lucked out. When we did this initial research, we did not know the importance of responsiveness. We were focusing on self-disclosure. But, what we’re now learning from other people who are using our method and assessing it is that what matters is not how much you self-disclose, but how responsive the other person is.

responsivenessIt turns out that by gradually escalating, we start out with very superficial questions, you know, “What did you get for Christmas last year?”, but towards the end, they get very personal – “How would you feel if your mother died?” And what tends to happen is, since each of you are answering the questions, or all four of you if it’s two couples, you’re being answered, you’re answering the others, it’s developing gradually so you’re comfortable with getting close to the person, it turns out people are responsive, not always, but typically, and the degree to which they’re responsive does predict how close they get. But, it works for most people. If we were developing this today, we would work more carefully to emphasize the responsiveness aspect of it.

Stuart: What’s really exciting about what you’re talking about, it has so many different applications, because when I talk to couples who have, let’s say they talk about sort of meeting somewhere and having this incredible intense relationship, very, very fast, and then they make the decision to either move in together or get married, and then they wonder why, after being together a period of time, they’re pulling away. There is a suggestion in just the format that you just described, of needing time to learn to get to know someone before you make that long-term commitment. The build-up that you were just talking about works because you’re getting to know someone gradually with these questions.

Dr. Aron: Well, it certainly works for building a sense of closeness.

Stuart: Right.

Keeping the Flame Alive

Dr. Aron: We haven’t tested the extent to which it predicts how well the relationship will develop over time. It certainly seems reasonable that would be the case, but as you know, and certainly the research is very clear, what predicts how well a relationship works doesn’t have as much to do with the match between the people as it does with their own security and lack of anxiety and depression with, you know, the support of their friends and family, how much stress they’re under. You know, if those things are in place and if they can communicate reasonably well and handle conflict, almost any two people can get along, except for extremes.

Stuart: Right.

love drawingDr. Aron: Obviously, if you speak different languages, or if one of you is 7 and one of you is 40, you know…

Stuart: Right.

Dr. Aron: But, except for extremes, it’s not so much the match, it’s how people, you know, their circumstances. And then there’s the things, as you like to emphasize, that people can do to go beyond it just being okay, and something like developing strong linkages with other couples is definitely one of them.

And I think what happens, what we argue from our model, is that a huge motivation in life, the creation of passion, is this rapid, we call, expansion of the self, and when you fall in love with someone and develop a relationship, you include them in this self. They become part of you as does the relationship, and that rapid expansion is very passionate, very exciting. But, eventually, you get to know them, and you may enjoy being with them, but that passion slows down. So what do you do then?

And that’s where it’s important to start doing things beyond just making it okay, although that’s crucial because if it’s not okay it’s not going to work. And a lot of our research is on what to do then, and doing this with another couple’s one thing, but the biggest part of our research is, couples at that point should really spend the time to do something exciting with their partner on a regular basis, something novel, something challenging. And the notion is that here you’re going to have this excitement, you’re doing it with your partner, so you associate it with the relationship.

heartsSo we’ve done a lot of studies where we ask people, once a week, to do something different, something novel, something challenging – nothing that’s overwhelming; if it’s too stressful it won’t work – and then we follow them. And one study that just came out from another lab found that four months later, these people were much more in love and happy. We’ve done a lot of lab studies on it and my wife and I try to do it regularly. So this notion of trying, you know, at least once a week or so, to do something novel, challenging with your partner, really can reinvigorate that sense of passion.

I’m So Happy for You!

And, there’s a few other things that are coming out in some recent research. One of my favorites is this work by Harry Reis and Shelly Gable on celebrating your partner’s successes. We haven’t done this in our lab, but it’s some of my favorite work, and that is, when something good happens with your partner, you know, they get a promotion or just some little thing happens, they find something they lost they were looking for, to the extent you can celebrate that without being patronizing, it really is good for the relationship.

You mentioned my wife, who studies the highly sensitive person. We both of us, I collaborate with her on that research, and she collaborates with me on the relationship research, which for us is a novel and exciting thing to do. But, I knew that she had submitted a paper to a very major journal, a major review, biologically based review of “The Highly Sensitive Person” research a couple years ago, and it was a top journal. We thought the chances of her getting it accepted were not very good. And I was home when the e-mail came in, saying not only had it been accepted, but the editor just loved it and they were going to publish it. And I had just read this research on celebrating your partner’s successes, so I made a poster of that e-mail and put it on the front door. We had a wonderful night.

