Psychology Of Love Essay Research Paper Theories

Psychology Of Love Essay, Research Paper

Theories of LoveWhat exactly does the word love mean? Webster s dictionary defines love as : A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness. This is a very basic thought of the word love. Love does not have an finite meaning. You can love in many different ways. For example I might say I love my brother, and I also might say I love my car. But do I really love my car like I love my brother? Of course I don t. There are many different types of love and many ways to love.Sternberg s Theory of LoveIn the last two decades, Robert Sternberg, a psychologist at Yale University, has done a great deal of work in describing love and determining what makes a love relationship successful. Sternberg suggests three components of love and various combinations of these components form the different types of love. The three components of love are intimacy, passion, and commitment. Intimacy: Intimacy is the emotional component in Sternberg’s love triangle. The emotional intimacy dimension of love is best characterized by feeling love for someone rather than being “in love” with them. The emotional intimacy dimension focuses on liking, friendship, trust and feelings of emotional closeness that result from being able to share one’s innermost thoughts and feelings with a partner. Intimacy is the emotional sense of bondedness, connectedness, closeness. Passion: Passion is the motivational component of Sternberg’s love theory. The passionate dimension of love can best be characterized by those intense feelings of arousal that arise from physical attraction and sexual attraction. Passion may also arise from increasing levels of self disclosure as intimacy develops in a relationship. Passion is that intense euphoric “high” that you may experience when you are in love–you feel euphoric–on top of the world–your heart races, and you get butterflies in your stomach. You yearn to be physically close to and to join with the person–You often can’t stop thinking about the person. At first, passion is often based on the more external qualities of how the person looks and acts. A good description of passion would be animal instincts.Commitment: The commitment dimension of love is often viewed as the decision to stay with one’s partner for life. Commitments may range from simple verbal agreements (agreements not to become emotionally and/or sexually involved with other people) to publicly formalized legal contracts (marriage). Commitment without one or both of the other elements, constitutes an empty marriage. However, commitment is more than simply agreeing to stay with your partner through bad times. Commitment means being devoted to doing things to nurture the relationship and protect it from harm and to fix it if damaged. Both partners care about each other’s needs and must be willing to put each other’s needs first–including being willing to make personal sacrifices for the good of the relationship. The partners should be willing to depend on each other and feel secure that each will be loyal to each other and to the relationship. Sternberg suggest that the three components of love can be arranged in a variety of ways to create seven different types of loveLiking: Liking is a form of love with intimacies there but you don’t have passion and you don’t have commitment. You know, when you really like somebody. You feel a bondedness to them, a connectedness, you feel a sense of repoire. But you are not passionate with that person, there’s no physical goings on. You enjoy being around them when you are around them and there’s no commitment. There is not a long term commitment to making the relationship last.Infatuated love: Infatuation defined by Sternberg is passion without intimacy or commitment. So once again, when you are infatuated, “Hey, they really turn me on. In other words, passion, intense emotional desire, intense physical desire but no intimacy, no sense of bondedness or connectedness and no sense of commitment or a sense of needing to maintain the durability of the relationship.Empty love: Empty love is commitment without passion or intimacy. Empty love is when you are in a relationship, you are committed to making it work, you are going to stay together, you are going to raise the kids, you are going to do the thing but there’s just no passion anymore. There’s just no intimacy there. You become room mates living in separate ends of the house. Romantic love: Romantic love is intimacy and passion without commitment. In this type of love, the lover thinks constantly about the loved one, is jealous, unrealistic, will tolerate anything, is sexually attracted by physical appearance and needs repeated reassurance that he/she is loved in return. This is usually characterized by “love at first sight.” Fatuous love: Fatuous love. Fatuous love is passion and commitment without intimacy. You are committed to the relationship, it is intensely physical, intensely passionate, but there is really no bondedness there. You don’t link up, you don’t have a sense of closeness mentally, you don’t have a real repoire. The only time there’s a sense of closeness is when you are having sex. The only time you feel that you are one is when you are literally in the middle of love making. But the rest of the time there’s really no intimacy there. Some of you may have been in relationships like that. Marriages a lot of times end up there. They get caught up in the passion of being in love, it’s very physical, they make a commitment to each other, they never bond, they never get intimate, they get married and then they wonder why they end up with empty love.

