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Meet the Real-Life Cupid

Profile of Gary Lewandowski, Psychology Professor Who Specializes in Relationships


Real Life CupidValentine’s Day is quickly approaching and many people will be spending time with their boyfriends, girlfriends, finances, and spouses. But what draws us to these people?

Dr. Gary Lewandowski, psychology professor who specializes in relationships, studies just that. As an undergraduate, he studied at the University of Pennsylvania in Millersville, and moved on to the State University of New York at Stony Brook for graduate school.

Throughout his career, Lewandowski has been featured in many different press interviews, including CNN, The New York Times, Women’s Health, and Cosmopolitan.

Lewandowski’s studies are primarily based on relationships and the self, focusing on aspects of relationships that are healthy and beneficial to the individual. Handson research and experience are also a major part in his studies.

“My job is to be curious. My job is to ask questions. I get to ask these questions about relationships, and I have my own answers, and I get to see if those things are right,” he said. 

One of his main areas of research is the positive side to breakups. Lewandowski often observes examples of this study on our own campus.  “Former students who had me in class would learn about this research and later come up to me and say “Hey, Dr. L., I had a breakup, it was great,” he said. 

The students, Lewandowski said, are the most exciting part of what he does in his career. Getting to see his students be a part of his studies, whether it be through helping him co-write his papers or growing successfully in the relationships field independently, is most rewarding. The interaction with his students is also the reason he chose to teach.

Thus far, Lewandowski has been successful in achieving his career goals. Most recently was his website, scienceofrelationships.com. The site makes other people’s research more accessible to the general public and has been running for nearly a year. Readers can ask questions and receive responses about the studies posted. “Something that’s really important to me is getting down under the ivory tower and making sure that the things that we’re doing really benefit people more directly,” he said. 

Another one of Lewandowski’s career goals is writing a textbook which he is currently in the process of. Also, his website features a book he coauthored called “The Science of Relationships: Answers to Your Questions about Dating, Marriage and Family.”

Along with teaching an intimate relationships class at the University, Lewandowski also teaches Experimental Methods in Psychology, Senior Thesis, Intro to Psychology, First Year Seminar, and Self-identity seminars. Lewandowski will also be giving a talk on the science of high quality relationships sponsored by the Psychology Club on February 13 at 7:30 pm. This will be held in Young Auditorium in Bey Hall.

Lewandowski said, “If you really want to believe somebody is meant for you, you’ll overlook some things. So I would say love is blind, it’s deaf, it’s a little dumb.”

And for those who are living away from their partners for the first time, Lewandowski offers a reason not to worry.

“There’s a lot of work that shows that long distance relationships in a lot of ways are better. You have to base your relationship more on the good stuff like strong elements of friendship, trust, and commitment.”

He also says that there are no telltale signs of when a relationship is headed downhill.

“Relationships should be overwhelmingly positive experiences. When it gets to the point where you’re having a hard time figuring out if this is a really good thing, that’s a pretty strong sign that your relationship is shaky. Particularly in a college relationship, you should have an abundance of good experiences. You don’t have some of the stresses that long-term relationships have and there is plenty of other potential partners around,” said Lewandowski.

But as Lewandowski is a relationship optimist, he leaves young couples a few tips for this Valentine’s Day.

“There’s nothing special about diamonds and things and stuff. Stuff doesn’t matter. Valentine’s Day is an arbitrary day, but it is an arbitrary day that’s your chance to reaffirm how you feel about your partner. Really, you should make every day Valentine’s Day.”

PHOTO COURTESY of aupsychology.com