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Why do we need Life Partner?

Why do we need Life Partner?



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We all get into relationship. We at times move out of them when the needs (emotional,physical,mental,monetary,etc.) are not met. We keep searching for that one life partner. Why do we(human beings) need that one "Life partner"?


The root cause is almost certainly procreation. Our relationship tendencies developed along with our biology. Humans tend to have one child at a time, and human children mature very slowly. This suggests that during most of human history, it would be advantageous for a female to keep a male with her, helping to provide food and protection for herself and her children. The strategy for the male is either to play along, or to breed so quickly as to outweigh the devastating effect of a long maturation without sufficient protection. Others species, many of which breed in greater numbers, have different mating habits.


Why Do Some People Date Multiple Partners at the Same Time?

A reader asked the following question: I’m interested in why some people like dating multiple people at a time and others only focus on one. Is it just for attention? Low self esteem? Or maybe it’s survival of the fittest- don’t stop on one until you’re officially locked down?

As you’ve probably noticed, the expectation in most cultures and societies is for individuals to be romantically involved with only one person at a time. This probably stems from the fact that marriage (which is almost universally defined as a union of two people) is frequently promoted as the “ideal” relationship state we should all be striving for. As a result, it tends to be the exception rather than the rule that people report engaging in non-monogamy.

For those who get involved with multiple partners simultaneously, why do they do it? There could be any number of reasons. Some might do it because they just aren’t ready to commit to one person, while some just aren’t sure what they’re looking for. Others might be driven by narcissism, sexual compulsion, or a need for validation. I should also note that some individuals simply feel like they can love multiple people at the same time, a practice known as polyamory.

In terms of what the scientific research has to say, you were on to something when you mentioned “survival of the fittest.” The field of evolutionary psychology thinks it is a natural human tendency to desire multiple partners, particularly if you are a man. In fact, research from around the world has shown that men have significantly greater desire for “sexual variety” (i.e., having a lot of different partners) over the course of their lives than women. 1

Why do men want to be with so many people? From an evolutionary perspective, one of our major motivations or instincts is to produce as many of our own genetic offspring as possible in order to ensure that our genes are carried on to future generations. However, because the act of producing a child is, undisputedly, simpler for men than it is for women, the sexes tend to approach the mating game very differently. 2 For men, the evolutionary strategy that makes the most sense is to sleep with as many women as possible because this maximizes their odds of having a lot of babies. For women, though, sleeping around indiscriminately makes far less sense. Yes, it might increase the chances of her becoming pregnant, but keep in mind that having a child requires a significant investment on the mother’s part, not only in terms of the 9 month pregnancy, but also in terms of the resources required to ensure that child’s health and survival after birth. Women who keep getting impregnated by guys who fail to stick around and help out with the kids may find themselves at an evolutionary disadvantage because they have to provide for themselves and their children entirely on their own (which probably proved exceptionally challenging in the days of hunter-gathers). As a result, the best evolutionary strategy for women is usually to be selective and hold out for a partner who will be reliable.

Thus, to answer your question, there are a lot of reasons why someone might choose to date several people at the same time, but at least for men, the desire for multiple partners might stem from an evolutionary drive.

Interested in learning more about relationships? Click here for other topics on Science of Relationships. Like us on Facebook to get our articles delivered directly to your NewsFeed.

For more on evolutionary psychology in particular, see here.

1 Schmitt, D., et al. (2003). Universal sex differences in the desire for sexual variety: Tests from 52 nations, 6 continents, and 13 islands. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 85-104.

2 Buss, D. M., & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100, 204–232.

Dr. Justin Lehmiller – Science of Relationships articles | Website/CV
Dr. Lehmiller’s research program focuses on how secrecy and stigmatization impact relationship quality and physical and psychological health. He also conducts research on commitment, sexuality, and safer-sex practices.


Projection is when one person attributes their own thoughts and actions to someone else. For example, a person that is being unfaithful may blame their partner for cheating. So the person being blamed spends their energy defending themselves instead of taking a closer look at their partner and judging their actions.

A person who sends mixed messages may act interested for a while and then ignore you completely—only to start acting interested again later. So what&aposs the point of that? Well, they may unintentionally do it because they are not sure of their own feelings. But if they do that intentionally, it&aposs for the purpose of making you feel desperate and insecure and more focused on them.


Love and belonging are part of Maslow&aposs hierarchy of needs. This pyramid was created based on Abraham Maslow&aposs view of what humans need in order to grow and finally meet "self-actualization". Once one&aposs physiological needs such as breathing, water, food, etc. and the feeling of security and safety are met, a person needs to feel love and belonging in order to grow. I think this is much because of the drive love gives us in order to reach the next levels of esteem and then to be content with our lives.

Love comes more from a physical drive than an emotional one. The need to love in a romantic sense comes from the animal instinct that we need to procreate and keep our race alive. We also have a natural instinct to love and care for our children just like most other mammals who raise their children until they are ready and able to venture out on their own.

Without the fulfillment of feeling loved or loving something else a person does not have the motivation to achieve anything. When people are not motivated in their life the drive meet basic needs is not as strong and self-actualization cannot happen. Even non-social people need to love and belong to something before they can achieve esteem and lead happy and motivated lives.


Why We Really Need Relationships in Life

Relationships are imperative for many different reasons such as increasing our emotional well being, creating stability, learning how to be a good friend or mate, having someone to count on and trust in times of need and someone to vent to when we face challenges, and friends and mates take away loneliness and make us feel included. Each of our relationships elicit different responses in ourselves that help us to grow and learn about ourselves. Relationships often times are the glue that holds us together during times of stressful situations and when we face life difficulties. Without relationships we would have a deadened spirit and a lack of connection to our true selves!

