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Love and Loving Relationships: 

Love and Loving Relationships What is Love? Caring, Intimacy, and Commitment Theories About Love Experiencing Love When Love Goes Wrong How Couples Change: Romantic and Long Term Love

Love and Loving Relationships: 

Love and Loving Relationships Love, both as an emotion and a behavior, is essential for human survival. The family is usually our earliest and most important source of love.


LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP There are eight important qualities in friendship: enjoyment, acceptance, trust, respect, mutual support, confiding, understanding and honesty. Love includes all of these qualities in addition to sexual desire, priority over other relationships and caring to the point of self- sacrifice.


WHAT IS LOVE? Romantic experiences are cultured in the sense that societal and group practices and expectations shape romantic experiences. All societies have rules about homogamy (dating within one's group) and exogamy (marrying someone outside an acceptable group).


sexual arousal (a physiological response that may occur consciously or unconsciously), sexual desire (a psychological state in which a person wants to obtain a sexual object that one does not now have or to engage in a sexual activity in which one is not engaging. Romantic love involves sexual desire. Without sexual desire, a person is not considered to be in a state of romantic love.


CARING, INTIMACY, AND COMMITMENT Caring is wanting to help others by providing aid and emotional support. Intimacy involves feelings of closeness. Three kinds of intimacy include physical (sex, hugging, touching), affective (feeling close) and verbal (self-disclosure). Self-disclosure refers to open communication in which one person reveals his or her honest thoughts and feelings to another person.


Commitment refers to a person's intention to remain in a relationship through thick and thin. Commitment may arise out of loyalty, a belief in the sanctity of marriage, a continued optimism about future rewards and strong emotional attachments, dependence and love.


THEORIES ABOUT LOVE AND LOVING Biological perspectives maintain that love is grounded in evolution, biology, and chemistry. Sociological perspectives claim that culture is responsible for expressions of love. Attachment theory posits that our primary motivation in life is to be connected with other people, because that is the only security we have. There are three attachment styles.


Secure adults have warm and caring parents are trusting of their romantic partners and confident that they are loved. Anxious/ambivalent adults tend to fall in love immediately and want a commitment fast. Avoidant adults have little trust for others; cynical beliefs about love are unable to handle love and intimacy.


Reiss's wheel theory of love describes four stages of love: rapport, self-revelation, mutual dependency, and personality need fulfillment. Reiss's wheel theory can be extended by examining love relationships as 'clocksprings;' his notion of a coiled spring that winds and unwinds provided more flexibility to the wheel theory.


Sternberg's triangular theory of love emphasizes the components of love in terms of three elements of a triangle: intimacy, passion, and decision/ commitment. Intimacy involves closeness, passion leads to romance and decision commitment partners make a short-term decision to love each other and a long-term commitment to maintain that love over time. Love varies in its mix of intimacy, passion and commitment.


Lee has derived six basic styles of loving: eros (love of beauty and the root of the word 'erotic') mania (madness) ludus (carefree and casual) storge (affectionate love) agape (self-giving love) pragma (practical love)


Exchange theory explains that love is a social exchange process. Love relationships involve social exchanges that provide costs and rewards to each person. If initial interactions are reciprocal and mutually satisfying, a relationship will continue. However, if needs are mismatched, love interests may wane.


FUNCTIONS OF LOVE AND LOVING Love is the core of healthy and well functioning relationships. Many functions are fulfilled by love. These include: ensuring human survival, prolongs life, enhances physical health, improves the quality of life, invigorates and uplifts, and offers fun.


EXPERIENCING LOVE There are important gender and sexual orientation differences in terms of love. Contrary to popular belief, men are more romantic than women. Homophobia, the fear and hatred of homosexuals, has decreased in the last decade. Heterosexual and same-sex love are very similar. In both types of relationships, partners want to be emotionally close, expect faithfulness and often plan to grow old together.


WHEN LOVE GOES WRONG Narcissists are people who have exaggerated feelings of power and self-importance. They believe that are unique, smarter and more attractive than others. To maintain dominance, narcissists tend to play games. The jealous person feels threatened and is suspicious of his or her partner.


Jealousy is usually an unhealthy manifestation of insecurity, low self-confidence and possessiveness, Jealous people tend to depend more heavily on their partners for their self-esteem, consider themselves inadequate as mates and feel that they are more deeply involved than their partners. As such, men are more jealous of women's sexual rather than their emotional attachments to other men.


In addition to jealousy, other types of unhealthy, controlling behavior in love relationships include accusing someone of not loving, using guilt to justify actions, emotional abuse and physical abuse. In unrequited love, one does not reciprocate another's romantic feelings. Common reasons for unrequited love include falling upwardly in love and one partner's desire to move the relationship to a serious romance.


HOW COUPLES CHANGE: ROMANTIC AND LONG-TERM LOVE Romantic love can be both exhilarating and disappointing. It is long-term love, however, that provides security and constancy. Many characteristics of romantic love overlap those of long-term love. Key differences, however, are that romantic love is simple whereas lasting love is more complicated;


romantic love is self-centered, whereas long-term love is altruistic; romantic love is short-lived; because love changes over time. long-term love grows and develops while romantic love is immature; long-term love is storgic love is most characteristic of long-term relationships, compared with passion and game-playing in romantic love. and long-term love involves a higher social economic status.


Having enough income to be out of poverty may alleviate financial problems enough to reduce stress and thereby facilitate feelings of love.


A GLOBAL VIEW Expressing love varies across countries and cultures. In Western societies that emphasize individualism, love is a self-choice. In cultures that stress group and community, arrangements between families are more important than romantic love.

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