Love is in the Air Theories of Attraction and Mate Selection What do you look for in a potential partner? Select two characteristics from the list below. Honesty 50% Kindness 15% Respect 11%
Compatibility 10% Humour 9% Dependability 9% Love 8%
Values 8% Religious Commonality 7% Communication 6% Bibby, R. (2004). The future families project. Ottawa: The Vanier Institute of Family, p. 12 What makes us attracted to other human beings?
Canadians believe that lasting couple relationships are based on romantic love and sexual attraction between two people. However, according to Yalom (2001), a man and woman who live and work together, share a bed, and raise children together would probably grow to love each other regardless of how their marriage came about. This could explain why arranged marriages do experience success. Because most marriages result from freechoice mate selection where individuals are attracted to each other, fall in love, and decide to marry theories that explain what has been observed about sexual attraction should be examined. Theories of Attraction and Mate Selection
Evolutionary Psychology/Natural Selection (p. 202 to 203) sexual attraction is an unconscious choice based on strategies that enabled individuals to compete successfully for limited resources, to reproduce, and to raise children mate selection is based on individuals who will provide an evolutionary advantage Social Homogamy (p. 204 to 205) proximity is a major factor in mate selection: individuals are attracted to, fall in love with, and marry those who live and work nearby, belong to the same religious community, attend the same cultural events, share similar physical characteristics, etc. Ideal Mate Theory (p. 205 to 207) attraction is based on an individuals unconscious image of the ideal mate formed from his or her perceptions of the meaning of certain factors, such as physical, cultural, or socio-economic characteristics love at first sight: everyone has an unconscious ideal with which they compare a person to find
him or her attractive, and make an immediate judgement of whether or not the person is lovable Social Exchange Theory (p. 207 to 208) attraction is based more on what people are really like than what is ideal; they assess the resources a potential mate has to offer, such as physical attractiveness, educational attainment, wealth, social status, or specialized interests The Secret of Sexual Attraction https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2b9iWwDmY g Romantic Love Regardless of the unconsicious or active attraction to another individual, meeting and considering the instigation of a relationship with someone is only the first step in selecting a life partner. Throughout history, the concepts of love and romance have dominated pop culture, with both being frequently referenced in books, movies, music, and other forms of media. The concept is relatable the challenges, confusion, heartbreaks, and triumphs of love are closely connected to the human condition, and are
relatable on a number of levels. In fact, there is a societal expectation that falling in love is not only normal, but necessary for individuals. According to a study conducted by David Buss (1994), a woman would not marry a man with all the qualities that she desired unless she loved him, or thought she could love him. What is love? According to a study conducted by Robert Sternberg (1988) in which he interviewed hundreds of men and women who said they were in love, romantic love has three parts: 1. Passion: a strong feeling of sexual desire for another that develops quickly 2. Intimacy: an intense friendship that develops more slowly as each individual shares his or her experiences, thoughts, and feelings with the other 3.
Commitment: a joint decision to maintain the relationship as it grows; the rewards of remaining in the relationship instead of in others becomes evident, and individuals accept reciprocal roles and mutual interdependence This Love Triangle develops at different rates for every couple, and thus the nature of romantic love changes with time. One True Love Love relationships based on intimacy require individuals to fully appreciate each others uniqueness and separateness. This involves understanding what one has to offer, as well as what one needs from another in return. According to Life Course theorists, individuals are not fully capable of maintaining committed relationships until the identity crisis of the transition to adulthood is resolved. As such, committing to a relationship early in life might result in identifying oneself through the relationship. Levinson and Erikson both suggest that women are more likely to define themselves through their connections with others, and so might develop a committed relationship as part of forming their identity. Comparatively, men typically prefer to maintain more independence in their
relationships until their life structures are established. As such, Life Course theorists do not support the idea that there is only one true love for each individual, as young men and women typically wait to marry the person they are with when they are emotionally and physically ready to take on life-altering responsibilities of marriage (Kefalas, Furstenberg, & Napolitano, 2005, p. 15). The Science of Love Biologically speaking, the sudden and dramatic feelings of passion when lovers fall head over heels in love result from high levels of natural amphetamines. These amphetamines make lovers feel alert, a sensation that is accompanied by an increased heart rate, flushed face, and rapid breathing. Psychobiologists such as Michael Liebowitz call this blissful emotional state limerence. While similar to fear in its physical aspects, it is distinguished from it only by the mind being focused on the loved one, which could explain why passion usually involves a feeling of anxiety about losing the other. After several years as a couple, amphetamine levels drop and are replaced by the hormone oxytocin ie., the highly aroused but exhausting state of limerence gives
way to a state of calm and satisfaction. While this may be less exciting, it is typically more enduring. From an evolutionary perspective, love is advantageous passion draws individuals together to reproduce, and the intimacy and commitment that follow allow couples to maintain their relationships over the long term in order to support each other, and nurture and raise children. Attributes of Romantic Love According to Helen Harris, the psychological motivation for romantic love comes from a desperate need to connect, and a fear of being alone. Her metastudy on the attributes needed for romantic love included the following: 1. A desire for a physical and emotional merger. 2. Idealization of the love object. 3. Emotional dependency. 4. Desire of exclusivity.
