Campus: San Francisco State University -- February 13, 2002

St. Valentine's Day Is Just The Start For Life-Long Love In Study From SFSU

As St. Valentine's Day approaches, we all think about either falling in love or being in love. But how can we make love and relationships grow stronger years after the excitement of that first, special St. Valentine's Day together?

San Francisco State University professor and Martin Heinstein, who has studied love and relationships for years and has even created a popular class at S.F. State on the psychology of love, has a few tips:

  • Communicate honestly with your partner. "You have to be able to open up and put issues on the table in a helpful, but not hostile manner. Don't point fingers."

  • Intimacy must always remain important. "As we tend to lead separate lives outside of the home and in the workplace, there is a very strong need to feel as one; to be connected with our loved one. I think this is truer today than ever before because of the events of Sept. 11," he says.

  • Commit to your relationship. "Although you know there may not be romance every moment, you feel your partner is the only one for you. And there are no doubts about that," says Heinstein.

  • Continue to care for your partner. Always feel that what happens to your partner really matters to you.

  • Know the difference between immature love and mature love. "I don't think it is very mature to say 'I love you because I need you.' I think it might be more mature to say 'I need you because I love you,' " he says.

  • Learn from your past personal relationships. How did your parents relate to each other as you grew up? How do you treat your siblings or your closest friends? "When you look at those relationships, you can see what works and what doesn't work for a stable, happy relationship. If you don't know your personal history, you will likely repeat mistakes over and over again. When you learn about yourself, then you can begin to learn more about love," says the professor.
Heinstein's hints aren't idle thoughts. A member of the faculty at S.F. State for nearly 45 years but now on early retirement, Heinstein has compiled a 150-page manuscript he hopes to publish one day on how love is viewed through ages. And he has some real-world experience as well. Heinstein was divorced after 12 years of marriage and three children. Now at 82 years of age, he has been married for 35 years and has two other children. "You're never too old to learn more about this thing called love," he says.

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