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Why crying is one of the best things you can do for your relationship

Posted April 18

Next time you go on a first date, make sure you bring your heart with you, and put it on your sleeve.

That’s because a new study has found that crying or showing deep emotional responses during a date can actually make you more attractive.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that there’s a link in the brain between understanding one’s emotion and personal attraction, meaning that someone will be more attracted to you if they can understand your emotions.

"Humans interacting with other humans must be able to understand their interaction partner’s affect and motivations, often without words," the study said.

To find this, researchers from three different German universities ran two experiments. In the first, researchers showed 19 male and 21 female volunteers videos of women experiencing fear and sadness. They were then asked to choose which emotion was shown and identify how confident they were about their selections. The volunteers were then asked to enlarge the picture of the woman in the video to assess how attracted they were to her, and were asked a few questions about the woman.

In the second experiment, the researchers had a new group of volunteers watch women in the videos while undergoing fMRI imaging to measure brain activity.

The researchers combined both sets of data to see if there were any patterns. They saw that the reward centers in the participants’ brains lit up when they watched the videos of women who they understood more.

So “in addition to physical attractiveness, people are attracted to other people due to their own feelings of similarity to another person, which gives them a feeling of understanding, or connectedness,” according to Medical Xpress.

But expressing emotion isn’t always easy for people, especially when they’re on a date or spending time with their partner. This can actually be problematic for a relationship, too, according to Margarita Tartakovsky of PsychCentral. She said some partners maintain feelings of sadness and worry for their partner, which makes it harder for their spouse or partner to fix any issues that plague the relationship.

“If you’re not authentically experiencing, expressing, and learning from your emotions, then that erodes trust, security, intimacy and closeness,” Jared DeFife, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and relationship coach, told PsychCentral.

This is why some couples will engage in specific discussion-based activities to make sure their voices are heard. I’ve written before about how marriage audits and marriage performance reviews are both used by couples to share their grievances and emotional struggles in a relationship.

But sometimes that isn’t enough. Daters sometimes need an extra push for them to share their emotions.

This is where music can be a fairly influential medium.

As Fast Company explains, one of the many ways music connects with our brains is through helping us work with our emotions. It allows our brain to cope with and think about our different emotions, even allowing us to be emotionally stable.

“This means that sometimes we can understand the emotions of a piece of music without actually feeling them, which explains why some of us find listening to sad music enjoyable, rather than depressing,” according to Fast Company. “Unlike in real life situations, we don’t feel any real threat or danger when listening to music, so we can perceive the related emotions without truly feeling them — almost like vicarious emotions.”

It’s no secret that your relationship or dating experience will go through a wealth of emotions. And there’s no shortage of musical tracks to describe each of those events. So we’ve put together a playlist below of 15 songs that accurately describe the emotional moments you may experience throughout a relationship.

1. The first date — "We Found Love" by Rihanna

It can be awkward, it can be hectic and it can also be one of the best nights of your life.

2. The second date — "It's Gonna Be Me" by 'NSync

You’re still unsure if things are going the distance.

3. The third date — "This Kiss" by Faith Hill

It looks like this is going to work out. Tonight’s the night to seal that big kiss.

4. When you’re finally official — "It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones

You did it! You’re official. Time to celebrate.

5. When you meet the parents — "Stealing Cinderella" by Chuck Wicks

Uh-oh. Parents are coming.

6. The ex factor — "Behind These Hazel Eyes" by Kelly Clarkson

The ex is in town. So what are you going to do?

7. The stability — "Still Into You" by Paramore

You’re coasting along in the relationship, and you're still in love with your partner.

8. The breakup — "Break Up In A Small Town" by Sam Hunt

Ah, the breakup. It happened. And of course you still have to see him or her around. That’s never fun.

9. The back together — "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey

Your plan to win him or her back worked, and you’re together again. Let’s celebrate for a second time.

10. The engagement — "Marry You" by Bruno Mars

You’re getting married. And you got engaged to this sweet tune.

11. The bachelorette and bachelor party — "House Party" by Sam Hunt

Get together with some friends and have a good time!

12. The wedding — "Marry Me" by Train

Tearing up yet? That first date gave birth to a beautiful relationship.

13. The wedding celebration — "The Way You Look Tonight" by Frank Sinatra

It’s a special moment, one you’ve been waiting for your whole life. And this song will surely set the mood.

14. The start of a family — "Holiday Road" by Lindsey Buckingham

Family’s on the way! You’ve got be psyched for all those family road trips.

15. The forever after — "Forever Young" by Alphaville

Retirement, some vacations to the islands and long days full of errands will fill up the rest of your days. And you couldn’t be more excited about it.

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

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