Marriage therapist discusses maturity

Morgan Van Lanen, Editor in Chief

Students learned about romantic attraction and emotional maturity at Isabell Springer’s presentation through the UWO Speaker Series.

Springer is a marriage and relationship therapist and the founder of ‘LovEd’, a self-improvement organization.
Springer focused on recognizing unhealthy relationship behaviors and building fulfilling relationships with a significant other on Tuesday night in Reeve Memorial Union.

Speaker Series adviser Kayla Newman said the organization chose Springer as a presenter because she offered information most students haven’t heard in the past.

“Last year when she was presented, the committee agreed that we hadn’t had somebody like her come in before that could talk about relationships in the way that she does,” Newman said. “We thought it would be really interesting to bring her onto our campus so all of our students can understand how they can look at themselves before they would look at what they are looking for in a partner.”

Springer began her presentation by explaining why so many people struggle in the United States today to have a successful, lasting relationship. She said this is because young people are not being educated on the topic.

“We are growing up in a culture that absolutely does not value the knowledge of knowing how to love,” Springer said.

The speaker then dove into the different stages of a relationship. She said all relationships include a six – to 12 – month period called infatuation. She said many people believe they are in love during this phase, but they most certainly are not because they hardly know their significant other.

“Infatuation is not love; it is a stage,” Springer said. “We are literally on love drugs during infatuation. Infatuation is like alcohol, it impairs our decision-making.”

Springer said many people make soft commitments during the infatuation stage, which is wrong. These commitments include labeling a relationship, changing a Facebook status to “in a relationship” or saying “I love you.”

These commitments must take time, Springer said.

“We get committed to a person before we really know them because, in our culture, we get so excited,” Springer said.

The audience then learned there are two components to relationships: romantic attraction and emotional maturity.

Springer asked the audience what physical qualities they find attractive. Students yelled out, “tall, smile, eyes, beards and height.”

Springer explained there are six different levels to finding somebody attractive. She said a relationship will only work out if both parties consider the other to be at least a five, if not a six. And, if the attraction level is any lower than that, then a relationship should not even be considered.

“We can’t try to grow romantic attraction,” Springer said. “We can’t will it to happen. And there’s nothing we can do about it. And no, it will not get better later on. We cannot take that chance.”

Sex was another main topic discussed in regards to romantic attraction. Springer said the meaning of sex is that of which you make of it.

“Sex is an activity like eating candy, and it has no meaning other than the meaning you give it,” Springer said.

The other component of a successful relationship is emotional maturity, Springer said. She described this as the awareness of oneself and ones impact on others.

UWO junior Coral King said this segment is what impacted her the most.

“I learned about the importance of emotional maturity in a relationship and how others can positively impact your level of emotional maturity,” King said.

Springer asked the audience via a cell phone poll if they had ever felt undervalued, unimportant or not good enough by a significant other. Ninty seven percent said yes.

She also asked if anyone has ever been impacted by abuse, and 61 percent responded with an affirmative.

Springer said no one should ever stay in a relationship if the significant other is abusive, makes them feel undervalued, hurts them emotionally, etc., because it shows a lack of emotional maturity.

“If you see a friend in a relationship like this, steer them out of it,” Springer said. “Don’t be a passive bystander.”

Springer’s intention was not to scare students away from getting into a committed relationship. Rather, her intent was to make sure they find someone who lives up to their standards and ultimately treats them right.

“We are never giving up on love,” Springer said.