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SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Diag Center.

#069--February 7, 2000; FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Kroll
phone : 415/338-1665

What's the best way to spend Valentine's Day?
Not the way you'd expect, says 'Psychology of Love' expert

SAN FRANCISCO, February 7, 2000---The most valuable way to spend Valentine's Day is to think about issues that affect your ability to love others, advises a San Francisco State University professor who teaches a popular course, "The Psychology of Love." The introspective approach will help you develop the insight you need to sustain relationships, says Prof. Martin Heinstein.

"Valentine's Day is deceptive. It doesn't emphasize the qualities that make a marriage last: communication, having fun together, adapting to differences between two people," Heinstein says. "Spend some time thinking about what you want from a relationship, what you need, what you can tolerate."

He downplays the importance of physical attraction. "The odds that love at first sight will survive are about as good as the chances you'll win the lottery," he tells his students.

"Know your love genealogy," he advises. "Love doesn't pop up suddenly in adolescence." He sees it as serial in nature, starting with a person's parents, siblings, and friends before becoming romantic. The patterns that develop in someone's early love relationships often repeat over time and need to be examined before someone can break out of them.

To his students' dismay, Heinstein suggests two strategies to find out what love actually is. The first is not to touch the other person for the first six months; the other is to be yourself. Students believe his first stricture is impossible, and they fear the other person will walk away if they adhere to the second. But he says these guidelines can help people distinguish between short-lived romance and the commitment and endurance that characterize true love. Heinstein is collecting his insights in a forthcoming book, "The Search for Love."

San Francisco State University is a highly diverse community of 27,000 students and 3,500 faculty and staff. It is one of the largest campuses in the nationally recognized 23-campus California State University system.


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