Men and women need relationships in different capacities and for different reasons. We tend to gravitate to others like ourselves because we share relatable careers, places we frequent, fun activities and hobbies, so that makes relationships a must in order to have people that make us better. However, men and women differ in how we formulate lasting bonds with others. Women are much more emotionally connected and invested and rely on girlfriends or a mate for things like parental advice, romantic gratification, someone to help with our children's development and cognitive capabilities and learning how to be better at life and in a relationship and learn from experiences. Men don't have to be emotionally attached to receive sexual pleasure from other women but closeness does matter to them as well as it does to women Men are not nearly as emotionally invested when they engage in certain activities like going to the gym or watching sporting events together. Matter of fact, most men show up, do the planned activity and then leave without ever thinking about what went wrong, if there were mixed words or if the other person is ok. Men are easier at compartmentalizing their feeling in relationships and women tend to hold grudges, take longer dealing with emotional baggage and allow issues to linger longer. Men move on faster in relationships, making it easier on themselves to be connected with the opposite sex and those of the same much faster than women. Relationships usually are our mirrors showing us ways we need to change and become better mates and friends. Also, our friends and the people we have long term relationships with allow us to be vulnerable and ask for help when we normally wouldn't with complete strangers. When in relationships often times we meet new people through the people we are already connected with and grow our circles! It is fun to have diversified life experiences, people to truly learn who they are and to teach them interesting new information and go on new adventures together!

Relationships show us how to love and be love as well as who we want to be in life and who we don't. Having serious trusting relationships allows us to truly be our true selves. We must be open to meeting new people and having spiritual connections will help us grow our faith and be able to inspire others to open us to new possibilities. Just be you and the right people will be in your life for the right reasons! Always be authentically you and other will love the real you!!


What are the 6 human needs?

1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others

Everyone ranks these human needs differently, and the way they are ranked explain why you are the way you are as a person . The top four needs in the list above shape our personality, while the last two (growth and contribution) shape our spiritual needs. People’s needs can be met in a variety of ways we seek fulfillment through our relationships, careers, personal interests and more. Here’s more on the basic human needs and what they mean.

Certainty

If certainty is one of your core needs , you need to feel secure and safe about the future. When you receive positive recognition, it may be accompanied by a need for certainty that the recognition is authentic and will continue. In order to live a life filled with certainty, your life has to stay the same – a nearly impossible expectation to fulfill. So, you artificially control your environment by changing your expectations or by avoiding new situations or people. This process provides you with assurance that your actions will either avoid pain or gain pleasure, which then fulfills the basic human need for certainty.

How to tell if certainty is one of your core needs : You are trustworthy and always do what you say you’ll do. You enjoy planning, thrive on a schedule and are very organized. You’re hesitant to take risks and have new experiences. You may fall into addictive or obsessive behaviors.

How to fulfill a need for certainty : Find activities that you enjoy, but that also push you slightly out of your comfort zone. Incorporate healthy and empowering routines into your life. Give back to others to promote growth and contribution in a consistent way.

Uncertainty/variety

Though it’s important to understand the beauty of uncertainty , those who experience this as one of their top basic human needs can take it to an extreme. They engage in frequent job or relationship changes for the sake of variety, or take unnecessary risks to achieve the adrenaline jolt they crave. However, if uncertainty is one of your top 6 human needs , you will be unafraid of taking risks and will not avoid new situations or people.

How to tell if variety is one of your core needs : You’re generally outgoing and like meeting new people. You’re always willing to do something new and have many interests. You can be unfocused and lack planning skills, and perhaps push people away in relationships.

How to fulfill a need for variety : Feed your mind regularly with a variety of new information. Switch up your exercise routine, eat new foods and take classes with new people. Learn how to ignite passion in your life and relationships.

Significance

If significance is among the top two of your 6 human needs , then part of meeting that need includes receiving recognition. This translate s into a desire to be seen, heard and listened to – in short, you want to be noticed. You measure significance by what you believe makes you unique compared to everyone else around you. Recognition provides you with a sense of validation that makes you feel seen, special and/or needed. Recognition is a major driving force behind human behavior because it provides us with a measurement system to analyze and track our significance. Recognition is also an extremely important part of keeping up employee productivity .

Those who don’t devise a positive way to feel significant may end up taking drastic measures to make themselves feel good, like turning to alcohol or engaging in frequent arguments. Others surround themselves with people that they view as less skilled or accomplished to provide contrast to their own achievements. Either scenario can result in increased significance – but neither behavior is particularly healthy.

How to tell if significance is one of your core needs : You’re highly driven to be successful and love setting and reaching goals . You’re committed to a cause – or several causes. Others tell you that you stand out. You can be overly competitive, perfectionistic or dramatic.

How to fulfill a need for significance : Channel your competitive nature into healthy activities by learning a new sport or skill or by volunteering. Work on your people skills to become a more well-rounded leader . Commit to total mastery of your profession or career.

Connection/love

If connection/love is your top basic human need, you are constantly seeking out a close relationship with someone or something. You truly understand that love wakes you up to the gift of life . People need love, and this can lead to some incredibly fulfilling relationships – but it can also cause you to sacrifice self-care in order to take care of others or maintain a partnership.

How to tell if connection is one of your core needs : Loyalty and generosity with those you love are your top values . You give freely and others find you trustworthy. You have strong social ties, but you can sometimes lose your sense of self and find it hard to say “no.”

How to fulfill a need for connection : Be willing to be vulnerable and create deeper, more meaningful friendships. Communicate your needs to your partner to improve intimacy. Achieve greater spirituality through prayer, meditation or connecting with nature.

