7400.602 Family in Lifespan Perspective
Topic 7: Falling in Love

Love is the capacity that gradually develops 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 peers, and further develops into the inner need to know another intimately.
    • -to hold dear, to cherish
    • -to feel a lover's passion, devotion, or tenderness
    • -to like or desire acutely
    • -take pleasure in (i.e., love to play the violin)
    • -to thrive in (i.e., he loves this weather)
    • -to feel affection or experience desire.
The richness of the term love is illustrated by four ancient Greek words that are all translated as love: storge, philia, eros, and agape.
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.
  • Rubenstein has suggested that some people are “love-prone,” but even these people go beyond 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 has characterized the development of love in terms of four separate but interrelated processes: rapport, self-revelation, mutual dependency, and intimacy need fulfillment.
  • Although the process described by Reiss applies to both males and females, some gender differences exist in experiences of falling in love. Typically, women are more concerned with relationships and men more concerned with work; women come to a relationship with concerns about emotional closeness, while men are more concerned with practical help and sex.
People have different points of view about how they can tell if they are in love. Actually, it is not as easy as it might seem to know when we are feeling love or something else.
  • In some cases, the feeling of love may be a case of misattribution of arousal, attributing the wrong emotion to physical arousal; in other words, there may be times when we believe we feel passionate love because we are aroused and the conditions are such that the conclusion is reasonable. In some situations, we may mistakenly attribute arousal to a feeling of love.
  • People experiencing a healthy love should be able to respond positively to certain questions, involving whether both parties believe in their own personal value, the perceived value of the relationship, the maintenance of separate meaningful relationships, the totality of the relationship, mutual respect, and friendship.
Love's Dimensions include:
  • -physical acts
  • -physiological changes
  • -emotional feelings
  • -motivation, or love readiness.
  •  
    A. The American Ideal of Romantic Love - Myths:
    1. Love at First Sight - love is too deep an emotion to be so fickle!
    2. Love is Blind - maybe at first. Mature love is accepting, not blind.
    3. Love Conquers All - but it doesn't pay the rent.
    4. Love is Both Ecstasy and Agony - is the way we excuse mistreatment
    5. Love is Always Passionate - nothing is always passionate
Types of Love-like Emotions
 Romantic Love is, according to Zick Rubin, a three part phenomenon, with equal parts of:
  • Attachment - a need for the physical presence and emotional support of the other person.
  • Caring - a feeling of concern and responsibility for the other person.
  • Intimacy - a close bond manifested in part by confidential communications.

  • Passion was NOT one of the components of love for Rubin.
Passionate Love - a wildly emotional state associated with strong physiological, arousal, confused feelings, intense absorption with and longing for the loved one, and strong desires for fulfillment through this person.
 
Limerence - Symptoms of Love Sickness
  • -intrusive thinking
  • -a deep and acute longing
  • -mood swings
  • -shyness and clumsiness
  • -idealize the loved one
  • -strong sexual attraction
Companionate Love - lower key emotions, deeper attachment, friendly affection, kindly preoccupation.

Love, not security, is viewed 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 for union with a particular other. In contrast, companionate love is affection for and commitment to someone with whom one is deeply involved. Thus, companionate love 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 in human history. No single explanation exists for the sudden appearance and spread of the ideal of passionate love. Romantic, or passionate, love as a precondition of marriage is still not universal. Many American observers bemoan rather than applaud this emphasis on passionate love.


Often, the experience of passionate love is a bittersweet experience.

 1. Passionate love has been compared with the “high” of certain drugs (amphetamines). Certain feelings and thoughts are typical of being passionately in love.
 2. There are different attachment styles that exist among different kinds of lovers: secure, avoidant, and anxious/ambivalent. These three styles carry over into adult relationships. Secure lovers are those who find it fairly easy to get close to others. Avoidant lovers are somewhat uncomfortable about a close relationship with others; and anxious/ambivalent lovers perceive a reluctance on the part of others go get close to them.

Passionate love cannot last indefinitely and certain changes occur as companionate love becomes dominant. The lovers stop idealizing each other and notice imperfections. Companionate love does not mean that a relationship has lost its fire, for it is important for both stability and satisfaction in relationships.


Much thought has been given to the relationship between loving and liking.  One useful tool in understanding the relationship between liking and loving is Rubin’s Love Scale, tapping into three dimensions of loving: attachment, caring, and intimacy. In research using the Rubin scales, there is some overlap between loving and liking. 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 lovers enhance our well-being.   thus: The Liking to Loving Continuum:
  Components of Love:
  • -the Passion Cluster - Fascination/Exclusiveness/Sexual Desire
  • -Affection
  • -Respect (including integrity, honesty, reliability)
  • -Erotic Feelings
Researchers are fairly consistent in reporting that a it is very rare for a person to have intense feelings of love for more than one person at a time.

Styles of Loving: (from the Greeks)
  • Eros
  • Storge
  • Ludus
  • Mania
  • Pragma
  • Agape
There is a general gender difference in the way men and women conceive of love:
Males trade affection and commitment for intimacy.
Females trade sexual intimacy for commitment.

The Triangular Theory of Love: Commitment/Passion/Intimacy
Robert J. Sternberg has developed 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 of three components. These components can be viewed as the vertices of a triangle. At the top is intimacy; on the left is passion; and on the right is decision/commitment. Using these three components, we have a number of different types of love, ranging from the lack of all three (non-love) to the “consummate love” that involves the presence of all three. The types include: non-love, liking, infatuation, empty, romantic, companionate, fatuous, and consummate. Sternberg’s typology is very useful for understanding differing kinds of experiences of love.
1. Non-love  absence of all three
2. Liking intimacy only
3. Infatuation passion only 
4. Empty love commitment only
5. Romantic love intimacy and passion
6. Fatuous love passion and commitment
7. Companionate love intimacy and commitment
8. Consummate love all three components in equal parts.
This is the one we all want to nurture!

Another useful way to understand love is found in the typology of John Alan Lee.  Lee identified six types of lovers: The erotic lover tends to focus on the physical, and particularly the sexual, aspects of the 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 and storge. The agapic lover acts on behalf of the well- being of the other without demanding or perhaps even expecting any benefits in return.
There are various implications of different styles of loving. People in love differ from those who are not in love. Love styles also affect people’s experience of intimacy.

Paradoxes of Romantic Love
  • Separateness vs. Togetherness - love sometimes smothers
  • Independence vs. Togetherness
  • Ecstasy vs Despair
  • Jealousy vs. Trust
Jealousy is a negative emotional reaction to a real or imagined threat to a love relationship. If jealousy is a deficiency, then 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 expect, people who are insecure or who believe they are powerless in their love relationships are more likely to feel jealous. People with lower self-esteem have more problems with jealousy. From the point of view of conflict theory, we would expect a fair amount of jealousy. One way to think about jealousy-provoking situations is that they violate our expectations for our relationships.  How an individual reacts when feeling jealous depends in part upon attachment style. Jealousy can 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 Love has little of any of these qualities. However, everyone wants and needs some romance

Conditions Favorable to Romantic Love
    Social Conditions
    • ending school
    • starting romance.
    • special times of the year (Springtime, for example)
    Personal Conditions
    • expectation of falling in love
    • high self-esteem
    • coming from a loving family
    • physical attractiveness
    • money and other resources
    Relationship Factors
    • effective communication skills
    • mutual self-disclosure
    • conflict resolution abilities
    • the communication of feelings!