THE ANSWER TO WHETHER OR NOT WE CAN MAKE SOMEONE FALL IN LOVE WITH US ISN'T ALWAYS AN EASY ONE.
PHOTO CREDITS: NICOLE MORMANN
Story by Nicole Mormann
A love theory, originally designed for a laboratory study, led Mandy Len Catron to this point – staring into a man’s eyes for exactly four minutes on a bridge at the midnight hour, as told by her recent NY Times article “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This.”
“The real crux of the moment,’ Catron said, ‘was not just that I was really seeing someone, but that I was seeing someone really seeing me.”
Catron and her male colleague found themselves on the brink of a romantic connection that night, after answering a series of 36 questions created in a study by psychologist Arthur Aron and sharing a few drinks in a bustling bar earlier. The feelings that formed in the moment led them to a relationship later on, thus proving the potential success in Aron’s method.
For thoseunfamiliar with the laboratory study, there are 36 questions, ranging from fun to extremely personal, that two people must answer followed by four minutes of staring into each other’s eyes. From an outside perspective, it may seem crazy, but the lab results say otherwise as the participants ended up marrying after six months.
In this day and age for college students, serious dating can at times seem to fit outside the norm of what is expected. Hook-up culture sometimes prevails where relationships fail in the midst of temptation, booze, and frat parties galore.
However, with studies like Aron’s in mind, there’s hope still left in the hearts of this generation. In talks with several Chapman students, it became clear there’s one thing each of them had in common – their acceptance of Catron’s message.
“Our culture and social media romanticize the idea of relationships, causing people to scramble to ‘love’ someone,” said senior Wyatt Lennertz in response to the concept of what it takes to fall in love. “It’s not supposed to be difficult.”
Far from difficult, the study showed positive results within 90 minutes of its test time – the most positive of them all being the test subjects were married six months later.
Though Catron didn’t necessarily find the same outcome with her colleague, the two ended up getting into a relationship and falling in love later on. “Arthur Aron’s study taught me that it’s possible — simple, even — to generate trust and intimacy, the feelings love needs to thrive.”
Graduated senior Yelena Kasianova seconded this notion in discussing her former relationship and views on vulnerability.
“What made me love my ex is that he opened up to me in a way I hadn’t even opened up to him,” she said. “Once you talk with someone about family and emotional issues, you have to accept them in all their flaws.”
For current senior Mor Albalak, she and her current boyfriend fell in love by chance after meeting during orientation week.
“The night we met we kind of ignored each other, but then we started hanging out a lot more and I just realized how happy he made me when we did hang out. So I went for it, and I’d say it turned out well,” said Albalak.
As far as what makes her continue to fall in love with him, Albalak said it’s a lot of things. “He’s incredibly caring. He’s there for me when I need him even when the rough times aren’t easy to deal with.”
The idea of the study that appears to parallel in the dating lives of these students is the concept of mutual vulnerability. Just as the two participants in the study chose to love each other, students like Mor and her boyfriend make the choice to be open and vulnerable with their significant others every day.
However, as senior Arianne Advincula pointed out, love doesn’t always take the form of romance.
“I think it’s possible to fall in love with friends and family through getting to know them too,” she expressed. “Because loving each other comes from getting to know someone deeply.”
Even in the case with friendships, the question remains: can you make someone fall in love with you? For Jessica Dominguez, the answer is no.
“I tried to make my high school boyfriend fall in love with me because it just seemed like the appropriate thing to do…but we weren’t exactly on the same page,” said Dominguez.
On the other hand, Dominguez doesn’t question the validity of the study.
“After 36 increasingly intimate questions and gazing into each other’s eyes for four full minutes, maybe they see the spark and confirm that heart crushing feeling of love,” said Dominguez.
When it comes down to it though, the study’s results signified the importance of building a mutual connection in a relationship between two people. It can be said that love means something different to everyone, but succeeds when two parties open themselves up to the possibility of love forming between them.
The staring bit helps as well.