Growth

Those whose foremost core need is growth are always striving to be better and learn more. They are very good at their jobs, but tend to move on quickly as soon as they believe they’ve reached their full potential. Though their constant striving for betterment ensures they will never be bored, they can err on the side of perfectionism and neglect the rest and relaxation they need to keep stress levels manageable .

How to tell if growth is one of your core needs : You’re always pushing boundaries, both your own and those set for you by others and by society. You’re very independent and are not attached to material things. You may find it hard to connect with others and move on too quickly from relationships.

How to fulfill a need for growth : Develop your growth mindset even further by challenging yourself to not only learn, but truly master a difficult skill. Don’t forget emotional and spiritual growth: examine your limiting beliefs , learn to control your emotions and take up meditation or priming .

Contribution

The secret to living is giving , and those who experience contribution as one of their top 6 human needs know this better than anyone. If you have a need to contribute, you will likely make a big difference in your community. However, you can lose sight of the fact that giving begins at home and neglect those closest to you as you change the world.

How to tell if contribution is one of your core needs : You’re an extremely empathetic and compassionate person. You enjoy giving back and sharing what you have. You want to leave a legacy . Yet you may burn out easily or be taken advantage of by others.

How to fulfill a need for contribution : Giving back is the best way to fulfill this need. Don’t just join a volunteer group – start your own. The closer the cause is to your heart, the more fulfilled you will feel.


Contents

Intimate relationships Edit

Romantic relationships generally Edit

Romantic relationships have been defined in countless ways, by writers, philosophers, religions, scientists, and in the modern day, relationship counselors. Two popular definitions of love are Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love and Fisher's theory of love. [2] [3] [4] Sternberg defines love in terms of intimacy, passion, and commitment, which he claims exist in varying levels in different romantic relationships. Fisher defines love as composed of three stages: attraction, romantic love, and attachment. Romantic relationships may exist between two people of any gender, or among a group of people (see polyamory).

Romance Edit

The single defining quality of a romantic relationship is the presence of love. Love is therefore equally difficult to define. Hazan and Shaver [5] define love, using Ainsworth's attachment theory, as comprising proximity, emotional support, self-exploration, and separation distress when parted from the loved one. Other components commonly agreed to be necessary for love are physical attraction, similarity, [6] reciprocity, [3] and self-disclosure. [7]

Platonic love Edit

As the Merriam Webster dictionary explains platonic love as, " love conceived by Plato as ascending from passion for the individual to contemplation of the universal and ideal." [8] It is a love that is affectionate but not sexual in modern terms it can be easily be mistaken for a sexual relationship.

Life stages Edit

Early adolescent relationships are characterized by companionship, reciprocity, and sexual experiences. As emerging adults mature, they begin to develop attachment and caring qualities in their relationships, including love, bonding, security, and support for partners. Earlier relationships also tend to be shorter and exhibit greater involvement with social networks. [9] Later relationships are often marked by shrinking social networks, as the couple dedicates more time to each other than to associates. [10] Later relationships also tend to exhibit higher levels of commitment. [9]

Most psychologists and relationship counselors predict a decline of intimacy and passion over time, replaced by a greater emphasis on companionate love (differing from adolescent companionate love in the caring, committed, and partner-focused qualities). However, couple studies have found no decline in intimacy nor in the importance of sex, intimacy, and passionate love to those in longer or later-life relationships. [11] Older people tend to be more satisfied in their relationships, but face greater barriers to entering new relationships than do younger or middle-aged people. [12] Older women in particular face social, demographic, and personal barriers men aged 65 and older are nearly twice as likely as women to be married, and widowers are nearly three times as likely to be dating 18 months following their partner's loss compared to widows.

Significant other Edit

The term significant other gained popularity during the 1990s, reflecting the growing acceptance of 'non-heteronormative' relationships. It can be used to avoid making an assumption about the gender or relational status (e.g. married, cohabitating, civil union) of a person's intimate partner. Cohabiting relationships continue to rise, with many partners considering cohabitation to be nearly as serious as, or a substitute for, marriage. [12] LGBTQ people in particular may face unique challenges in establishing and maintaining intimate relationships. The strain of 'internalized homo-negativity' and of presenting themselves in line with socially acceptable gender norms can reduce the satisfaction and emotional and health benefits they experience in their relationships. [13] [14] [15] LGBTQ youth also lack the social support and peer connections enjoyed by hetero-normative young people. [16] Nonetheless, comparative studies of homosexual and heterosexual couples have found few differences in relationship intensity, quality, satisfaction, or commitment. [17]

Marital relationship Edit

Although nontraditional relationships continue to rise, marriage still makes up the majority of relationships except among emerging adults. [18] It is also still considered by many to occupy a place of greater importance among family and social structures.

Familial relationships Edit

Parent–child Edit

In ancient times, parent–child relationships were often marked by fear, either of rebellion or abandonment, resulting in the strict filial roles in, for example, ancient Rome and China. [19] [20] Freud conceived of the Oedipal complex, the supposed obsession that young boys have towards their mothers and the accompanying fear and rivalry with their fathers, and the Electra complex, in which the young girl feels that her mother has castrated her and therefore becomes obsessed with her father. Freud's ideas influenced thought on parent–child relationships for decades. [21]

Another early conception of parent–child relationships was that love only existed as a biological drive for survival and comfort on the child's part. [ citation needed ] In 1958, however, Harry Harlow’s study comparing rhesus’ reactions to wire "mothers" and cloth "mothers" demonstrated the depth of emotion felt by infants. [ according to whom? ]

The study laid the groundwork for Mary Ainsworth’s attachment theory, showing how the infants used their cloth "mothers" as a secure base from which to explore. [22] [23] In a series of studies using the strange situation, a scenario in which an infant is separated from then reunited with the parent, Ainsworth defined three styles of parent-child relationship.

