Falling in Love is Easy… Sustaining Love is Hard

By Orly Katz, LCPC at Everyday Counseling and Coaching Services

In 1997, Art Aron and his team of researchers published a study outlining the effects of asking a series of 36 questions to a stranger and having a conversation around each participant’s answers. The goal was to increase feelings of interpersonal closeness, but what researchers found was much more – participants reported falling in love.

Since then, multiple researchers and love experts have examined the 36 questions, seeking how these can be used not just to build trust in new relationships, but to reestablish it for long-term partners, and how the effects of the questions can be sustained long-term.

In this TedTalk, Mandy Catron shares with the audience her experience with the 36 questions and the unanticipated consequences of publicizing this information.

Mandy emphasizes that there isn’t a magic formula that makes these questions so effective – it’s the experience of being forced to open up, be vulnerable, and be heard. No matter how easy it is to fall in love, keeping that love, sustaining that love, isn’t as simple as just learning about and listening to one another. Consider these questions for yourself:

  • How do you decide who deserves your love?
  • How to do stay in love when times get tough?
  • How do you know when to walk away from love when it isn’t healthy?
  • How do you live with the fear and doubt that eventually enters your life when you’ve made the decision to open yourself up to love?

To read more about the 36 questions, take a look at this New York Times article. While you may not be experimenting to create love with a stranger, these are still fantastic questions to build intimacy with your partner.