5. Reordering of motivational priorities. 6. Intrusive thinking. 7. Concern for the beloved. Romantic love provides the psychological motivation for individuals to marry, or to form enduring couple relationships in societies where marriage is not a social, economic, or familial obligation. While there is a biological basis for attraction, there is also a psychological need to be loved, and so individuals have a desire to connect with another and to follow the social norms of being a couple in a society organized around couple relationships. Finding Your Match Finding Your Match Read pages 212 to 218 in your textbook.
Record an explanation and evaluation of each of the following: Arranged Marriage Courtship Script Theory How has dating changed in the 21st century? Use evidence from the textbook, as well as your own knowledge. What is Mursteins Filter Theory? (Ensure that you look up the term propinquity.) How does this theory apply to dating in the 21st century? Mate Selection and Marital Success The preference for free-choice marriage in North America suggests that dating experience leads to greater marital success, and, therefore,
arranged marriages may be less successful because the partners would not know each other. Bernard Mursteins market experience perspective suggests that marrying your first love is not a good idea because you do not have enough understanding of what you want. A belief that sex is a very important aspect of marriage, combined with a greater acceptance of premarital sex by the end of the 20th century, has led many people to believe that they should test their sexual compatibility before marriage. It could also be argued that dating encourages individuals to make their most critical judgement about others on the basis of peoples best behaviour in artificial circumstance, which is not a genuine assessment of an individual. Dating for Success? Martin King Whyte (2001) tested the hypothesis that dating experiences lead to successful marriages by conducting extensive interviews about dating couples in Detroit.
Whyte discovered that there was no correlation between dating experience, length of dating, engagement, degree of premarital sexual activity, and marital success. As such, Whyte argues against Mursteins market experience perspective by explaining that mate selection cannot be like buying a car, since you cant test drive various partners at the same time. In fact, if you decide on one you tried before, he or she might have already moved on and is now unavailable. Therefore, free-choice mate selection in which you have to decide yes or no to one person at a time - might create marriages that are slightly less successful: extensive dating experience could increase an individual's expectations, and therefore make it more difficult for the person to make a choice, or to feel satisfied in a relationship. Cohabitation Fails the Test Cohabitation is frequently viewed as a trial marriage a better opportunity for couples to test social and psychological compatibility in a real-life setting rather than during dates. However, the fact that 30% of cohabitating couples separate suggests that their relationships did not pass the test (Ambert, 2005).
Further, Canadian women who had cohabitated with anyone before marriage are twice as likely to divorce than those who had not. Ambert (2005) contends that cohabitating couples could be less selective about their partners because they do not see their relationship as a trial marriage. She also suggests that many cohabitating couples do not see their relationship as permanent because they do not commit to the relationship by pooling resources. Note that more research needs to be conducted in this area to determine if cohabitation is more likely to lead to divorce than marriage. Love Leads to Success Overall, love is the one factor that contributes to marital success. The second conclusion of Whytes (2001) study is that being in love when you marry is the best indicator of marital success.
Whyte found that couples who remembered being deeply in love when they married had the happiest marriages, regardless of dating experience. In practice, the process of getting to know someone to determine your degree of compatibility is combined with increased sexual expression, rather than the other way around. As noted by Sternberg, the three key components to lasting, deep love include a strong sexual desire, a strong understanding and knowledge of each other, and a commitment to making the relationship a priority. Consider: greater permissiveness about non-marital sex may mean that the expression of passion through sexual activity precedes the development of intimacy and commitment, which are key components to establishing love . . . is the practice of Negotiating Satisfying Relationships in Companionate Marriage (p. 221 to 227)
Using the information provided on the above textbook pages, create a visually appealing chart to answer your assigned question: Group One: How do couples negotiate satisfying roles in their relationships? Group Two: What are the factors that contribute to forming enduring relationships? Group Three: What are the factors that are detrimental to forming enduring relationships? Ensure that you make specific reference to textbook pages (as well as any specific sociologists, psychologists, etc.) noted in the textbook).
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