  • securely attached infants miss the parent, greet them happily upon return, and show normal exploration and lack of fear when the parent is present.
  • insecure avoidant infants show little distress upon separation and ignore the caregiver when they return they explore little when the parent is present. Infants also tend to be emotionally unavailable. [24]
  • insecure ambivalent infants are highly distressed by separation, but continue to be distressed upon the parent's return these infants also explore little and display fear even when the parent is present.
  • some psychologists have suggested a fourth attachment style, disorganized, so called because the infants’ behavior appeared disorganized or disoriented. [25]

Secure attachments are linked to better social and academic outcomes, greater moral internalization, [ further explanation needed ] and less delinquency for children, and have been found to predict later relationship success. [26] [27] [3]

For most of the late nineteenth through the twentieth century, the perception of adolescent-parent relationships was that of a time of upheaval. G. Stanley Hall popularized the “Sturm und drang”, or storm and stress, model of adolescence. [ citation needed ] Psychological research has painted a much tamer picture. Although adolescents are more risk-seeking and emerging adults have higher suicide rates, they are largely less volatile and have much better relationships with their parents than this [ which? ] model would suggest [28] Early adolescence often marks a decline in parent-child relationship quality, which then re-stabilizes through adolescence, and relationships are sometimes better in late adolescence than prior to its onset. [29] With the increasing average age at marriage and more youths attending college and living with parents past their teens, the concept of a new period called emerging adulthood gained popularity. This is considered a period of uncertainty and experimentation between adolescence and adulthood. During this stage, interpersonal relationships are considered to be more self-focused, and relationships with parents may still be influential. [30]

Siblings Edit

Sibling relationships have a profound effect on social, psychological, emotional, and academic outcomes. Although proximity and contact usually decreases over time, sibling bonds continue to affect people throughout their lives. Sibling relationships are affected by parent-child relationships, such that sibling relationships in childhood often reflect the positive or negative aspects of children's relationships with their parents. [31]

Other examples of interpersonal relationship Edit

  • Egalitarian and platonic friendship[32] — a person with whom an individual maintains a friendly interaction despite underlying conflict, possibly encompassing rivalry, mistrust, jealousy or competition [33]
  • Business relationships and employee and tenant
  • Coworker

Interpersonal relationships are dynamic systems that change continuously during their existence. Like living organisms, relationships have a beginning, a lifespan, and an end. They tend to grow and improve gradually, as people get to know each other and become closer emotionally, or they gradually deteriorate as people drift apart, move on with their lives and form new relationships with others. One of the most influential models of relationship development was proposed by psychologist George Levinger. [34] This model was formulated to describe heterosexual, adult romantic relationships, but it has been applied to other kinds of interpersonal relations as well. According to the model, the natural development of a relationship follows five stages:

  1. Acquaintance and acquaintanceship – Becoming acquainted depends on previous relationships, physical proximity, first impressions, and a variety of other factors. If two people begin to like each other, continued interactions may lead to the next stage, but acquaintance can continue indefinitely. Another example is the association.
  2. Buildup – During this stage, people begin to trust and care about each other. The need for intimacy, compatibility and such filtering agents as common background and goals will influence whether or not interaction continues.
  3. Continuation – This stage follows a mutual commitment to quite a strong and close long-term friendship, romantic relationship, or even marriage. It is generally a long, relatively stable period. Nevertheless, continued growth and development will occur during this time. Mutual trust is important for sustaining the relationship.
  4. Deterioration – Not all relationships deteriorate, but those that do tend to show signs of trouble. Boredom, resentment, and dissatisfaction may occur, and individuals may communicate less and avoid self-disclosure. Loss of trust and betrayals may take place as the downward spiral continues, eventually ending the relationship. (Alternately, the participants may find some way to resolve the problems and reestablish trust and belief in others.)
  5. Ending – The final stage marks the end of the relationship, either by breakups, death or by spatial separation for quite some time and severing all existing ties of either friendship or romantic love.

Terminating a relationship Edit

According to the latest Systematic Review of the Economic Literature on the Factors associated with Life Satisfaction (dating from 2007), stable and secure relationships are beneficial, and correspondingly, relationship dissolution is harmful. [35]

The American Psychological Association has summarized the evidence on breakups. Breaking up can actually be a positive experience when the relationship did not expand the self and when the breakup leads to personal growth. They also recommend some ways to cope with the experience:

  • Purposefully focusing on the positive aspects of the breakup ("factors leading up to the break-up, the actual break-up, and the time right after the break-up")
  • Minimizing the negative emotions
  • Journaling the positive aspects of the breakup (e.g. "comfort, confidence, empowerment, energy, happiness, optimism, relief, satisfaction, thankfulness, and wisdom"). This exercise works best, although not exclusively, when the breakup is mutual. [36]

Less time between a breakup and a subsequent relationship predicts higher self-esteem, attachment security, emotional stability, respect for your new partner, and greater well-being. Furthermore, rebound relationships don't last any shorter than regular relationships. [37] [38] 60% of people are friends with one or more ex. [39] 60% of people have had an off-and-on relationship. 37% of cohabiting couples, and 23% of the married, have broken up and gotten back together with their existing partner. [40]

Terminating a marital relationship implies a divorce. One reason cited for divorce is infidelity. The determinants of unfaithfulness are debated by dating service providers, feminists, academics, and science communicators. [41] [42] [43] [44] According to Psychology Today, women's, rather than men's, level of commitment more strongly determines if a relationship will continue. [45]

