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Romantic Love and Commitment in Romantic Relationships

Dissertation : Romantic Love and Commitment in Romantic Relationships. Recherche parmi 237 000+ dissertations

Par   •  23 Janvier 2020  •  Dissertation  •  2 096 Mots (9 Pages)  •  41 Vues

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People tend to think that once they have found their 'soul mate', they will spend their whole life with this one and only person and that nobody else will ever steal their heart. They think that their feelings/attraction for this person will last forever and they will always remain the same (Gonzaga, Haselton, Smurda, Davis & Poore, 2008; Goodboy & Booth-butterfield, 2009). The relationship and the difference between romantic love and attraction and even attachment play an important role in the explanation of these beliefs because they belong to each other but they could also be separated in some cases and we would like to explain what the reason of such a strong connection between two individuals is (Schmidt,2018; Manoharanl & de Munch, 2017; Diamond, 2017; Birnbaum, 2010).

To begin with, it is a good thing to start with the definition of two important terms for this explanation that are romantic love and sexual desire. We are going to start by giving a special definition for each of these terms to understand better the concept. First, romantic love is understood by non-scientist people and by scientists in a different way. People generally think of love as a resemblance of a sort of prototype they make unconsciously of the 'perfect' or the ideal partner for them while for scientists, it is different (Aron, Fisher & Strong, 2006). They describe romantic love in a more formal way as specifics behaviors, cognition, emotions linked to a strong desire to be in a close relationship with someone in particular (Aron, Fisher & Strong, 2006). Then, sexual desire (or attraction) is defined as a person's pulsion that lead him/her to desire sexual intimacy with someone in a very strong manner but it is not a feeling as strong as love because it generally does not last long while romantic love lasts longer though the time (Bloemers et al., 2013; Poels et al., 2013; van Rooij et al., 2013).

Romantic love is a subcategory of love and love is connected to sex via the so-called 'associative bridge' that is a kind of metaphor to say that love and sex are linked, so romantic love and sex are also associated because when you love your partner, you want more intimacy or you develop a stronger desire for your partner (Manoharan1 & de Munck, 2017). Romantic love and love are linked differently to sexual desire because of the fact that love can regroup different kind of love such as parental love in the relationship between parents and children or fraternal love in the relationship between siblings while romantic love is what link two person together in an intimate relationship. As we said, romantic love is a subcategory of love and making a kind of hierarchy of words is a qualitative analytical tool for data collection procedures and it is also pervasive in human thinking because hierarchies economize the mental effort that we need for thinking and to communicate (Manoharan1 & de Munck, 2017).

In a way, romantic love and sexual desire are indeed linked but, in another way, each of them has their own independence. When we love somebody, this person becomes the object of our obsession and we automatically desire this person in a more intimate way (Manoharan1 & de Munck, 2017). We feel the desire to be closer to this person because we love her/him but in another way, we can develop sexual desire for someone for whom we have no feelings such as love (Diamond, 2017). As we said previously, sexual desire is defined by a need or drive to find the object of our desire or to engage sexual activities while romantic love is more powerful than this because there are feelings and attachment in addition between the intimate partners (Diamond, 2017). Also, it is easier to imagine sexual desire without love than to think about love without sexual desire even though many men and women said that they experienced having feelings of romantic love without sexual desire, which sounds controversial when it is known that there is a possibility to have a platonic relationship between two people who love each other (Diamond, 2017).

The independence between love and sexual desire has been explained but not the principal topic that is the commitment between two person who love each other. To understand this concept of commitment better, in is important to understand what are the different phases or types of love. Thus, it is important to talk about the three models of the union theory of love (Schmidt, 2017). Indeed, Schmidt (2017) said that the theory of love can be split in different forms that is described as the physical, psychic or ontological union between two persons. Because of the several contra-intuitive implications, this theory might appear to be implausible but Schmidt also introduced three models of the union theory of love consisting of the strong ontological model, that is the fact that two people in love 'melt' in order to be one single new entity (Schmidt, 2017).

There is also the concept of the striving model of love that is the fact that love is essentially understood as a striving for union and finally, the final model is the moderate ontological model, which consist that both individuals in one respect continue to exist as two distinct individuals while in another respect the very close connection does give rise to a new entity that is called the 'union' (Schmidt, 2017). It is important to understand those different type of love to understand how people can remain committed to one and only person because it helps us to understand what can connect two people so much that it makes them think that the person that they choose is the 'best person in the world' while they did not even met everyone in the whole world (Gonzaga, Haselton, Smurda, Davies & Poore, 2008).

Two partners need to have generally the same goal, desires or enough things in common to build their relationship on a strong base (Goodboy & Booth-butterfield, 2009). In others words, the two individuals who are part of an exclusive relationship need to feel close enough to stay committed to one another because relational closeness and the experience of love are related (Goodboy & Booth-butterfield, 2009). Closeness in a relationship can be explained as having cognitive interdependence with someone by establishing a connection between our self and the other by sharing relational identities, resources, and perspectives (Goodboy & Booth-butterfield, 2009). There is a need to find this person special, exceptional in order to develop a kind of addiction of this person who could not be replaced by someone else (Goodboy & Booth-butterfield, 2009).

The relation between romantic love and desire for intimacy in the relationship and the difference between these two distinct behavioural systems has


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