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Bear Your Feelings

Terri ‘The Love Doctor’ Orbuch teaches you how to love Oakland University even more

Photo of Oakland University professor Terri Orbuch sitting outside surrounded by digitally produced hearts

Terri "The Love Doctor" Orbuch, Ph.D., knows a thing or two about relationships.

Valentine's Day

icon of a calendarFebruary 5, 2018

icon of a pencilBy Emell Derra Adolphus

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When was the last time you said "I love Oakland University"? Relationships are complicated enough without factoring in final exams, tuition and parking. But like any long-term relationship, your relationship with OU also needs quality time and tender love and care.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we asked professor Terri "The Love Doctor" Orbuch, Ph.D., to help us reach our ultimate #RelationshipGoals with OU and how to keep those sparks flying until graduation and beyond. Here's her advice: 

Find the good 

Resist the urge to categorize your relationship with OU as a glass half full, empty, or of anything at all. Break that glass and focus on the positive things instead. “Most people think that in order to improve a relationship, you should look at the problems and try to fix them,” explains Dr. Orbuch. “But what I have researched is that those couples who strengthen what’s already going well are more likely to stay together over time.”

The fix: Strengthen what’s going well. Come out to cheer for the Golden Grizzlies during their next game or view OU's event calendar to support other events on campus. “So, focus on all the wonderful things that OU is doing and take a minute to really acknowledge and recognize those positives,” says Dr. Orbuch.

See other people

“When we’re in a relationship we think that you have to spend 24/7 with each other and you have to do everything as a couple. What I’ve learned following romantic couples is that most happy partners in a long-term relationship talk about that it’s so important to have their own time,” says Dr. Orbuch. “I think you can enrich your life as an OU student by having outside interests, activities and friends.”

The fix: Talk to the Center for Student Activities & Leadership Development about volunteer opportunities off campus. “Not only is that good for you as an individual, but then you can bring back all that knowledge back into the classroom,” says Dr. Orbuch.  

Say ‘I love you’

When it comes to school spirit, it's OK to wear your heart on your sleeve. “What we know is that regular affirmation is so important to how you feel in a relationship,” says Dr. Orbuch. “If you don’t hear that or see that in your romantic partner in a couple, then you might really feel like they don’t care, I’m not special. Then I am going to get that from someone else.” 

The fix: Visit the lower level of the Oakland Center to stock up on the latest bear bling, including hats, notebooks, T-shirts and more. “That’s making not only you feel special but also making OU feel special, too,” says Dr. Orbuch.

Take action

Don’t let the little things turn into big problems. “Don’t stay mum about minor annoyances because they will start to pile up and get bigger. By junior year you will be so done,” says Dr. Orbuch. “Those bigger issues, because they’ve got all the little things piled up, are so big to unpack. Whereas if you would have dealt with the little things, it would have been easier.”

The fix: Be a campus change-maker that helps fix the “little things” by joining Student Congress. Getting involved in Student Congress helped OU senior Jousef Shkoukani break out of his comfort zone and meet new people. "It’s a chance for you to have a little fun on campus and show some school pride," he says. And it's easy to fall in love with that. 

Dr. Terri Orbuch is a trusted relationship expert and distinguished professor of sociology at Oakland University. For more relationship advice, contact her directly at

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