and the Family
Falling in Love
Love is the capacity that
from the infant's basic need for human contact. This need develops into
a growing desire in childhood for contact with one's age mates or
and further develops into the inner need to know another intimately.
The richness of the term love
is illustrated by four ancient Greek words that are all translated
as love: storge, philia, eros, and agape.
- -to hold dear, to cherish
- -to feel a lover's passion, devotion, or
- -to like or desire acutely
- -take pleasure in (i.e., love to play the
- -to thrive in (i.e., he loves this weather)
- -to feel affection or experience desire.
As symbolic interactionists
argue, love can mean different things to different people.
Social scientists have given much thought to the process people go
through while falling in love.
Falling in love
is, for most people, a complex process.
different points of view about how they can tell if they are in love.
it is not as easy as it might seem to know when we are feeling love or
- Rubenstein has
suggested that some people are “love-prone,” but even these people go
falling in love at first sight.
- Although some
people do experience “love at first sight,” including some who are not
“love-prone,” falling in love is a process for most people. Ira Reiss
characterized the development of love in terms of four separate but
interrelated processes: rapport, self-revelation, mutual dependency,
intimacy need fulfillment.
- Although the process
described by Reiss applies to both males and females, some gender
exist in experiences of falling in love. Typically, women are more
with relationships and men more concerned with work; women come to a
relationship with concerns about emotional closeness, while men are
concerned with practical help and sex.
Love's Dimensions include:
- In some cases, the
feeling of love may be a case of misattribution of arousal, attributing
wrong emotion to physical arousal; in other words, there may be times
believe we feel passionate love because we are aroused and the
such that the conclusion is reasonable. In some situations, we may
attribute arousal to a feeling of love.
experiencing a healthy love should be able to respond positively to
questions, involving whether both parties believe in their own personal
the perceived value of the relationship, the maintenance of separate
relationships, the totality of the relationship, mutual respect, and
- -physical acts
- -physiological changes
- -emotional feelings
- -motivation, or love readiness.
A. The American Ideal of Romantic Love -
Types of Love-like Emotions
- Love at First Sight - love is too deep an
to be so fickle!
- Love is Blind - maybe at first. Mature love
- Love Conquers All - but it doesn't pay the
- Love is Both Ecstasy and Agony - is the way
- Love is Always Passionate - nothing is
Romantic Love is,
to Zick Rubin, a three part phenomenon, with equal parts of:
Passionate Love - a wildly
emotional state associated with strong physiological, arousal, confused
feelings, intense absorption with and longing for the loved one, and
desires for fulfillment through this person.
- Attachment - a need for the physical presence
emotional support of the other person.
- Caring - a feeling of concern and
for the other person.
- Intimacy - a close bond manifested in part by
Passion was NOT one of the components of love
Limerence - Symptoms of
emotions, deeper attachment, friendly affection, kindly preoccupation.
- -intrusive thinking
- -a deep and acute longing
- -mood swings
- -shyness and clumsiness
- -idealize the loved one
- -strong sexual attraction
Love, not security, is
as the foundation of
marriage. The love that most people have in mind when they think of the
precondition for an exclusive relationship, living together, or
marriage is eros. Such love is sometimes called
romantic love or passionate love: a preoccupation and intense longing
with a particular other. In contrast, companionate love is affection
commitment to someone with whom one is deeply involved. Thus,
is similar to phylia.
People have always
experienced passionate love, but the notion that passionate love is a
precondition for a relationship like marriage is a relatively new idea
history. No single explanation exists for the sudden appearance and
the ideal of passionate love. Romantic, or passionate, love as a
of marriage is still not universal. Many American observers bemoan
rather than applaud
this emphasis on passionate love.
experience of passionate love is a bittersweet experience.
1. Passionate love
has been compared with the “high” of certain drugs (amphetamines).
feelings and thoughts are typical of being passionately in love.