Abusive Edit

Abusive relationships involve either maltreatment or violence from one individual to another and include physical abuse, physical neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional maltreatment. [46] Abusive relationships within the family are very prevalent in the United States and usually involve women or children as victims. [47] Common individual factors for abusers include low self-esteem, poor impulse control, external locus of control, drug use, alcohol abuse, and negative affectivity. [48] There are also external factors such as stress, poverty, and loss which contribute to likelihood of abuse. [49]

Codependent Edit

Codependency initially focused on a codependent partner enabling substance abuse, but has become more broadly defined to describe a dysfunctional relationship with extreme dependence on or preoccupation with another person. [50] There are some who even refer to codependency as an addiction to the relationship. [51] The focus of a codependent individual tends to be on the emotional state, behavioral choices, thoughts, and beliefs of another person. [52] Often those who are codependent neglect themselves in favor of taking care of others and have difficulty fully developing their identity on their own. [53]

Narcissists Edit

Narcissists focus on themselves and often distance themselves from intimate relationships the focus of narcissistic interpersonal relationships is to promote one's self-concept. [54] Generally, narcissists show less empathy in relationships and view love pragmatically or as a game involving others' emotions. [55] [54]

Narcissist are usually a part of the personality disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). In relationships, they tend to affect the other person as they attempt to use them to enhance their self-esteem. [56] Specific types of NPD make a person incapable of having an interpersonal relationship due to them being cunning, envious, and contemptuous. [56]

Human beings are innately social and are shaped by their experiences with others. There are multiple perspectives to understand this inherent motivation to interact with others.

Need to belong Edit

According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, humans need to feel love (sexual/nonsexual) and acceptance from social groups (family, peer groups). In fact, the need to belong is so innately ingrained that it may be strong enough to overcome physiological and safety needs, such as children's attachment to abusive parents or staying in abusive romantic relationships. Such examples illustrate the extent to which the psychobiological drive to belong is entrenched.

Social exchange Edit

Another way to appreciate the importance of relationships is in terms of a reward framework. This perspective suggests that individuals engage in relations that are rewarding in both tangible and intangible ways. The concept fits into a larger theory of social exchange. This theory is based on the idea that relationships develop as a result of cost-benefit analysis. Individuals seek out rewards in interactions with others and are willing to pay a cost for said rewards. In the best-case scenario, rewards will exceed costs, producing a net gain. This can lead to "shopping around" or constantly comparing alternatives to maximize the benefits or rewards while minimizing costs.

Relational self Edit

Relationships are also important for their ability to help individuals develop a sense of self. The relational self is the part of an individual's self-concept that consists of the feelings and beliefs that one has regarding oneself that develops based on interactions with others. [57] In other words, one's emotions and behaviors are shaped by prior relationships. Relational self theory posits that prior and existing relationships influence one's emotions and behaviors in interactions with new individuals, particularly those individuals that remind him or her of others in his or her life. Studies have shown that exposure to someone who resembles a significant other activates specific self-beliefs, changing how one thinks about oneself in the moment more so than exposure to someone who does not resemble one's significant other. [58]

Power is the ability to influence the behavior of other people. When two parties have or assert unequal levels of power, one is termed "dominant" and the other "submissive". Expressions of dominance can communicate intention to assert or maintain dominance in a relationship. Being submissive can be beneficial because it saves time, emotional stress, and may avoid hostile actions such as withholding of resources, cessation of cooperation, termination of the relationship, maintaining a grudge, or even physical violence. Submission occurs in different degrees for example, some employees may follow orders without question, whereas others might express disagreement but concede when pressed.

Groups of people can form a dominance hierarchy. For example, a hierarchical organization uses a command hierarchy for top-down management. This can reduce time wasted in conflict over unimportant decisions, prevents inconsistent decisions from harming the operations of the organization, maintain alignment of a large population of workers with the goals of the owners (which the workers might not personally share) and, if promotion is based on merit, help ensure that the people with the best expertise make important decisions. This contrasts with group decision-making and systems which encourage decision-making and self-organization by front-line employees, who in some cases may have better information about customer needs or how to work efficiently. Dominance is only one aspect of organizational structure.

A power structure describes power and dominance relationships in a larger society. For example, a feudal society under a monarchy exhibits a strong dominance hierarchy in both economics and physical power, whereas dominance relationships in a society with democracy and capitalism are more complicated.

In business relationships, dominance is often associated with economic power. For example, a business may adopt a submissive attitude to customer preferences (stocking what customers want to buy) and complaints ("the customer is always right") in order to earn more money. A firm with monopoly power may be less responsive to customer complaints because it can afford to adopt a dominant position. In a business partnership a "silent partner" is one who adopts a submissive position in all aspects, but retains financial ownership and a share of the profits.

Two parties can be dominant in different areas. For example, in a friendship or romantic relationship, one person may have strong opinions about where to eat dinner, whereas the other has strong opinions about how to decorate a shared space. It could be beneficial for the party with weak preferences to be submissive in that area because it will not make them unhappy and avoids conflict with the party that would be unhappy.

The breadwinner model is associated with gender role assignments where the male in a heterosexual marriage would be dominant in all areas.

Social exchange theory and Rusbult's investment model shows that relationship satisfaction is based on three factors: rewards, costs, and comparison levels (Miller, 2012). [59] Rewards refer to any aspects of the partner or relationship that are positive. Conversely, costs are the negative or unpleasant aspects of the partner or their relationship. Comparison level includes what each partner expects of the relationship. The comparison level is influenced by past relationships, and general relationship expectations they are taught by family and friends.

