Man is a social creature, and today this is one of the most characteristic aspects of the humanity. In the social life, a system of interactions among individuals has been formed. Many social relations have caused the variety of interests. Social relations are objective by nature. However, for every person they reflect his or her inner world and acquire the personal meaning shown in individual behavior, feelings, moods, and others. Love and relationships, as the feelings and phenomena, are studied by common people and scientists.
The environment, circumstances, education, and our culture influences on the way we consider men to be appealing. People living nearby, the authority, idols, friends and others tend to affect the world outlook and the perception of people. There are many factors which can cause the attraction. Here are the main ones of them listed below:
- physical attractiveness: although experts say that the physical beauty is a basic factor influencing on our choice of people, but we have already learned the rule that beauty is not important. The fact is that we almost always judge people by their appearance, but it is not the very first and foremost thing to be done;
- proximity: the more we see each other, the more likely that people will be closer now;
- similarity: this paragraph is broken into four smaller categories – the attitude similarity, the demographic affiliation, the similarity of physical appearance, the interests and experience similarity;
- reciprocity sympathy declares the fact that we give a preference to those people that love us and that tell us about this.
According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, once the physiological needs of security and fairness have been satisfied, they actualize the innate need for love, affection, and sense of belonging. A person needs to build connections and relationships, and now this demand escalates. The man, more than ever, starts to feel the lack of friends, the absence of beloved people, of a wife or children. The man is eager to have the warm and friendly relationships and needs a social group that would provide him or her with such relationships, and such a family that would accept him or her as own. Precisely, this goal becomes the most significant one and most important for the man. It must be admitted that there are very few scientific data about the needs of belonging. However, obviously there is a destructive effect of such factors as the frequent moves of the family from one residence to another; the absence of roots or the roots’ loss, the loss of sense related to home, the separation from the family, friends, a constant feeling of being in the role of a visitor or stranger. An essential feature of social bonds is an interpersonal social-psychological aspect. Interpersonal relations determine the type of interaction (competition, cooperation) and influence on the formation conditions of human life and emotional coloration. Emotions (constructive or destructive) motivate to act and play an important role in such relationships as friendship, love, and marriage. With the emotions (fear, laughter, etc.), the person can affect a partner, respectively by changing the response to the topic.
Robert Sternberg, a researcher of Yale University, has for several years studied the dynamics of love relationships and developed an interesting model, which includes three basic elements of love. These elements can be compared to the three sides of triangle. Every area of it corresponds to the size and style of love.
Intimacy is the emotional element and means of closeness, the mutual support and partnership. In the development of relations, as the partners are approaching each other, intimacy usually increases with gradually starting from the certain level achieved in the beginning of relationship. In a stable and harmonious relationship, intimacy is not always the outer expression. However, it is clearly manifested in some crisis situations, which a couple overcomes together.
Passion is a part of the love motivation. It manifests itself as a desire to connect with the beloved persons. This occurs due to the sexual arousal and desire for sexual relations. At the first stage of relations, the importance of this aspect of love is constantly increasing. Sternberg compares passion with a drug, which attracts people and promises delight to them. If one partner is suddenly interrupted in his or her relationship, another one may suffer from depression and irritability feeling the emotional pain because of such separation. In some time, during the long-term relationships, the passion stabilizes, since it is unable to provide an appropriate stimulation and to deliver the same pleasure as it has been doing before. This does not mean that passion vanishes or disappears. Passion is simply losing its importance as the element of the relationships’ motivation.
The commitment is a cognitive love aspect in the short and long-term relationships. During the first meeting with a potential partner for love, relationships do not imply any devotion. But to the extent of convergence of partners, the mutual devotion becomes more important. Like other elements of love, the commitment in some time stabilizes or decreases if the relationship fails.
Sternberg distinguishes seven combinations of various components of love. Each of these combinations gives a rise to various kinds of love experiences. The lack of love means the absence of all three components.
1) Liking arises occur if, in the relationship, there is only one component of "intimacy" available, and the components of "passion" and "decision/commitment" are absent. Sympathy, in this case, is available in a trivial sense. According to Sternberg, that is the intimate sympathy that describes a real friendship. This term refers to the complex emotions experienced by the man during any relationship, i.e. closeness, affection and warmth towards another person, without feeling a strong passion and without a long-term commitment. The person feels the emotional closeness to his or her friend, but the friend does not "excite" him.
2) Infatuated love is the "love at first sight." Passionate love, or simply the passion, is characterized by the experience of a passionate excitement in the absence of such components as "intimacy" and "decision/commitment." Passion can occur almost instantaneously and in appropriate circumstances. As a rule, it quickly disappears in the same way it has appeared.
3) Empty love: this kind of love is the result of the non-deliberate decision that one person loves another. Thus, this person is being devoted to this relationship in the absence of both “intimacy” and “passion”. Sometimes the love of this kind can be found in stagnant relationships that have continued for many years. During that time, a couple has lost a mutual emotional involvement as well as physical attraction being once typical for it. If the sense of duty towards the partner is not very strong, then such love is almost nothing. Sometimes formal love may be at the beginning of relationship (in such societies where the decisions on marriages take the parents of both a bride and a groom; and the marriage partners can start their relationships with just the obligation to love. Only later, those commitments turn into love.)
4) Romantic love: in this kind of love, there are the components of intimacy and passion. In essence, this is the liking of somebody mixed with adding one more element. Namely, this is excitation, which arises due to the physical attraction and some accompanying factors. From this viewpoint, romantic lovers feel not only the physical attraction to each other, but also the emotional attachment.
5) Companionate love occurs in the presence of combination of "intimacy" and "decision/commitment." In essence, this is a long and faithful friendship, which often arises between the spouses after the physical attraction (being the main source of passion). It gradually fades away in some time.
6) Fatuous love is characterized by a combination of components, i.e. "passion" and "decision/commitment" with the absence of “intimacy”. Such love is frivolous in the sense that commitments are accepted on the influence of passion, with the absence of the intimacy stabilizing element. Although the components of passion can develop almost instantaneously, the development of the intimacy component requires some time. Therefore, there is a risk of rupture of relations basing on the fatal love. Even there is a risk of divorce in case of hasty marriages.
7) Consummate love is the perfect love, which involves all three components. The achievement of perfect love has no guarantee that this love will be prolonged. Forming and maintaining the highest form of love and relationships depends on the situation, in which this love develops and persists.
This triad may change in some time. It depends on the behaviour and feelings of partners. With the addiction, one partner cares about the other one not so much as it has been before. The needs of each person from time to time change; and, therefore, this is important not to lose love, flexibility and ingenuity. Thus, the dynamics of love relationships is inevitable. The folding relationships can be successfully predicted when the person sees in his or her partner the desired attitude. When one partner is convinced that the other one loves not strong enough, misunderstandings and conflicts can arise.
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