Thoughts about love on Valentine’s Day

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According to psychology, fun and intimacy are crucial to a relationship. © Marijan Murat / dpa / Illustration

Some celebrate it as a day of love, while others see it as a commercial trap – Valentine’s Day. A look beyond the horizon can bring together many different things.

Berlin – even if the meaning of Valentine’s Day remains controversial – it always provides an opportunity to reflect on the infinite aspects of love.

diversity: He presents her with red roses or chocolates, perhaps an elegant dress – cliches especially boil over on Valentine’s Day. According to the Federal Statistical Office, about 281,000 same-sex partnerships were registered in 2020 alone, in which a man does not necessarily give a gift to a woman. In addition: in addition to the common form of synergy, there is also, for example, the so-called polyandry – the love of several partners. In open relationships, there is more freedom, and appointments with others are perfectly fine.

Ocean: As early as 1973, Canadian sociologist John Alan Lee identified different types of love that show that not everyone has the same expectations from a relationship. Sometimes sexual freedom is at the fore, and the obligations between the two partners do not play such a big role. But if the other person becomes the center of life, jealousy also plays a role. The feelings can then fade. Some relationships are primarily friendly: respect and tolerance are everything and the end of everything.

keep calm: Psychologist Kay Brauer of the University of Halle has found that playing in relationships is good for you. The point is to make everyday situations more enjoyable with game-like elements and thus break the routine. And then the bickering becomes easier: “New perspectives are brought into the conflict,” Prawer says.

has evolved: According to Thomas Juncker, love cannot be explained without evolution. He teaches the history of life sciences at the University of Tübingen. In the past, partnerships were primarily concerned with raising children. “They looked for someone who would work with the project,” Juncker says. Although life forms have changed dramatically today, many partners have continued to emulate the evolutionary heritage. Juncker explains that same-sex couples who adopt children often follow traditional stereotypes.

Snack: As you know, love goes through the stomach – and food always has something sensual, even sexy, says matrimonial therapist Matthias Vohrmeister of Düsseldorf. But this also depends on how the partners are socially configured. So one can attach great importance to eating together as he is used to it at home. But the other can dispense with it. Formester considers that eating together is especially important so that couples can spend time with each other, for example, take each other for a walk and surprise them. Especially if they already have children.

dance: Dance teacher and non-medical practitioner Katinka Forstmann from Bremen combines her marital therapy with dance. “It’s challenging and encouraging,” she says. Couples should be able to engage with each other when dancing. They playfully work on leadership or confidence and are given the opportunity to make things better without wasting too many words. Dancing also brings you very close: “You have to be able to smell each other,” says Forstman.

familiarity: Formeister, the couple’s therapist, sees intimacy as essential to a lasting relationship. He distinguishes between two types: physical and mental. But it depends on what the individual needs at the moment, says Formeister. It can happen that couples are very close emotionally, but haven’t had sex in years. For her, the challenge is to rediscover her physical, intimate relationship.

Not so negative: American psychologist and author John Gottman has done research on marital stability and knows exactly what to do to make relationships last longer. The secret: praise is more than criticism. His roughly “5:1 formula” states that the five positive behaviors are necessary to compensate for the negative interaction in a relationship. On the other hand, if arguments and bad experiences prevail, the end is predictable. dpa

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