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PSYC 3630 (13)
Erin Ross (13)

chapter 6

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York University
PSYC 3630
Erin Ross

CHAPTER 6: LOVE AND CHOOSING A LIFE PARTNER o research suggests that the best way to choose a life partner is too look for someone to love who is socially responsible, respectful, and emotionally supportive; person has to be committed both to the relationship and to the value of staying together  it helps if that person also demonstrates good communication and problem- solving skills o 3/4 of women, 2/3 of men marry by age 30; more than 80% Americans have married by 40; by 24 more Americans married than cohabitating LOVE AND COMMITMENT o great majority of American view love as the primary reasons for getting and staying married o romantic love can be defined in multiple ways:  one definition might be – it’s a strong emotional bond with another person that involves sexual desire, a longing to be with the person, a preference to put the other person’s interests ahead of one’s own, and a willingness to forgive the other person’s transgressions o loving involves the acceptance of partners for themselves o Psychologist Erich Fromm (1956) chastises Americans for their emphasis on wanting to be loved rather than on learning to love  what most people in our culture mean by being lovable is essentially a mixture between being popular and having sex appeal o committing oneself to another person involves working to develop a relationship “where experiences cover many areas of personality; where problems are worked through; where conflict is expected and seen as normal part of the growth process; and where there is an expectation that the relationship is basically viable and worthwhile o commitment is characterized by this willingness to work through problems and conflicts as opposed to calling it quits when problems arise Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love o Sternberg’s triangular theory of love: 3 components necessary to authentic love  Intimacy: refers to close, connected, and bonded feelings in a loving relationship; it includes feelings that create the experience of warmth in a loving relationship – such as experiencing happiness with the loved one, sharing one’s self and one’s possessions with the loved one, receiving and giving emotional support to the loved one, and having intimate communication with the loved one --- quickest to develop and quickest to fade  Passion: refers to the drives that lead to romance, physical attraction, sexual consummation, and the like in a loving relationship --- develops slower than intimacy  Commitment: – the decision/commitment component of love – consists of not only deciding to love someone, but also deciding to maintain that love --- slowest to develop o Consummate love: composed of all three component,  is complete love a kind of love toward which many of strive, especially in romantic relationships Attachment Theory and Loving Relationships o secure attachment style: in part, depends on regarding the relationship partner as being available in times of need and as trustworthy o insecure/anxious attachment style: entails fear of abandonment with consequent possible negative behaviors such as unwarranted jealousy or attempts to control one’s partner o Avoidant attachment style: leads one to pass up or shun closeness and intimacy either by evading relationships altogether or demonstrating ambivalence, seeming preoccupied, or otherwise distancing oneself Facts about Families: Six Love Styles 1. Eros: (root word for erotic) is characterized by intense emotional attachment and powerful sexual feelings or desires 2. Storage: is an affectionate, companionate style of loving; this love style focuses on deepening mutual commitment, respect, friendship over time, and common goals 3. Pragma: (root word for pragmatic) it emphasizes the practical element in human relationships and rational assessment of a potential partner’s assets and liabilities  ex. arranged marriages; so is a person who decides very rationally to get married to a suitable partner 4. Agape: emphasizes unselfish concern for a beloved’s needs even when that requires personal sacrifice- often called altruistic love; it emphasizes nurturing others with little conscious desire for a return other than the intrinsic satisfaction of having loved and cared for someone else 5. Ludus: focuses on love as play/fun; it emphasizes the recreational aspects of sexuality and enjoying many sexual partners rather than searching for one serious relationship 6. Mania: designates a wild or violent mental disorder, an obsession, or a craze  it involves strong sexual attraction and emotional intensity, as does eros, however mania defers from eros in that manic partners are extremely jealous and moody, and their need for attention and affection is insatiable  manic lovers alternate between euphoria and depression  the slightest lack of response from a love partner causes anxiety and resentment Three Things Love Isn’t Martyring o martyring: involves maintain relationship by consistently minimizing one’s own needs while trying to satisfy those on one’s partners Manipulating o means seeking to control the feelings, attitudes, and behavior of your partner in underhanded ways rather than by directly stating your case  premise that: I can get him/her to do what I want, then I’ll be sure he/she loves me  if don’t get their way, they say “you don’t really love” Limerence o have you ever been taken with someone that couldn’t get him/her out of your mind Dorothy Tennov termed this limerence, she makes the following points: 1. limerence is not just “lust” or sexual attraction – people in limerence fantasize about being with the limerent object in all kinds of situations, not just sexual ones 2. many of us have experienced limerence 3. limerence can possibly turn into genuine love, but more often does not o people discover love; they simply don’t find it  discovering implies a process – developing and maintaining a loving relationship require seeing the relationship as valuable, committing to mutual needs, satisfaction, and self-disclosure, engaging in supportive, communication, and spending time together MATE SELECTION AND RELATIONSHIP STABILITY o relationship stability, happiness, and satisfaction depend upon how the partners interact with each other as well as on the perceived social support the couple receives from family members, friends, and the community in general  how partners interact with each other depends upon a person’s ideas about the partner and the relationship – these attitudes and beliefs depend on each partner’s personality traits o marital stability: staying married o supportive interaction results in greater marital satisfaction – greater marital satisfaction, in turn, results in the greater likelihood of marital stability o psychologist and counselors advise choosing a partner who’s integrated into society by means of school, employment, a network of friends, and who fairly consistently demonstrates supportive communication and problem-solving o substance abuse, like heavy drinking, is associated with