Feeling romantic? Don't write that love letter just yet.
However heartfelt, letters and e-mail professing passion are a turnoff, says a psychology professor who has studied both for two years.
The best letters avoid sex and stress commitment, says Don Forsyth of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. A too-lengthy and too-intimate expression in the first two weeks of a relationship suggests the sender is needy, he says.
Such tips on romance don't come only from experience. They can now be found in the most unromantic of places: research labs.
Forsyth is one of a cadre of researchers across the country studying romantic love. Some have studied it for decades. Now new research -- largely unpublished -- has looked at love and, in some cases, found romance.
'It's been amazing how much we have accumulated,' says Arthur Aron, a psychology professor at the State University of New York-Stony Brook.
Researchers have delved into what happens when people fall in love and how love changes, and they can even predict the most likely matches.
One new study at Stony Brook suggests that passion in long-term love can be renewed by sharing novel and challenging activities that aren't necessarily sexual; another finds that the brain associates love with intense reward, similar to a drug. A third study examines whether love is an emotion -- and suggests it's not. 'It looks more like a motivational state and could be associated with any emotion, whether it's satisfied or frustrated,' Aron says.
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