Individuals in long-distance relationships, LDRs, rated their relationships as more satisfying than individuals in proximal relationship, PRs. [60] [61] Alternatively, Holt and Stone (1988) found that long-distance couples who were able to meet with their partner at least once a month had similar satisfaction levels to unmarried couples who cohabitated. [62] Also, the relationship satisfaction was lower for members of LDRs who saw their partner less frequently than once a month. LDR couples reported the same level of relationship satisfaction as couples in PRs, despite only seeing each other on average once every 23 days. [63]

Social exchange theory and the am investment model both theorize that relationships that are high in costs would be less satisfying than relationships that are low in costs. LDRs have a higher level of costs than PRs, therefore, one would assume that LDRs are less satisfying than PRs. Individuals in LDRs are more satisfied with their relationships compared to individuals in PRs. [61] This can be explained by unique aspects of the LDRs, how the individuals use relationship maintenance behaviors, and the attachment styles of the individuals in the relationships. Therefore, the costs and benefits of the relationship are subjective to the individual, and people in LDRs tend to report lower costs and higher rewards in their relationship compared to PRs. [61]

Theories and empirical research Edit

Confucianism Edit

Confucianism is a study and theory of relationships especially within hierarchies. [64] Social harmony—the central goal of Confucianism—results in part from every individual knowing his or her place in the social order, and playing his or her part well. Particular duties arise from each person's particular situation in relation to others. The individual stands simultaneously in several different relationships with different people: as a junior in relation to parents and elders and as a senior in relation to younger siblings, students, and others. Juniors are considered in Confucianism to owe their seniors reverence and seniors have duties of benevolence and concern toward juniors. A focus on mutuality is prevalent in East Asian cultures to this day.

Minding relationships Edit

The mindfulness theory of relationships shows how closeness in relationships may be enhanced. Minding is the "reciprocal knowing process involving the nonstop, interrelated thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of persons in a relationship." [65] Five components of "minding" include: [66]

  1. Knowing and being known: seeking to understand the partner
  2. Making relationship-enhancing attributions for behaviors: giving the benefit of the doubt
  3. Accepting and respecting: empathy and social skills
  4. Maintaining reciprocity: active participation in relationship enhancement
  5. Continuity in minding: persisting in mindfulness

Popular perceptions Edit

Popular perceptions of intimate relationships are strongly influenced by movies and television. Common messages are that love is predestined, love at first sight is possible, and that love with the right person always succeeds. Those who consume the most romance-related media tend to believe in predestined romance and that those who are destined to be together implicitly understand each other. These beliefs, however, can lead to less communication and problem-solving as well as giving up on relationships more easily when conflict is encountered. [67]

Social media Edit

Social media has changed the face of interpersonal relationships. Romantic interpersonal relationships are no less impacted. For example, in the United States, Facebook has become an integral part of the dating process for emerging adults. [68] Social media can have both positive and negative impacts on romantic relationships. For example, supportive social networks have been linked to more stable relationships. [69] However, social media usage can also facilitate conflict, jealousy, and passive aggressive behaviors such as spying on a partner. [70] Aside from direct effects on the development, maintenance, and perception of romantic relationships, excessive social network usage is linked to jealousy and dissatisfaction in relationships. [71]


What's Your Motive?

Why do you seek sex? Motivations generally fall into four main categories, according to psychologists at UT-Austin who asked more than 1,500 undergraduate college students about their sexual attitudes and experiences:

  • Physical reasons: Pleasure, stress relief, exercise, sexual curiosity, or attraction to a person
  • Goal-based reasons: To make a baby, improve social status (for example, to become popular), or seek revenge
  • Emotional reasons: Love, commitment, or gratitude
  • Insecurity reasons: To boost self-esteem, keep a partner from seeking sex elsewhere, or feeling a sense of duty or pressure (for example, a partner insists on having sex)

Continued


Why Do You Want To Be in a Relationship?

If you are a person who wants to be in a relationship, have you thought about why? Actually, there are two very different reasons for wanting a relationship. The first is about what you want to get, and the second is about what you want to learn and share.

Wanting a Relationship in Order to Get

What they might not say outright is that they want a relationship to:

You might be thinking, "Right! Aren't these the reasons everyone wants a relationship? Why be in a relationship if not to be loved, cherished, made to feel special, safe and secure? What's the point of a relationship if not to fill me, take away my loneliness and make me feel okay about myself?"

There really is another reason for wanting to be in a relationship.

Wanting a Relationship in Order to Heal, Learn and Share Love

The other reason for being in a relationship stems from the fact that relationships are the most fertile ground for learning about what is unhealed in us, and for having an arena to heal. Most of us have baggage from childhood that we carry into our primary relationship -- such as fears of rejection and fears of engulfment. These fears generally get played out with a partner, which offers us an incredible opportunity to learn about and heal them. Relationship can be the Ph.D. of personal growth!

Learning about your fears of intimacy, as well as about control issues that may surface with a primary partner, can lead to much personal growth -- enhancing your ability to love. The more you learn to take responsibility for your own feelings -- learning to love yourself, cherish yourself, make yourself feel special and valued -- the more you may want a relationship in order to share your love rather than to get love. Contrary to what many believe, it's not the getting of love that takes away loneliness, but the sharing of love.

The most profound and beautiful experience in life is the sharing of love. But we can't share our love unless we are filled with love. When we learn to fill ourselves with love from our "Source" -- whatever that is for each person, such as nature, spirit, God, the energy of the universe -- then we come to our partner with inner fullness rather than with inner emptiness. Rather than needing a partner to complete us, we desire to share our completeness with our partner.

