Loving Eye Contact: How Mutual Staring Can Create Passion
Research shows a passionate gaze can promote attraction and love.
Posted Mar 31, 2015 | Reviewed by Matt Huston
Welcome back to The Attraction Doctor
Over the years, I have discussed several ways to increase attraction, passion, and loving feelings with a potential date, lover, or partner. Some of those methods include:
- Playing hard to get (see here).
- Engaging in exciting or stimulating dates and activities together (here).
- Gradually increasing physical contact and touch (here and here).
- Working on physical appearance, style, and grooming (here).
- Getting your date or mate to invest in the relationship (here).
- Rewarding a date or partner for positive and affectionate behaviors (here).
In addition to those methods, I have also explored how eye contact, combined with other body language, can help get the attention of a possible date or mate (see here). Staring with an inviting gaze can often pique someone's initial interest. Beyond that, however, sometimes eye contact can fan the deeper flames of passion and attraction.
Research on Looking and Loving
Researchers Kellerman, Lewis, and Laird (1989) set out to explore the effects of mutual eye contact on participants' feelings of romantic love. In two experiments, participants were randomly paired into opposite-sex couples and given the instructions to either gaze at their partner's hands, gaze at their eyes, or count the number of eye blinks for two minutes. After completing that task, participants filled out various questionnaires to assess their feelings about their assigned partner.
Results of the questionnaires indicated that couples who participated in mutual eye contact reported stronger feelings than any other group. Specifically, couples who both looked into each other's eyes reported significantly higher feelings of affection, passionate love, dispositional love, and liking for their partner. Thus, as the researchers note, "subjects induced to exchange mutual unbroken eye gaze for 2 min with a stranger of the opposite sex reported increased feelings of passionate love for each other" (p. 145).
Given the research results, it seems that eye contact may be an important part of dating and relating, beyond simply getting a lover's initial attention. Heck, if a mutual gaze in an experiment has an effect on random participants, then even challenging a potential date or mate to a friendly "staring contest" might work as well! Therefore, whether you are on your first date or your 50th anniversary, make sure to catch and keep your partner's eye for a minute or two. That passionate gaze may just make all the romantic difference...
© 2015 by Jeremy S. Nicholson, M.A., M.S.W., Ph.D. All rights reserved.
Kellerman, J., Lewis, J., & Laird, J. D. (1989). Looking and loving: The effect of mutual gaze on feelings of romantic love. Journal of Research in Personality, 23, 145-161.