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Can Acting in Love Help You Stay in Love?
Old 01-25-2013, 03:33 AM   #1
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Can Acting in Love Help You Stay in Love?

Interesting article.

"We tend to assume it's our personality -- the sum total of our attitudes, motivations and emotions -- that prompts us to either ascend a stage and address a potential audience of millions or, alternatively, stay at home with a bag of potato chips, yelling at the TV during Sunday Night Football. But the lesson of Dr. Cuddy's work, and that of many others, is that very often, it's the other way around: first we act; then we feel. And some of the earliest studies that arrived at this conclusion concerned not feelings of confidence, but those of attraction and love."

Dr. Craig Malkin: Can Acting in Love Help You Stay in Love?

I hope some forum participants will find this useful.

Ob
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:32 AM   #2
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Thank you for sharing; I am very interested in this line of research but had missed this TEDTalk.

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work is of a similar vein that has been somewhat useful to me for getting through the last few years before ER. All of this, like exercise, would almost certainly be more beneficial to me if I would actually stick with the programs.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:05 PM   #3
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I was a sullen young man, alone and introverted. I was forced into a situation where it was impossible to be unsocial/antisocial/isolated (3 yrs US Army). I learned that if one pretends to be/acts happy, one will be happy. If one pretends to be social and interested in other people, you are in fact social and will find other people interesting. It is self-reinforcing and it is human nature--we are social animals, no matter how withdrawn we are or how high we raise our defenses.

I think this extends to all relationships. There has to be a dedication behind it. If you are truly not compatible with your mate, it won't work. But taking the time and effort to express good feelings and natural warmth will pay off. It is not all about you. Pay attention.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:13 PM   #4
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Dating headline

"Misanthrope in search of similar for mutual loathing"

Why bother with feigning love if you like hating each other.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:18 PM   #5
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Or, as it is often put, feelings follow actions.

Obviously, there is a point where that doesn't happen but it does happen in many ways.

Too often people think that "feelings" are just something that they have no control over. "I can't do anything about it. It is just how I feel."

This is incredibly disempowering. When you think that you can't control your feelings and that they control you, then you lose a lot of your own control. Once you realize that feelings are something that you can change through changing your actions and your thinking then you have much more power over your own life.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:21 PM   #6
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Another way to look at is that you can choose to be happy. Sometimes that means that you can't stay in a particular relationship. Be honest with yourself, hopefully before you make significant commitments.

I remember the discussion about civil rights. Do you change people's behavior (what they do) first, or do you gradually change their minds and wait for behavior to change. We changed behavior first. Attitudes followed. Or not, but you can't make everybody happy, and sometimes it would be wrong.

Just a thought.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:39 PM   #7
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:54 PM   #8
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Fake it til you make it, to sum it up.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:21 PM   #9
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I do believe in the premise of the OP article. It may be difficult in practice, so I need to remind myself of this often.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:03 PM   #10
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:08 PM   #11
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I think acting happy can make you feel happier. In fact, I think this works for many emotions.

But you asked about love.

I think that love is an emotion that is better when it is not forced. If it just isn't there, IMO it is time to face that, and find the courage to deal with it.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:17 PM   #12
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Agree with most of the comments above. It seems to me that some participants to this ER website may seem a bit sad, sometimes irritable, or even depressed in a couple of cases. I won't give names :-) Act happy and feel happy !
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:18 PM   #13
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I suppose arranged marriages work? on faked love. Or more along the lines of you will like it and you will enjoy it.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by obgyn65 View Post
It seems to me that some participants to this ER website may seem a bit sad, sometimes irritable, or even depressed in a couple of cases.
Does your insurance company know you are providing online diagnosis and medical advice?
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:25 PM   #15
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Agree with most of the comments above. It seems to me that some participants to this ER website may seem a bit sad, sometimes irritable, or even depressed in a couple of cases. I won't give names :-) Act happy and feel happy !
That is also how I describe people who disagree with me all the time.
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:26 PM   #16
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:-) my comments were not specific to any particular person or situation. :-)
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Does your insurance company know you are providing online diagnosis and medical advice?
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Old 01-25-2013, 05:33 PM   #17
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When I was a young girl, and going through the terrible angst and misery that many of us associate with our Junior High School years, my (dear, departed) mother told me to act happy whether I felt happy or not. She said that if I put a big smile on my face and acted happy, eventually I would be happier.

I hate to admit it, but it worked. I was pretty suggestible at that age, though, so that might explain it.
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:42 PM   #18
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I think acting happy can make you feel happier. In fact, I think this works for many emotions.
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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
But you asked about love.
I think that love is an emotion that is better when it is not forced. If it just isn't there, IMO it is time to face that, and find the courage to deal with it.
I agree with this. Whether feigning emotions is good or not depends on a lot of things. If one is depressed, probably best to do something to feel better, and acting happier may help. OTOH, how healthy overall is trying to adjust oneself to a bizarre environment?

Same with love. If one is married and retired, and a divorce would blow him out of the water financially, how much real choice does he have? If the other party agrees, they can just continue to live side by side, as roommates. I have never seen it work with younger people, but I do know some 50+ people who do it, I can't testify as to their happiness or unhappiness. While these people don't bother to act in love, they do try to avoid annoying one another directly. This is the walking on eggs solution.

If this does not appeal, one of them can try the acting in love idea. My guess is that this ends with that party being very angry, trying to deal with the rejection that comes his/her way. Or I suppose it might eventually change the attitudes of the party who is not playing this acting game.

I am pretty sure that these ideas would not be super popular with the kind of people who write books other than pop self help; existentialists for example.

Another possibility is just to take risks. If a price is paid, it happens.

When my marriage was looking like it needed oxygen, I ran across a little book that said, "it isn't worth the trouble. Who do you know that has turned this kind of thing around?" I found that idea immensely liberating, because up until that time I had accepted that it was my responsibility to find a solution for our joint unhappiness.


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Old 01-26-2013, 11:42 AM   #19
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&ldquo;Love is a verb. Love &ndash; the feeling &ndash; is the fruit of love the verb or our loving actions. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her.&rdquo; ― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

I find this to be true. Loving actions can produce the emotion - it's not about faking it.

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Old 01-26-2013, 11:54 AM   #20
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&ldquo;Love is a verb. Love &ndash; the feeling &ndash; is the fruit of love the verb or our loving actions. So love her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her.&rdquo; ― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

....
And don't forget, if you can't be with the one you love...
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