marital difficulties (infidelity, divorce, violence, and conflict) o research shows relationships are more likely to be stable when partner’s parents’ have not been divorced The Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce Risk o either b/c they know the statistics, have divorced friends, or have experienced their parent’s divorce, many young adults are cautious about retaining married and possibly going through the pain and economic upheaval of divorce, especially if they plan to have children o intergenerational transmission of divorce risk: a divorced parental family transmits to its children a heightened risk of getting divorced o 4 hypothesis to explain the intergenerational transmission of divorce risk: 1. more – and more serious – personality problems 2. neither been exposed to nor learned supportive communication or problem solving 3. less commitment to the relationship 4. more accepting attitudes toward divorce Minimizing Mate Selection Risk o mate selection plays a part in the intergenerational transmission of divorce risk b/c individuals from divorced families are themselves more inclined to have the characteristics described earlier and to choose partners who have them  mate selection risk: the idea that children of divorce may be likely to select spouses who are unlikely to make good marriage partners o first step in minimizing mate selection risk is to let go of misconceptions we have about love and choosing a partner o selecting a partner wisely involves balancing any insistence on perfection against the need to be mindful of one’s real needs and desires o in the absence of adequate role models for maintaining a supportive relationship, many of us may embrace misconceptions about finding a partner  ex. “I can be happy with anyone if I work hard enough” or “falling in love is suffice” o generally, long-term relationships built on respect, mutual support and affirmation of each other’s worth are more likely to survive THE MARRIAGE MARKET o people come into the marriage market armed with resources – personal and social characteristics – and then they bargain for the best “buy” that they can get Arranged and Free-Choice Marriages o arranged marriage: traditionally, the parents of both prospective partners worked out the details and then announced the upcoming marriage to their children    couples in arranged marriages are expected to develop a loving relationship after the marriage, not before o a study compared marital satisfaction among arranged marriages in India to those more freely chosen in the U.S. found no differences in marital satisfaction between the two groups o free-choice culture: people choose their own mates, although often they seek parent’s and other family members’ support for their decision o cross-national marriages: marriages in which spouses are from different countries o regarding arranged marriages, parents go through a bargaining process not unlike what takes place at a traditional village market – they make rationally calculated choices after determining the social status/position, health, temperament, and sometimes, physical attractiveness of their prospective son/daughter in law o the difference between arranged marriages and marriages in free-choice cultures may seem so great that we are inclined to overlook an important similarity: Both involve bargaining Social Exchange o a basic idea in social exchange is that whether relationships form or continue depends on the rewards and costs they provide to the partners o individuals, it is presumed, want to maximize their rewards and avoid costs, so when they have choices, they will pick the relationship that is most rewarding or least costly  this analogy is to economics, but in relationships individual are thought to have other sorts of resources to bargain besides money: physical attractiveness, intelligence, educational attainment, earning potential, personality characteristics, family status, the ability to be emotionally supportive, and so on  cost could be belonging to the “wrong” social class, religion, or racial/ethnic group, being irritable or demanding, being geographically inaccessible, etc The Traditional Exchange o historically women have traded their ability to bear and raise children, coupled with domestic duties, sexual accessibility, and physical attractiveness, for a man’s protection, status, and economic support o evidence from classified personal ads shows that the traditional exchange still influences heterosexual relationships in general Bargaining in a Changing Society o as gender differences in work and family roles blur, individuals’ criteria for an acceptable mate are likely to change o as college educated young women approach occupational and economic equality with potential mates, the exchange becomes more symmetrical than in the past, with both genders increasingly looking for physical attractiveness, emotional sensitivity and earning potential in one another Assortative Mating – A Filtering Process o assortative mating: individuals gradually filter, or sort out, those who they think would not make the best life partner or spouse o homogamy: the tendency of people to form committed, and especially marital relationships with others with whom the share certain social characteristics HOMOGAMY: NARROWING THE POOL OF ELIGIBLES o the market analogy would be to choose only certain sores or websites at which to shop o each shopper has a socially defined pool of eligibles: a group of individuals who, by virtue of background or birth, are considered most likely to make compatible mates o people tend to form committed relationships with people of similar race, age, education, religious background, and social class o endogamy: marrying within one’s own social group o exogamy: marring outside one’s group o heterogamy: choosing someone dissimilar in race, age, education, religion, or social class o as young adults experience increased independence from family influence, we can expect a rise in interracial and interethnic unions o all in all, at least with regard to marriage, an individual is likely to choose someone who is similar in basic social characteristics Reasons for Homogamy o people often find it easier to communicate and feel more at home with others from similar education, social class, and racial or ethnic backgrounds o two other factors – geographic availability and social pressure – are important reasons that many relationships are generally homogamous Geographic Availability o geographic availability: has historically been a reason that people meet others who are like themselves Social Pressure o interethnic relationships are more likely to develop when young adults are relatively independent of parent influence and/or when one’s parents have an ethnically diverse network of friends o for the majority of us, cultural values encourage marring someone who is socially similar to ourselves Examples of Heterogamy o in general, marriages that are homogamous are more likely to be stable b/c partners are more likely to share the same values and attitudes when they come from similar backgrounds Interfaith Marriag
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