In 1970, Zick Rubin, from Harvard University, published a research paper in which he first described the difference between liking and loving, and then investigated whether couples in love spend more time gazing into each other’s eyes than couples who don’t love each other so much.
Love is generally seen as our most profound and deep-rooted emotion. It can be our most profound connection with other people, and it starts at birth, when we learn whether or not we are loved (and lovable) by the response we get from our mother as we emerge into the world.
Yet despite the importance of love to the human condition, back in 1970 very few psychologists had paid any attention to it whatsoever. If they did pay any attention to love, they often described it as an intense form of “liking”.
Loving & Liking
But is this really true? If you’re falling in love with a man, don’t you feel something different to the feelings you have when you merely like a man?
Isn’t love something that makes you think, feel and behave in a different way, a special way, towards a particular person?
Romantic love, at least, surely falls into that category? This is what we’re talking about on this blog, which is all about how to make a man fall in love with you.
That is not to deny there are different types of love. But surely the love you have for your brothers and sisters, the love you have for your spouse, and the love of God, to take only three examples, all have something in common.
But we can take it further. We can find out how people who are in love behave towards each other. We can identify characteristics which allow you to measure how much in love somebody is with you.
Now bear in mind that when you know this, you can judge how successful your attempts to make someone fall in love with you are proving…. which is, I’m sure you’ll agree, a very useful strategy in the dating and mating game.
This all follows on from Rubin’s research.
He asked young men and women at Harvard University a series of questions which were designed to identify the feeling of “loving someone” and the feeling of “liking someone”.
So for example, the scale of love, designed to identify how intense somebody’s love for their partner was, had questions like this:
- If my partner were feeling badly, my first duty would be to cheer him or her up.
- One of my primary concerns is for my partner’s welfare.
- I would forgive my partner for practically anything.
- When I’m with my partner, I spend a great deal of time just looking at him or her.
The liking scale, designed to identify how much people liked each other contained questions like these:
- Most people would react very favourably to this person after a brief acquaintance.
- I think that this person and I are quite similar to each other.
- I think that this person is unusually well-adjusted.
Obviously the idea is to produce a scale of love on a scale of liking, which people can measure how much they love and like each other.
And in fact the questions were cunningly designed to identify different aspects of a relationship such as a feeling of affiliation, or a wish to be exclusively in connection with somebody.
But the technical details don’t matter. What’s important to us here is any information we can get from the survey which is relevant to a woman who is trying to make a man fall in love with her.
Because falling in love (or being in love) is the most important thing to so many men and women alike, the signs that he’s falling in love are especially important to a woman who is in relationship with a man.
What were the important findings?
An interesting finding which comes across very clearly is that love and liking are much more highly linked among men than women – in other words, men really have to like a woman before they feel they can love her.
Women don’t show this tendency, which suggests that women can separate the experience of loving and liking the person – for a woman, liking and loving someone are not the same thing.
As you might expect, how people related their partner on the loving scale was closely linked to the extent to which they were in love.
But did those love scores correlate to any other behavior? Yes, the answer is they did. Rubin observed couples from behind a one-way mirror when they were facing each other, and measured the amount of time the couple spent gazing into each other’s eyes (at the times that they were directly facing each other).
Video – eye contact and romantic feelings
Would it surprise you to learn there was a strong tendency for couples who said they were deeply connected and deeply in love to engage in more mutual gazing or eye contact?
Probably not, because we’re all accustomed to meeting people who’ve fallen in love and have no time for anyone but their partner. And this is really interesting because the complete absorption of two lovers in each other is manifested through eye contact. It turns out that your lover does indeed “only have eyes for you”, as the song had it….
And in turn, this means the amount of time a man spends gazing directly into your eyes when you’re in close connection and facing each other is an indication of how much in love with you he is.