Dr. Sadie Leder Elder also offers insight on how the COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted romantic relationships.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 8, 2021 – Dr. Sadie Leder Elder, associate professor of psychology at High Point University, is an expert on the one thing that people never get tired of talking about – relationships. This real life “love doctor” conducts research on romantic phenomena, such as love, attraction and commitment.

With Valentine’s Day later this month, Elder is available to provide insight on some of the topics that surround the holiday and how COVID-19 has impacted romantic relationships. 

Effects of COVID-19:

The COVID-19 global pandemic has made it difficult to go out and be social. Many of us are still under executive orders that prohibit us from sitting in a crowded restaurant. This year, try ordering take-out or delivery from your favorite restaurant and have a romantic night in.

Effect of Technology on Relationships:

Online dating diminishes serendipity: Online dating provides access to so many partners that finding someone online feels less special than meeting someone in real life. Accordingly, people may underappreciate a well-matched partner met online, because so many available alternatives are salient.

How might Facebook harm your relationship? It causes jealousy, and although it doesn’t cause infidelity, it can increase uncertainty about what your partner is doing and attention to alternatives, both of which undermine commitment to your current relationship.

Meeting someone online this Valentine’s Day? Be careful of anyone who seems too good to be true. Look for signs of deception (or catfishing) online.

Date Ideas for Celebrating Valentine’s Day:

Pick an exciting activity: Passionate love is the product of arousal and attribution. By picking an activity that provides physiological stimulation, partners fuel passionate attraction. Ideas may include amusement or trampoline parks.

Go someplace warm: People view each other as interpersonally warm after being exposed to physical warmth. So this Valentine’s Day, seek out warm locations and even warm foods and beverages. These have been shown to increase positive perceptions of your partner. Cold foods, on the other hand, lead us to think of those around us as interpersonally cold, as well as lead us to feel less connected.

Celebrate with a heavy gift: Weight is used as a cue for importance, so if you want your partner to feel special, wrap their Valentine’s Day gift in a heavy box.

Making Yourself Desirable to Anyone:

Wear red this Valentine’s Day: The color red has been shown to increase perceptions of physical attractiveness for males and females who are wearing it. 

A little self-monitoring goes a long way: People differ in the degree to which they regulate their behavior to accommodate the social situation at hand. People who are high self-monitors may be more successful at the early stages of dating, as they easily fit in to their partner’s life. Caution is urged to not change too much to secure a romantic partner, as ultimately people need to be their authentic selves.

Dos and Don’ts of Flirting Online:

Avoid oversharing online: Limited social cues and the tendency to forget about the storage and replicability aspects of online communication lead us to be particularly candid in our communication and pictures, which can ultimately be bad.

Use emojis and emoticons to connote closeness: When nonverbal cues are absent, people must rely on other signals to relay their desire for connection. The use of emojis and emoticons make written and online communication less formal. This, in turn, creates a sense of closeness, and has been shown to be effective in flirting.

Consider how long you take to respond: Responsiveness to a partner’s needs is a hallmark of a successful relationship. Interestingly, it appears that temporal responsiveness to a partner’s online message is also an indicator of connection. Quickly responding to a partner’s text message demonstrates care and concern.

Rekindling a Relationship:

Rekindling is getting back into a relationship with an ex-partner, and research has shown that this typically results in a relationship that is less satisfying and stable than relationships that don’t involve ex-partners. Anywhere from 25% to 75% of people have done this. A solid estimate would be that roughly 50% of people have rekindled at some point in their relationship past.

At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people.® HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with 5,600 undergraduate and graduate students. It is ranked No. 1 by U.S. News and World Report for Best Regional Colleges in the South and No. 1 for Most Innovative Regional Colleges in the South. The Princeton Review named HPU in the 2021 edition of “The Best 386 Colleges” and on the Best Southeastern Colleges “2021 Best Colleges: Region by Region” list. HPU was recognized as a Great School for Business Majors and a Great School for Communication Majors. HPU was also recognized for Best College Dorms (No. 1), Most Beautiful Campus (No. 9), Best Career Services (No. 19) and Most Active Student Government (No. 19). For 10 years in a row, HPU has been named a College of Distinction with special recognition for career development, business and education programs, and The National Council on Teacher Quality ranks HPU’s elementary education program as one of the best in the nation. The university has 60 undergraduate majors, 63 undergraduate minors and 14 graduate degree programs. It is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the web at highpoint.edu.

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