Part II: Doctor Of Love

Will Epstein's Experiment Work?

Gabriella "Gabi" Castillo is a beautiful, well-known figure in the Caracas, Venezuela arts community.

She loves her life in Venezuela, but believe it or not, she's unlucky in love.

Gabi, who is divorced and the mother of three children, has agreed to take part in Dr. Robert Epstein's "Learning To Love" experiment.

“I think my relationships have failed because they are based in passion, and passion goes away,” says Gabi.

If she hopes to remove passion from her love life, she has certainly come to the right man. She seems like an odd choice for Epstein’s experiment because she lives in South America, but Epstein says the timing is just right.

“She’s in the process of switching careers,” says Epstein. “So I got lucky.”
Gabi visits Epstein in February, to begin the four-month “Learning to Love” experiment. Her plan is to visit Epstein for three weeks at a time and stay at his house while they conduct the experiment. Between visits, she’ll return home to see her kids in Venezuela.

During this time, Epstein has been busy promoting his experiment in the media, and he’s conducting interviews for his magazine.

So Gabi is left alone to prepare for a party that will kick-off their relationship: “I’m a little bit nervous, I must admit. It’s amazing somehow that my life changed so much.”

All that’s left to formally begin this experiment is the official signing of the contract. And that’s set to take place at Epstein’s house on Valentine’s Day.

Gabi’s skeptical sister, Claudia, has come to the party, and even helped design the love contract. “I think it’s a challenge, for my sister, I’m speaking for my sister,” says Claudia.

But Gabi seems ready for the challenge. She and Robert read the contract out loud, sign the agreements and kiss.

Now, it’s time to see if Robert and Gabi have what it takes to learn to love each other.
The couple first travels to northern California to see relationship guru and best-selling author John Gray.

“All I want to do for you in therapy is to give you the experience of making her happy,” says Gray. “And what I want to do for her in therapy is give her the experience that she will be seen, she’ll be heard, and she’ll be understood.”

But in a marathon session, Gray discovers that in this relationship men are from Mars and women are from Venezuela.

Now, Gray’s main challenge is to help the two overcome doubts and fears about this brand-new relationship.

“My fear is that she’s still in love with her last boyfriend, I’m not as good as he was for her, I’m not good enough for her, I’m going to lose her,” Epstein tells Gray.

“My fear is that I’m wondering if it’s worth being away from my children for a man,” says Gabi.

“Just maybe hold his hands and tell him what you’re afraid of,” advises Gray. “This is scary. You’re giving up, from one point of view, your whole life. Let the feelings come out.”

“I miss my life there, and I miss my what I’m doing there, and I miss my friends,” says Gabi. “And life is totally different here for me.”

At the end of the session, Gray says there's tremendous potential for this relationship to succeed: “There’s clearly chemistry between them. I mean when she opened up and he came closer to her, it was thick in the room.”

“It’s amazing to feel that the counseling can really make you start having feelings for a person that you hardly knew,” says Gabi.
But the real challenge for Gabi and Robert will come in the world outside of therapy, where they will face complications, like children -- and where there is no counselor to help them understand each other.

“It hasn’t been easy. We are normal people. And it’s not a fairy tale at all,” says Gabi.

“This is not reality TV,” adds Epstein. “This is reality.”

Part III: Two Different Worlds




  • Rebecca Leung

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