2. There are
different attachment styles that exist among different kinds of lovers:
avoidant, and anxious/ambivalent. These three styles carry over into
relationships. Secure lovers are those who find it fairly easy to get
others. Avoidant lovers are somewhat uncomfortable about a close
with others; and anxious/ambivalent lovers perceive a reluctance on the
others go get close to them.
cannot last indefinitely and certain changes occur as companionate love
dominant. The lovers stop idealizing each other and notice
love does not mean that a relationship has lost its fire, for it is
for both stability and satisfaction in relationships.
Much thought has been
to the relationship between
loving and liking.
One useful tool in
understanding the relationship between liking and loving is Rubin’s
tapping into three dimensions of loving: attachment, caring, and
research using the Rubin scales, there is some overlap between loving
Keith Davis has
addressed the question of loving and liking, putting it in terms of the
characteristics of love versus those of friendship. Both friends and
Liking to Loving
Components of Love:
fairly consistent in reporting
a it is very rare for a person to have intense feelings of love for
than one person at a time.
- -the Passion Cluster - Fascination/Exclusiveness/Sexual
- -Respect (including integrity, honesty,
- -Erotic Feelings
of Loving: (from the Greeks)
There is a
gender difference in the way
and women conceive of love:
affection and commitment for intimacy.
intimacy for commitment.
The Triangular Theory of Love:
Robert J. Sternberg has
what he calls a
triangular theory of love that shows how various kinds of love are related. His
theory asserts that we can best understand love by viewing it in terms
components. These components can be viewed as the vertices of a
the top is intimacy; on the left is passion; and on the right is
Using these three components, we have a number of different types of
ranging from the lack of all three (non-love) to the “consummate love”
the presence of all three. The types include: non-love, liking,
empty, romantic, companionate, fatuous, and consummate. Sternberg’s
very useful for understanding differing kinds of experiences of love.
|1. Non-love absence
of all three
love intimacy and passion
love passion and commitment
Companionate love intimacy and commitment
love all three components in
This is the one we all want
Another useful way to
understand love is found in the
typology of John Alan Lee.
Lee identified six
types of lovers: The erotic
tends to focus on the physical, and particularly the sexual, aspects of
relationship. The ludic lover views
love as a pleasant pastime but not something in which to get deeply
involved. The storgic lover has a kind of quiet
affection for the other partner. The manic
lover combines something of eros
and ludus. A pragmatic lover is a combination to some extend of ludus
storge. The agapic lover acts on
behalf of the well- being of the other without demanding or perhaps
expecting any benefits in return.
There are various
implications of different styles of loving. People in love differ from
who are not in love. Love styles also affect people’s experience of
Paradoxes of Romantic Love
Jealousy is a negative
reaction to a real or
imagined threat to a love relationship. If jealousy is a deficiency,
perhaps all relationships are deficient, for jealousy seems to be
universal. There seem to be
few gender differences in the experience of jealousy. As one might
people who are insecure or who believe they are powerless in their love
relationships are more likely to feel jealous. People with lower
more problems with jealousy. From the point of
view of conflict theory, we would expect a fair amount of jealousy. One
think about jealousy-provoking situations is that they violate our
for our relationships. How an individual
reacts when feeling jealous depends in part upon attachment style.
actually strengthen a relationship, but when it is too intense and too
frequent, jealousy can be destructive. In addition, jealousy may lead
to a loss
of self-esteem and may lead to the loss of the partner. Consummate
has little of any of these
However, everyone wants and needs some romance
- Separateness vs. Togetherness - love
- Independence vs. Togetherness
- Ecstasy vs Despair
- Jealousy vs. Trust
Conditions Favorable to Romantic Love
- ending school
- starting romance.
- special times of the year (Springtime, for
- expectation of falling in love
- high self-esteem
- coming from a loving family
- physical attractiveness
- money and other resources
- effective communication skills
- mutual self-disclosure
- conflict resolution abilities
- the communication of feelings!