But, you know, that was an extreme example. Any time you can celebrate your partner’s successes, it turns out it has a bigger positive effect than supporting your partner when things go badly, the celebration, yeah. Well, again, you don’t want to go over the top. You don’t want to, you know, they have some little thing happen and you just go way over, it can become patronizing, right?

Stuart: Right. No, I’m talking about true celebrating because what I talk about it as, is that if you have a fun, exciting experience and it’s with your partner, you define that, “I have the most fun in my life with this individual, why would I want to be with anyone else?” And that’s really what you’re talking about?

It Just Feels Good to be with Someone Special

in love

Dr. Aron: Yeah, well, not only why would you want to be with anyone else, but just, it’s wonderful to be with this person.

Stuart: Right. It feels good.

Dr. Aron: Yeah, yeah.

Stuart: It just feels good, yeah.

Dr. Aron: I mean, you might want to be with someone else too. You might want to be with your son or daughter, or with other people, but you really enjoy being with this person.

Stuart: Right, because the excitement is better, from my perspective, the excitement is better when it is with this person than with anyone else. But yes, it just feels good also.

Dr. Aron: Yeah, and you want to be with this person.

Stuart: Right.

Dr. Aron: Whether it’s compared to anyone else. Obviously, if you’re in a monogamous relationship, being good with this person means that you prefer them over any other romantic relationship.

Stuart: Right.

Dr. Aron: But, you still might want to have wonderful relationships of other kinds, with friends and family, and so forth.

Stuart: And we don’t want to minimize the comment you made a moment ago, which some people may not understand as much as I might because I grew up in a family of educators. My step-dad is a professor of history, and my mom, for years, was an educator, vice principal at schools. The intellectual connection and the excitement of producing an article or a piece of printed work, or an experiment that you write the lab results from, and it being published, there’s nothing more exciting than that.

Dr. Aron: Well, yeah, it certainly is a celebration. Probably for us, the most exciting, actually, is when we conducted a study, a brain imaging study or even a big survey, and the data come in, and then we’re sitting there together analyzing the data, did it work? And when you run those analyses and they come out, it worked… I mean, sometimes it comes out the other way.

Stuart: Right.

Dr. Aron: But if it comes out, it worked, that’s really exciting. You’re in the room with a tiger when you’re analyzing data.

Stuart: Oh, I know, and you know, not everyone is going to understand that.

Dr. Aron: No, I understand. It’s what works for us.

Stuart: Right, and it’s what makes your relationship unique and special.

Stepping Out of the Box

Dr. Aron: Yeah, but we do other things too. I mean, the summer before last, we went rafting down the Colorado in the Grand Canyon. We try to do different kinds of things. This weekend, we’re going to take our grandson to a horse race. We haven’t been to a horse race in years. You know, things that are new and different.

older couple in love

Stuart: Right, and I also like to tell couples that it doesn’t have to be that different, it just has to be something different than what you normally do, which is where the whole date night concept comes in and, you know, taking time aside just for the two of you, devoted for your relationship, and doing something that you both enjoy and it’s different than what you normally do every other day.

Dr. Aron: Yeah. The data we have suggests that both are important, that it be something you’ll enjoy, and certainly not overly stressful, but also new. Doing the same old, same old, even if it’s enjoyable, does not have anywhere near the same effect.

Stuart: Right. It’s interesting because I just did a podcast with someone and it was about, you don’t have to wait for the weekends to sort of do something fun. And part of what my wife and I do, and a lot of people look to vacations for this, but I think it’s too long in between, is what you’re saying, is that we need to do it all the time, like zip-lining or doing something that’s totally different than what you normally would do, that’s what’s important.

Dr. Aron: Yeah, and on a regular basis. My wife and I love to go see plays, which we do all the time, although plays and movies are kind of interesting because you’re getting engaged in something new and exciting sometimes, but one night we were walking back from a play in Manhattan, and we walked by a bar and said, “You know, we haven’t hung out in a bar in years and years. Let’s just go hang out in the bar.” And that was fun and different.