When two people come together to get love rather than to learn, heal and share love, there is a strong possibility that their relationship won't last. With both partners trying to get loved and filled by the other, and neither one having learned to love and fill themselves, each will ultimately be disappointed. Very often, one or both might believe they've picked the wrong partner.

When two people come together because they want to learn together, grow together, heal together, share their time and companionship, and share their love and passion, they have a good chance of creating a lasting, loving relationship.


Everything You Need to Know about the Psychology of Choice

In this article, you will learn about 1) an introduction to choice and the psychology behind it, 2) debunking the psychology of choice, 3) bias and choice, and 4) why it is so hard to make a choice for most of us.


Love and belonging are part of Maslow&aposs hierarchy of needs. This pyramid was created based on Abraham Maslow&aposs view of what humans need in order to grow and finally meet "self-actualization". Once one&aposs physiological needs such as breathing, water, food, etc. and the feeling of security and safety are met, a person needs to feel love and belonging in order to grow. I think this is much because of the drive love gives us in order to reach the next levels of esteem and then to be content with our lives.

Love comes more from a physical drive than an emotional one. The need to love in a romantic sense comes from the animal instinct that we need to procreate and keep our race alive. We also have a natural instinct to love and care for our children just like most other mammals who raise their children until they are ready and able to venture out on their own.

Without the fulfillment of feeling loved or loving something else a person does not have the motivation to achieve anything. When people are not motivated in their life the drive meet basic needs is not as strong and self-actualization cannot happen. Even non-social people need to love and belong to something before they can achieve esteem and lead happy and motivated lives.


What are the 6 human needs?

1. Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others

Everyone ranks these human needs differently, and the way they are ranked explain why you are the way you are as a person . The top four needs in the list above shape our personality, while the last two (growth and contribution) shape our spiritual needs. People’s needs can be met in a variety of ways we seek fulfillment through our relationships, careers, personal interests and more. Here’s more on the basic human needs and what they mean.

Certainty

If certainty is one of your core needs , you need to feel secure and safe about the future. When you receive positive recognition, it may be accompanied by a need for certainty that the recognition is authentic and will continue. In order to live a life filled with certainty, your life has to stay the same – a nearly impossible expectation to fulfill. So, you artificially control your environment by changing your expectations or by avoiding new situations or people. This process provides you with assurance that your actions will either avoid pain or gain pleasure, which then fulfills the basic human need for certainty.

How to tell if certainty is one of your core needs : You are trustworthy and always do what you say you’ll do. You enjoy planning, thrive on a schedule and are very organized. You’re hesitant to take risks and have new experiences. You may fall into addictive or obsessive behaviors.

How to fulfill a need for certainty : Find activities that you enjoy, but that also push you slightly out of your comfort zone. Incorporate healthy and empowering routines into your life. Give back to others to promote growth and contribution in a consistent way.

Uncertainty/variety

Though it’s important to understand the beauty of uncertainty , those who experience this as one of their top basic human needs can take it to an extreme. They engage in frequent job or relationship changes for the sake of variety, or take unnecessary risks to achieve the adrenaline jolt they crave. However, if uncertainty is one of your top 6 human needs , you will be unafraid of taking risks and will not avoid new situations or people.

How to tell if variety is one of your core needs : You’re generally outgoing and like meeting new people. You’re always willing to do something new and have many interests. You can be unfocused and lack planning skills, and perhaps push people away in relationships.

How to fulfill a need for variety : Feed your mind regularly with a variety of new information. Switch up your exercise routine, eat new foods and take classes with new people. Learn how to ignite passion in your life and relationships.

Significance

If significance is among the top two of your 6 human needs , then part of meeting that need includes receiving recognition. This translate s into a desire to be seen, heard and listened to – in short, you want to be noticed. You measure significance by what you believe makes you unique compared to everyone else around you. Recognition provides you with a sense of validation that makes you feel seen, special and/or needed. Recognition is a major driving force behind human behavior because it provides us with a measurement system to analyze and track our significance. Recognition is also an extremely important part of keeping up employee productivity .

Those who don’t devise a positive way to feel significant may end up taking drastic measures to make themselves feel good, like turning to alcohol or engaging in frequent arguments. Others surround themselves with people that they view as less skilled or accomplished to provide contrast to their own achievements. Either scenario can result in increased significance – but neither behavior is particularly healthy.

How to tell if significance is one of your core needs : You’re highly driven to be successful and love setting and reaching goals . You’re committed to a cause – or several causes. Others tell you that you stand out. You can be overly competitive, perfectionistic or dramatic.

How to fulfill a need for significance : Channel your competitive nature into healthy activities by learning a new sport or skill or by volunteering. Work on your people skills to become a more well-rounded leader . Commit to total mastery of your profession or career.

Connection/love

If connection/love is your top basic human need, you are constantly seeking out a close relationship with someone or something. You truly understand that love wakes you up to the gift of life . People need love, and this can lead to some incredibly fulfilling relationships – but it can also cause you to sacrifice self-care in order to take care of others or maintain a partnership.

How to tell if connection is one of your core needs : Loyalty and generosity with those you love are your top values . You give freely and others find you trustworthy. You have strong social ties, but you can sometimes lose your sense of self and find it hard to say “no.”

How to fulfill a need for connection : Be willing to be vulnerable and create deeper, more meaningful friendships. Communicate your needs to your partner to improve intimacy. Achieve greater spirituality through prayer, meditation or connecting with nature.

Growth

Those whose foremost core need is growth are always striving to be better and learn more. They are very good at their jobs, but tend to move on quickly as soon as they believe they’ve reached their full potential. Though their constant striving for betterment ensures they will never be bored, they can err on the side of perfectionism and neglect the rest and relaxation they need to keep stress levels manageable .

