There are three pillars in a relationship: emotional connection, intimacy and mutual benefits. Apparently, the most important pillar is emotional connection, but how can we build and maintain a genuine emotional connection so that a relationship will be sustainable in the long term?

  • What is emotional connection?

Experiences that you have shared with your partner are the foundation of emotional connection. If a relationship only has intimacy and mutual benefits, that’s actually an arrangement because these two pillars are about physical needs and the logical brain. Yet the emotional brain must be switched on in order to feel true love. Therefore, emotional connection is paramount in a long-term relationship. Statistics show that shared experiences between two people are the building blocks of emotional connection, because through experiences we truly understand each other in a comprehensive way.

Which experiences build emotional connections fast? According to a major study in Australia, experiences that involve emotional investment build emotional connections quickly. For instance, if a man and a woman go out to see a horror movie together, chances are she will need his “protection” because the movie is scary. And that’s exactly when she will sit on his laps. Another example is when a man and a woman go to climb a mountain together, perhaps she will need him to hold her hand at times (think when Jack officially meets Rose on Titanic – she needs him to hold her hand as she was climbing back to the ship at night). That will definitely make this guy feel like a real man and make this girl feel like a feminine woman.

How to benefit from experiences in the long run: Make sure you take some photos when you go out with your partner. For example, if you and your partner visit Paris together, you should definitely take lots of photos in Paris and then select several extremely good photos & have them framed. Now whenever you see those beautiful photos on the wall at home, you can savor those unforgettable memories for the rest of your life, as they are your emotional buttons from now on. This will make the emotional connection better, stronger and sweeter.

  • Build an emotional connection from the first date:

The first date is oftentimes exciting…and it makes you nervous a little bit, which is a good thing! Now I’d like to share some new ideas for a first date (and it’s not what you think…)

Go to a coffee shop and sit next to your date, side by side. This is how you can easily have physical touch without being awkward because you are sitting next to each other.

Sitting opposite to your date face-to-face is the awkward “job interview” style which doesn’t allow physical touch. Sadly, a dinner date usually looks like this!

Create an external focus on the first date. In order to make the first date less intense and more enjoyable, you would be well-advised to create an external focus, e.g. you can go to a gallery or a museum together so that you can focus on something external instead of talking about yourselves only. This helps you to communicate in a natural and organic way.

Make it short and sweet. A lady told me that she made out with a guy on their first date and he never contacted her again. Further examination reveals that her first date was too long. In fact, it’s better if your first date is only 30 minutes – 1 hour. That’s why I don’t recommend a dinner date. Just end the first date when both of you feel great, and then you will surely want to have a second date.

  • The importance of values (dating safely):

How to clarify your values and your partner’s values: To find out whether your values and your partner’s values are compatible or not, you can read Sidney B. Simon’s book Values Clarification which assesses your values in detail. For example, you and your partner can read this book together and do the activities in this book. Then you will learn a lot about yourself and your partner.

When your values and your partner’s values are compatible: Let’s say you highly value education, so you want to read a lot. However, your partner highly values entertainment, so he/she wants to watch TV. In this case, although you two have different values, your value systems are compatible because when you are reading a book at home, your partner can watch TV. There is nothing wrong with that; therefore, this relationship is sustainable.

When your values and your partner’s values are incompatible: If you highly value family and certainly want to have kids, but your partner highly values personal freedom, so he/she definitely doesn’t want to have kids. This may become a deal-breaker because your blueprint and your partner’s blueprint can’t co-exist. In the long term, there will be significant issues in this relationship.

Exposure leads to attraction. By that I mean when you spend a lot of time with a girl, she will gradually feel attracted to you, even though you aren’t the most attractive guy in her world. For instance, most office affairs happen because of this theory – there are only five people in the office: a man and a woman spend 8 hours in the office (the other three co-workers are either over 60 years old or female); therefore, this woman is very likely to feel attracted to this reasonably attractive guy in the office. Or if a guy with good hygiene/grooming is quite active in a social circle that is full of people who aren’t his competitors (other people in this social circle are overweight men, men over 60 years old, female friends, etc.), then women in this social circle will be attracted to him gradually. Therefore, if you’d like to make a woman like you, your first step is to spend more time around her and don’t get any competitors involved.

Talk less and listen more. As you are talking to a woman that you like, don’t talk fast. You must slow down. This will relax you and the occasional silence will make her want to talk more, so she will invest in the conversation. The more she invests in the conversation, the more she will feel that she needs to try hard to get you. Now you are turning the tables. Mainstream magazines tell you that you should talk more to please women, but that’s not what women want in a man. If you’d like to learn how to attract women, you may want to stop reading mainstream magazines altogether, because most mainstream magazines are written by journalists who don’t have a good understanding of female psychology and human dynamics (journalism isn’t dating advice).

Now when you introduce pauses occasionally in the conversation, your eyes slowly “travel” on her face: You look at her lips for one second; you look at her nose for one second; you look at her eyes for one second. Of course, you aren’t going to count 1, 2, 3 in your head, yet you’ve got the gist – You just look at different areas on her face slowly and be very relaxed. Don’t grin at her while doing this; instead, you should have a subtle smile with dreamy eyes (slightly drunk eyes). She has seen enough Hollywood romantic movies to understand what that is.

“The right eye contact makes the date more interesting.”