Free Press Journal

Double dates may help keep your romance alive


Washington: Thinking of a candlelit dinner for two this Valentine’s day? Try going on a double date instead!

Going on a double date may reignite passion in your own relationship, a new study suggests.

Striking up a friendship with another couple in which you discuss personal details of your life will bring you closer to your own partner, researchers said.

“Passionate love is one of the first dimensions of love to decrease in couples over time as the newness of a relationship begins to wane,” said Keith Welker, a doctoral student at Wayne State University.

“Relationships have widely been thought to flourish and develop in a broader network of social relationships, while emerging research has suggested that novel, arousing experiences can increase feelings of passionate love,” Welker said.

The new research found that high-self-disclosure interactions with other couples can increase feelings of passionate love. Such interactions may cause us to perceive our partners and the relationship in a new light, researchers said.

Welker and colleagues had previously studied how self-disclosure increased closeness within couples.
“We were expecting that the formation of a friendship between two couples in the lab would increase closeness and relationship satisfaction. However, we found the robustness of the effects on passionate love surprising,” Welker said.

In two studies with about 150 couples, the researchers used the “Fast Friends” activity, developed by Arthur Aron of Stony Brook University, a co-author on the new study.

Over 45 minutes, couples answered basic “get-to-know-you” questions, such as “What is your idea of a perfect day?”

The questions progressed to much deeper, personal topics such as “What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?” or asking for advice on personal problems.

“This task has been repeatedly shown to make both strangers and friends closer to each other,” Welker said.

In one of the studies, couples who met each other through the high-disclosure Fast Friends activity reported higher feelings of passionate love than those assigned to a low-disclosure task, which involved non-emotional, small-talk questions.

In a second study, researchers found that how responsive another couple was to personal disclosure predicted the increase in passionate love following the Fast Friends task.

“The more that the other couple responds to your self-disclosures in a validating and caring way when on a double date, the more passionate you feel about your own relationship,” Welker said.

The research will be presented at a Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) meeting in Austin, Texas, this week.