Chapter 5. Chosing a Partner
Chapter 5. Chosing a Partner
Love and Selecting a Partner
5-1 Ways of Conceptualizing Love
5-2 Love in Social and Historical Context
5-3 How Love Develops in a New Relationship
5-4 Jealousy in Relationships
5-5 Cultural Restrictions on Whom an Individual Love
5-6 Sociological Factors Operative in Partnering
5-8 Sociobiological Factors Operative in Partnering
5-10 Marrying for the Wrong Reasons
Ways of Conceptualizing Love
• Love involves deep, abiding feelings for the
well-being of another with a focus on the
• Lust is about sexual desires and focuses on the
• Infatuation is about emotional feelings based
on little actual exposure to the love object.
• Ludic: views love as a game
• Pragma: logical and rational
• Eros: passion and romance
• Mania: obsessive jealousy and control
• Storge: calm friendship
• Agape: focus on well-being of love object
Match the style with the description
Respect and friendship
Need for security
• Conjugal (married) love: the love between
married people characterized by
companionship, calmness, comfort, and
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love
• 3 basic elements: intimacy, passion, and
• Types of Love
– Nonlove: absence of intimacy, passion, and
– Liking: intimacy without passion or commitment
– Infatuation: passion without intimacy or
– Romantic love: intimacy and passion without
• Types of love
– Conjugal love (companionate): intimacy and
commitment without passion
– Fatuous love: passion and commitment without
– Empty love: commitment without passion or
– Consummate love: combination of intimacy,
passion, and commitment
Love in Social and Historical Context
• The society in which we live controls our
experience of love.
• Arranged marriage: mate selection pattern
whereby parents select the spouse of their
• Parents influence mate selection in the U.S. by
moving to certain neighborhoods, joining
certain churches, and enrolling in certain
Love in Context
• About 90% of people marry someone of the
same racial background.
• Only 8 states currently have laws protecting
Love in Context
• In medieval Europe, marriage was arranged
and love was not tied to marriage.
• Love was conceptualized as an adoration of
physical beauty and as spiritual and romantic.
• With the end of the feudal system, marriage
became less a political and business
arrangement and more a mutually desired
Love in Context
• In colonial America, marriage was regarded as
a business arrangement between fathers.
• Dowry (trousseau): included money and/or
valuables that the girl’s father would pay the
How Love Develops in a New
• Our society promotes love through popular
music, movies, and novels.
• The probability of being involved in a love
relationship is influenced by the cultural ideal
of physical appearance.
How Love Develops
Psychological Conditions for Love
• Perception of reciprocal liking
• Personality qualities
Eight Dimensions of Self-Disclosure
1. Background and History
2. Feelings toward the
3. Feelings toward self
4. Feelings about one’s body
5. Attitudes toward social
6. Tastes and interests
7. Money and work
8. Feelings about friends
• Arousal (strong physiological reactions when
in the presence of the other) is associated
with falling in love.
• Other factors associated with falling in love
include appearance, common interests, and
Jealousy in Relationships
• Jealousy: an emotional response to a
perceived or real threat to an important or
• Types of jealousy
– Reactive: reaction to something
– Anxious: obsession with partner’s behavior
– Possessive: attacking the partner who is perceived
as being unfaithful
• External causes of jealousy:
behaviors of the partner
interpreted as cause for
– Extradyadic relationship:
emotional or sexual
involvement between a
member of a couple and
someone other than the
• Internal causes of jealousy: characteristics of
individuals that predispose them to jealous
– Low self-esteem
– Lack of perceived alternatives
• Jealousy signifies that the
partner is cared for and
• Jealousy can make the
individual miserable and
the partner irritated.
Cultural Restrictions on Love and
• Endogamy: the cultural
expectation to select a
marriage partner within
one’s social group
• Exogamy: the cultural
expectation that one will
marry outside the group
• Pool of eligibles: the
population from which a
person selects an
Sociological Factors Operative in
Homogamy: individual initiative toward sameness
• Marriage squeeze: imbalance of the ratio of
marriageable-age men to marriageable-age women
Open-mindedness: receptive to understanding alternative
points of view, values, and behaviors
• Social class
– Mating gradient: tendency for husbands to be
more advanced than their wives with regard to
age, education, and occupational success
• Physical appearance
• Marital status
• Economic values, money management and
Psychological Factors Operative in
theory states that we
tend to select mates
whose needs are
complementary to our
Exchange theory emphasizes that mate
selection is based on assessing who offers the
greatest rewards at the lowest cost.
• The theory focuses on rewards, costs, profit,
loss, and alternative.
• The principle of least interest states that the
person who has the least interest in a
relationship controls the relationship.
• Role (or modeling) theory of mate selection
emphasizes that a son or daughter models the
parent of the same sex by selecting a partner
similar to the one the parent selected.
• Characteristics desired in a mate include warmth,
kindness, sense of humor and education.
• Characteristics not desired include controlling,
narcissistic, poor impulse control, and inflated
Sociobiological Factors Operative in
Sociobiology suggests a biological basis for all
• Men look for a young, healthy, attractive,
sexually conservative women who will
produce healthy children.
• Women look for an ambitious man with good
economic capacity who will invest his
resources in her children.
Engagement: period of time during which
committed, monogamous partners focus on
wedding preparations and systematically
examine their relationship
• Ask specific questions
• Visit parents
• Participate in premarital education
Marrying for the Wrong Reasons
Filling a void
Consider calling off the wedding if:
• Age 18 or younger
• Known partner less than two years
• Abusive relationship
• Numerous significant differences
• On-and-off relationship
• Parental disapproval
• Low sexual satisfaction
• There are different styles of loving.
• Sternberg’s Triangular theory of love points to
various types of relationships.
• Love has not always been connected to
• A variety of conditions lead to the
development of love.
• Jealousy has a number of causes and can be
beneficial or detrimental to the relationship.
• Culture influences mate selection through
endogamy and exogamy.
• We tend toward homogamy in partner
• Exchange theory suggests we select those
who reward us.
• Wrong reasons for marrying include
unplanned pregnancy, escape, and being on
1. What are the different conceptualizations of
2. How has love been influenced by the social
and historical context?
3. What are the conditions that lead to the
development of love?
4. What are the causes and consequences of
5. How does society influence our partner
6. What is homogamy?
7. What theories explain the psychology of
8. How does sociobiology explain mate
9. What are the wrong reasons for marrying?