Companionate love: This type of love has intimacy and commitment, but lacks passion. Companionate love results from a combination of the emotional and cognitive components, with little emphasis on motivational arousal. “It is essentially a long-term, committed friendship, …the kind that frequently occurs in marriages in which the physical attraction has died down.” {To me, this sounds a bit more pessimistic than it really should. But, again, I think this society tends to discount the enormous importance of genuine friendship, usually by bandying about the title, “friend,” far too loosely. Companionate love can be and, I think, usually is very sustaining in terms of our emotional and psychological well-being. Consummate love: Consummate love is the only type of love that consists of all three components of love. This type of love is the most complete and satisfying type of love achieved by only a few. All components of love are alive in these relationships and so they are very rewarding. Consummate love for Sternberg is the ideal love. It is the love of successful marriage. It is the love to last a lifetime. It is the love that saturate and sustains the individual and the relationship. Consummate love is all 3 growing in equality. Consummate love, the equilateral triangle, hopefully, where you grow in intimacy, you grow in passion and you grow in commitment. He looks at that as the ideal love type. Intamacy Passion CommitmentLiking ; ;Infatuated love ; ;Empty love ; ; Romantic love ;Fatuous love ; Companionate love ; Consummate love The above graph shows wich componets are present and absent in each type of love. This symbol shows that the compent is present, and this ; shows the componet is lacking.Attachment TheoryWe develop styles of love that are based on expectancies developed from childhood experiences with caregivers: Secure; Anxious/ambivalent; and Avoidant (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Hazan & Shaver, 1987; Shaver, Hazan and Bradshaw,1988). Bowlby (1969) thought that infants should have an innate tendency to form attachments to their caregiver because physical closeness to a caregiver increases the infant’s chances for survival. Bowlby also proposed that infants and children build mental models of themselves and of their relationships with significant people in their lives and that these mental models are based on their interactions with their caregiver(s) over time. Does the caregiver pay attention to infant’s signals about what it needs and act accordingly? Or does the caregiver fail to behave in ways that show the infant that he/she cares about it’s needs? When an individual is confident that the attachment figure will be available when needed, that individual will experience less fear than the individual who feels that the caregiver won’t be available when needed. According to Bowlby, beliefs about the availability of the caregiver develop during infancy, childhood and adolescence and persist relatively unchanged throughout life. Bowlby also believes that expectations about accessibility and responsiveness of the caregiver are sufficiently accurate representations of the individual’s experiences. If the caregiver is close enough physically, attentive, and responsive the infant feels secure, is self confident and feels loved. However if the caregiver is not close enough physically, not attentive, and/or not responsive the infant may feel fear and anxiety and may emit attachment seeking behaviors such as looking for or at the caregiver, and attempting to reestablish contact; or feel defensive and avoid the attachment figure. This translates into three attachment styles: Secure: Feels that the partner is responsive and accessible. Anxious/Ambivalent: Not sure whether the partner will be responsive and accessible. Results in anxiety about whether the partner will be there for them and intense reactions to separation. Avoidant: The person has learned that people tend to reject and rebuff them, so they become defensive and avoidant. Freud: The psychoanalytic account of loveFreud looks at love from the perspective of the sexual drive. According to him, love as well as sexuality is rooted in infancy (Freud, 1905). A person’s first love object is the mother. The mother’s breast provides the infant not only with nourishment but also a source of sexual gratification which he will later on seek from his adult lover. (For girls, the object of love somehow later becomes the father. Freud views adult love and sexuality as an extension (or rediscovery) of their infantile forms. Furthermore, love was viewed by Freud as the coexistence of “two currents”: tenderness/affection, and sensuality. The former originates in the infant’s awareness of the care and nourishment received from parents, and the latter is related to sexual energy, or libido. Happy love is the fusion of these two currents. Separation of them and suppression of one or the other results in neurosis. The sexual instincts are said to have a gratification-seeking aim. Freud believed that the inhibition of this aim can make sexual desire being transformed into affection in long-term relationships such as marriage. Freud stated that it is “very usual for directly sexual impulsions, short-lived in themselves, to be transformed into a lasting and purely affectionate tie; and the consolidation of a passionate love marriage rests to a large extent upon this process.” In other words, for Freud, intimacy and companionate love were due to the inhibition of passion.


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