Stuart: Right. And music does it for us too. I think music just has so many levels to it.

Dr. Aron: Oh, yeah.

Staying Power

love lastStuart: Talk a little bit about the staying in love. We have this of building the passion and building it, I wonder how your research has shown about couples who are together for a long time. And you did mention about doing things, but are there any tips that you can give couples through your research on how to keep the passion alive and how to really have a relationship where you can feel confident that you two are going to be together forever?

Dr. Aron: Well, I would say, from looking at my own research and the larger body of research that, of course, you do have to attend to first to being sure that you’re not overwhelmed by the problems.

Stuart: Right.

Dr. Aron: Clearly. And external stressors are a huge one that it’s hard to do much about. But also, you know, things like making sure you’ve got good relationships with your in-laws and your family, and things like…

Stuart: Children.

Dr. Aron: Yeah. And if either of you are anxious or depressed or insecure, you know, probably the biggest thing you can do is work on yourself. People don’t want to hear that. But, presuming those, and then there’s communication skills, which are a huge factor, presuming those things are reasonably in place, then, what can you do to get beyond it just being okay? And there, I think, we don’t know as much. We know it’s possible, and one of the things is doing exciting things together, we have a lot of evidence that that helps, but there’s not much else.

There’s, you know, this research on celebrating your partner’s successes, and there’s some work on, like doing this 36 questions together, again, in part, because it’s novel and different, and in part it’s because that’s another line of research, strengthening friendships with other couples also, there’s some evidence that, both from the 36 questiion research and more general. Remembering to show gratitude… These are pretty much all we know at this point of what can be done, but those things seem to matter a lot.

One U.S. national survey we did a couple years ago, something like 40% of the respondents claimed to be very intensely in love with their partner, people who had been married 10 years or longer. Now, of course, those are the ones still together, so it’s probably not 40% of people who get married, but still, that was impressive. Now, of course, what they mean by “very intensely in love” we don’t know, and we’re hoping to get some funding to do a more thorough study of that. We do have the fMRI study that shows us that it’s possible to be very intensely in love.

Body and Mind

You know, physical things also seem to matter, like the quality of your sex life, and not even just sex life, but just kissing and hugging, and physical connection.

kissingStuart: The affection.

Dr. Aron: The affection, the physical affection.

Stuart: Right.

Dr. Aron: As well as the emotional, of course.

Stuart: See, for me, when I think of it, I think of it in terms of authenticity, that if I really have a good sense, more than just words, an experience with my partner that I can be who I am – the good, the bad, the ugly – and know that my partner is truly there for me, loves me in spite of that and even sometimes because of the things that I don’t even like about myself. So it goes to your comment earlier about security, the security that your partner truly is there and that if you have that kind of relationship, having it last and working through anything that might come up is what’s going to keep you together.

Dr. Aron: Well, that certainly helps. One of the things that’s been found is that insecure people and people with low self-esteem, even when they have a partner who loves and trusts and respects them, they don’t believe it.

Stuart: Mm-hm.

Dr. Aron: On the other hand, people with high self-esteem and a lot of security sometimes can think their partner cares for them more than they do.

Stuart: Although I might go to calling that narcissistic.

Dr. Aron: Beyond a certain point, yes.

Stuart: Yeah.

Dr. Aron: Yeah.

Bringing Work Home

Stuart: That’s great. How do you think your research and what you’ve done has impacted your relationship with your wife?

Dr. Aron: Oh, dramatically. As I was saying earlier, when we do studies, when we read studies, we take advantage of them in our own life. We very explicitly do that, both to sort of test them but also because we want as good a relationship as possible, and we’re doing pretty well.

Stuart: And it doesn’t mean that you don’t sometimes get triggered, right?

Dr. Aron: What do you mean by triggered?

Stuart: Someone doing something that then flares you up and takes you to a place where you get really upset with your partner.

Dr. Aron: No, no, that’s never happened.

Stuart: Is she around? I might have to ask…

Dr. Aron: No.

Stuart: No, I know, I’m kidding.

