It’s Not Valentine’s Day Anymore, but …

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Relationship Expert Dr. Stan Tatkin Explains How to Keep Falling In Love with a Partner

Dr. Stan Tatkin

Dr. Stan Tatkin

It’s as though, through the eyes, we have the means to fall in love at our disposal — permanently.

The chocolates have been eaten. The flowers have wilted. The cards have been put in the drawer. The romance and passion of Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but there’s still opportunity to keep love live and thriving. Leading couple therapist Dr. Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, author of Wired for Love and Wired for Dating, lends his expertise on ways to rekindle the romantic connection, even for those who think the flame has burnt out.

The eyes play an important role in igniting real love. Gazing into a partner’s eyes enables one to see not only his or her essence, but the entire play of the nervous system. While it is an unavoidable fact that the body shows signs of deterioration with age, when looking closely into the eyes of a partner, aging and deterioration fade through the eyes of the beholder. As long as people are mentally and emotionally healthy, they remain beautiful, vibrant, and vital.

“It’s as though, through the eyes, we have the means to fall in love at our disposal — permanently,” explained Dr. Tatkin. “A few minutes of sustained gazing at your partner (or anyone) can lead to relaxation, a sense of safety, and full, here-and-now engagement.” Attachment expert Daniel Stern terms this concept, “moments of meeting.”

It’s easy for two people to settle into dull familiarity when they’re living off static notions of one another, notions that are easily maintained at a distance. Dr. Tatkin continued, “When we look into one another’s eyes close up, it becomes impossible to remain in a total state of familiarity. This is because at close range, as we look into another’s eyes, what we see is inherently strange and complex. We become aware of each other’s otherness, which makes us cognizant again of novelty and unpredictability. This allows for just enough familiarity and stranger-ness to coexist, rekindling love and excitement.”

Dr. Tatkin offers an exercise to the rekindle romantic connection:

Try this exercise with a partner. A large room or outdoor area to be alone together is necessary.

1. Stand or sit in close proximity, no more than two feet apart. Ask your partner how his or her day was. As you listen and ask questions for clarification, pay attention to your partner’s eyes. What cues do you glean from them? See if you can listen and attend to the eyes at the same time. Don’t stare! Keep scanning your partner’s eyes for information.

2. After a few minutes, before your partner has finished talking, move apart from each other. If possible, have at least 20 feet between you. Again, attend to your partner’s eyes. Do you feel as connected as before?

3. Finally, conclude the conversation back in close proximity. This time, however, keep your eyes closed and use only your other near senses, such as smell and touch, and, of course, hearing.

4. Switch roles, and repeat steps 1 through 3 with the second partner asking about the first's day.

Dr. Tatkin has a clinical practice in Calabasas, CA and is best-selling author of Wired for Love and Wired for Dating. Dr. Tatkin and his wife, Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin, PhD, are cofounders of the PACT Institute. They travel the world training therapists in their unique approach to couple therapy. The Tatkins also provide Wired for Love and Wired for Relationship retreats for couples and individuals. Learn more about Dr. Tatkin at http://www.stantatkin.com.

About Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT
Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, has a clinical practice as a couple therapist in Calabasas, CA, and is assistant clinical professor at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine. He and his wife, Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin, PhD, founded the PACT Institute and lead therapist training programs in cities across the United States and around the world. Tatkin is the author of three well-received books about relationships—Wired for Dating, Wired for Love, and Your Brain on Love—and is coauthor of Love and War in Intimate Relationships. Learn more about Dr. Tatkin at http://www.stantatkin.com.

About the PACT Institute
The PACT Institute is a leading global organization that offers trainings for clinical professionals in a method designed to help secure-functioning relationships flourish. The Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy® (PACT) draws on more than three decades of research on developmental neuroscience, attachment theory, and arousal regulation. Since 2008, the PACT Institute has trained more than 1,000 practitioners across North America, Europe, and Australia and has expanded the training to three levels. PACT has gained a reputation for effectively treating even the most challenging couples. For more information visit: http://www.thepactinstitute.com.

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