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Author Topic: To fall in love with anyone, do this  (Read 912 times)
livednlearned
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
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« on: January 12, 2015, 08:28:25 PM »

I read something in the new york times today, and it hit home for me. The article is "To fall in love with anyone, do this." It also made me think about those of you who are looking for potential partners via online dating.

It's based on an experiment that a psychologist did 20 years ago to see if he could get total strangers to fall in love.

The author of the article then decides she is going to try the experiment with a friend she knows from school. So not total strangers, but they also aren't romantically involved. They meet in a bar and ask each other 36 questions that were used in the original study.  

Here is the heart of the experiment: "The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. To quote the study’s authors, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure. Allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult, so this exercise forces the issue."

It made me think about how BPD relationships move so quickly. Having a poor sense of boundaries, people with BPD become very close very quickly, the tempo of these relationships is often very fast-moving. Things are disclosed quickly, feelings are made explicit quickly. In my new (healthy) relationship, we disclosed our vulnerabilities over a much steadier pace, but looking back, I see that we exchanged hints that we were both capable of vulnerability very early on, without disclosing too much. And following disclosure was respect. Vulnerability, respect, vulnerability, respect. That helped establish trust.

After a BPD relationship, it's difficult to be vulnerable. We get hurt, and then don't want to disclose our hurtness. We're afraid to go through those same painful feelings. But what I like about the study is this idea that there are many more opportunities for love than we like to believe -- what is hard is being able to reveal our intimate, vulnerable selves. Not that there is only one or two people out there for each of us. So it's an abundance model, not one of scarcity. We create the feeling that love is scarce. We wait for someone to come and see who we are, someone bold enough (BPD) so we do not have to come out of our inhibited guarded shell. Instead of having the confidence in our ability to be vulnerable, and recover from any pain that might evoke, we take what comes to us. Just in case! It might be the best we ever get. Turns out that's wrong.

Anyway, I thought about all of you, the whole dating board  Smiling (click to insert in post) and thought you might enjoy this.

Here are the questions below. There is also an exercise following the questions where you are supposed to look into the eyes of the other person for FOUR minutes. Imagine that... .windows of the soul and all that!

Set I

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Set III

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... .“

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... .“

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

It's an interesting experiment. The author ended up dating the man she did the study with  Being cool (click to insert in post)

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eagle1206

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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2015, 12:28:02 PM »

Thanks for sharing. This seems useful and I will be interested in trying this out.

A couple of questions:-

1. How to correctly interpret the responses to understand if there are any red flags coming out of the responses?

2. How to encourage your partner to take this and/or similar tests? Most people who have not experienced a relationship issues, due to mental illness, could be suspicious of these tests or could not take it that seriously.

I understand the purpose of this article is little different, but the questions above might help fully get benefit of the experiment.

Any thoughts?

 
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Pingo
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2015, 11:16:41 PM »

Will be bookmarking this livednlearned, thanks for sharing!
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Panda39
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Relationship status: SO and I have been together 9 years and have just moved in together this summer.
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2015, 08:19:25 PM »

My honey and I answered the first group of questions together in a phone conversation the other night it was really fun... .nice exercise to get to know each other even better.

On to the second group of questions  Smiling (click to insert in post) 
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"Have you ever looked fear in the face and just said, I just don't care" -Pink
mrwigand
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2015, 01:50:57 AM »

Oh this study. I have a somewhat relevant story about this.

I had a 5 month relationship with a 24 BPD woman. My experience in the relationship was certainly chaotic but it also passionate; however, we ended things on good terms (we ended things on good terms about 3 or 4 terms, there were several recycles). This article and study initself almost caused an additional recycle.

Basically, we had agreed to stop seeing each other, but we wanted the possibility for us to be friends. I told her I wanted that as well but I would need some personal space, otherwise there would just be more recycles. Anyway, literally the next day my ex was contacting me asking me to go with her to look at a new apartment because she was feeling particularly anxious about it and no one else was available, so I agreed to go. It went really well. After checking out the place, we were hanging out at my apartment and she found this study and she wanted us to answer the questions. I knew it wasn't a good idea, but I just went with it. Long story short, we answered all the questions and were kissing each other pretty quickly.

Somehow... .SOMEHOW... .This actually didn't lead to a final recycle. I had some time to consider everything and I told her I still thought it would be best if we didn't get back together, and she actually agreed.
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livednlearned
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Relationship status: Divorced January 2012
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2015, 10:22:05 AM »

After checking out the place, we were hanging out at my apartment and she found this study and she wanted us to answer the questions. I knew it wasn't a good idea, but I just went with it. Long story short, we answered all the questions and were kissing each other pretty quickly.

Good point!  The gist of the study is not so much about how to avoid BPD relationships, it's more about how emotional connection is a lot easier to create than we may think. Two people who follow the questions are more likely to discover that they are interested in each other because they were able to be emotionally vulnerable. Perhaps people with BPD are able to do this very easily, maybe they are even compelled to connect quickly, and perhaps we fall in love because of their ability to do what we struggle to do?

If I had the ability to generate connection with someone like I'm able to now (after a lot of therapy), I probably wouldn't be so swept away by the type of men I used to date. It seemed like it was special to connect like that, when this study suggests the opposite is true. It's very easy to do, but of course you have to have the courage to be vulnerable instead of just waiting for someone else to come along and do the work for you.  

Also, your comment made me realize that this study doesn't say anything about boundaries, but without good ones you could easily end up dating the same kind of person 

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Pingo
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2015, 12:03:39 PM »

I think when asking these questions or the like, we should be listening to the core values behind the responses. 

I don't have any trouble connecting emotionally with other people, I have a problem connecting with the wrong people! 
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