You Can Take It to the Bank

fixing loveYou know, because I think what happens with those, what I call as an emotionally focused therapist, triggers, which are those interpretations that take you to a really negative place, and what I like to talk about it as, you get tokens in the bank, which means that if you have all of these things happening, the experiences that you were talking about, the rituals, the new experiences, the disclosure, and someone does something that has you feel like they don’t care because that’s the emotional place you’re at, you’re able to have enough memory bank going to say, “But what about yesterday? They did all of these good things. We had all this fun. I may be misinterpreting what’s happening,” and giving you and your partner the ability to then repair it.

Dr. Aron: Yeah, that sounds right. It reminds me of the research on the effect of being under stressors. When people are under stressors, they have a really hard time doing that.

Stuart: Mm-hm.

Dr. Aron: In fact, they behave badly because of the stress, and if the partner’s also under stress, they behave badly in interpreting it and things can just get out of hand, and because you don’t have that memory bank available when you’re under great stress even if it’s there.

Stuart: Right. And I think the other dimension that we know is that when people feel disconnected, and these are in relationships, and not necessarily secure, that fear of not having a connection brings people into that place of primal panic. And then, how people react to each other can just take you to an extreme place because feeling like you’re going to be alone, for some folks, is just so devastating.

Dr. Aron: For some folks it would be good if they could get out of the relationship.

Stuart: Well, right. I mean, you have to look at that as well, of course.

Windows to the Soul

You know, I really appreciate all the insight and all the input, and one of the things, when I looked at… We’re almost out of time, but I wanted to ask one question of you, which is, when I looked at some of the questions, there was one piece in here, and I believe it was a four-minute stare, is that correct?

Dr. Aron: Yes and no. That is not part of the standard, what we call, closeness procedure – fast friends procedure is our actual name for it. It is part of a more intense procedure we used in another study that we have not validated very much. It was part of a whole series of things to create, in this case, was to create a sense of romantic closeness, not necessarily falling in love, and it was part of it.

There is some old research showing that couples who are in love, if you have them have a conversation, or while they’re waiting for the next phase of the study you video them and you measure how much time they spent looking in each other’s eyes, couples who are in love spend more time looking in each other’s eyes than those who aren’t in love or not as much in love. But, we have not validated it. The New York Times article threw that in for… I sort of know the history of how that got thrown in, but it’s not actually part of the standard procedure. I wouldn’t think it would hurt.

Stuart: Right, and then when I looked closer at it, it’s really about, because I think what you just talked about in terms of the staring, for me that would be sort of the comfort you have with someone, that if you can sort of stare at them and look at them, and you do that, you just feel it’s all sort of a natural kind of thing.

The other is, how much time you take to talk about your life story, because that’s what I was just seeing. It says, “Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.” To me, that’s about how inclusive and how much energy you’re going to put into giving someone that part of you, possibly at least.

Giving and Receiving

Dr. Aron: Yeah, yeah. I mean, and it’s, again, your sense of how responsive the partner is, how much they understand, how much they validate what you had to say, how much they care about you. So, when you’re doing that, you’re sort of looking for their response.

Stuart: So what you’re saying really is, it goes right to the heart for me, which is, I tell people all the time there’s really three areas to know if your relationship is strong: Are you accessible? The second one, which you’ve talked a tremendous amount about: Are you responsive? And then: Do you engage with your partner? So, if you have those three qualities, you can be feeling pretty good that your relationship’s in a good place.

Dr. Aron: Sounds right.

Stuart: So, I want to thank you again for coming on and sharing your study and sharing a bit about what we’ve learned because I think all it’s going to do is help my audience really understand, number one, that love is real and possible, you can have a love that is filled with a life of wonderfulness and feeling important to your partner, and that we all have that in us and we all need that. And as long as we can be as responsive as we can to our partners, we can feel pretty good that our life’s in a good place.

Dr. Aron: I thank you for emphasizing those things, and thank you for doing these podcasts. What you’re doing is bringing to the world something so important to help, not just from me but from all your podcasts, to help people strengthen this really central part of their lives.

Stuart: Thank you Dr. Aron. Thank you, Art. And we’ll talk to all of you next time. Take care. Bye-bye.

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