How to tell if growth is one of your core needs : You’re always pushing boundaries, both your own and those set for you by others and by society. You’re very independent and are not attached to material things. You may find it hard to connect with others and move on too quickly from relationships.

How to fulfill a need for growth : Develop your growth mindset even further by challenging yourself to not only learn, but truly master a difficult skill. Don’t forget emotional and spiritual growth: examine your limiting beliefs , learn to control your emotions and take up meditation or priming .

Contribution

The secret to living is giving , and those who experience contribution as one of their top 6 human needs know this better than anyone. If you have a need to contribute, you will likely make a big difference in your community. However, you can lose sight of the fact that giving begins at home and neglect those closest to you as you change the world.

How to tell if contribution is one of your core needs : You’re an extremely empathetic and compassionate person. You enjoy giving back and sharing what you have. You want to leave a legacy . Yet you may burn out easily or be taken advantage of by others.

How to fulfill a need for contribution : Giving back is the best way to fulfill this need. Don’t just join a volunteer group – start your own. The closer the cause is to your heart, the more fulfilled you will feel.


Contents

Intimate relationships Edit

Romantic relationships generally Edit

Romantic relationships have been defined in countless ways, by writers, philosophers, religions, scientists, and in the modern day, relationship counselors. Two popular definitions of love are Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love and Fisher's theory of love. [2] [3] [4] Sternberg defines love in terms of intimacy, passion, and commitment, which he claims exist in varying levels in different romantic relationships. Fisher defines love as composed of three stages: attraction, romantic love, and attachment. Romantic relationships may exist between two people of any gender, or among a group of people (see polyamory).

Romance Edit

The single defining quality of a romantic relationship is the presence of love. Love is therefore equally difficult to define. Hazan and Shaver [5] define love, using Ainsworth's attachment theory, as comprising proximity, emotional support, self-exploration, and separation distress when parted from the loved one. Other components commonly agreed to be necessary for love are physical attraction, similarity, [6] reciprocity, [3] and self-disclosure. [7]

Platonic love Edit

As the Merriam Webster dictionary explains platonic love as, " love conceived by Plato as ascending from passion for the individual to contemplation of the universal and ideal." [8] It is a love that is affectionate but not sexual in modern terms it can be easily be mistaken for a sexual relationship.

Life stages Edit

Early adolescent relationships are characterized by companionship, reciprocity, and sexual experiences. As emerging adults mature, they begin to develop attachment and caring qualities in their relationships, including love, bonding, security, and support for partners. Earlier relationships also tend to be shorter and exhibit greater involvement with social networks. [9] Later relationships are often marked by shrinking social networks, as the couple dedicates more time to each other than to associates. [10] Later relationships also tend to exhibit higher levels of commitment. [9]

Most psychologists and relationship counselors predict a decline of intimacy and passion over time, replaced by a greater emphasis on companionate love (differing from adolescent companionate love in the caring, committed, and partner-focused qualities). However, couple studies have found no decline in intimacy nor in the importance of sex, intimacy, and passionate love to those in longer or later-life relationships. [11] Older people tend to be more satisfied in their relationships, but face greater barriers to entering new relationships than do younger or middle-aged people. [12] Older women in particular face social, demographic, and personal barriers men aged 65 and older are nearly twice as likely as women to be married, and widowers are nearly three times as likely to be dating 18 months following their partner's loss compared to widows.

Significant other Edit

The term significant other gained popularity during the 1990s, reflecting the growing acceptance of 'non-heteronormative' relationships. It can be used to avoid making an assumption about the gender or relational status (e.g. married, cohabitating, civil union) of a person's intimate partner. Cohabiting relationships continue to rise, with many partners considering cohabitation to be nearly as serious as, or a substitute for, marriage. [12] LGBTQ people in particular may face unique challenges in establishing and maintaining intimate relationships. The strain of 'internalized homo-negativity' and of presenting themselves in line with socially acceptable gender norms can reduce the satisfaction and emotional and health benefits they experience in their relationships. [13] [14] [15] LGBTQ youth also lack the social support and peer connections enjoyed by hetero-normative young people. [16] Nonetheless, comparative studies of homosexual and heterosexual couples have found few differences in relationship intensity, quality, satisfaction, or commitment. [17]

Marital relationship Edit

Although nontraditional relationships continue to rise, marriage still makes up the majority of relationships except among emerging adults. [18] It is also still considered by many to occupy a place of greater importance among family and social structures.

Familial relationships Edit

Parent–child Edit

In ancient times, parent–child relationships were often marked by fear, either of rebellion or abandonment, resulting in the strict filial roles in, for example, ancient Rome and China. [19] [20] Freud conceived of the Oedipal complex, the supposed obsession that young boys have towards their mothers and the accompanying fear and rivalry with their fathers, and the Electra complex, in which the young girl feels that her mother has castrated her and therefore becomes obsessed with her father. Freud's ideas influenced thought on parent–child relationships for decades. [21]

Another early conception of parent–child relationships was that love only existed as a biological drive for survival and comfort on the child's part. [ citation needed ] In 1958, however, Harry Harlow’s study comparing rhesus’ reactions to wire "mothers" and cloth "mothers" demonstrated the depth of emotion felt by infants. [ according to whom? ]

The study laid the groundwork for Mary Ainsworth’s attachment theory, showing how the infants used their cloth "mothers" as a secure base from which to explore. [22] [23] In a series of studies using the strange situation, a scenario in which an infant is separated from then reunited with the parent, Ainsworth defined three styles of parent-child relationship.

  • securely attached infants miss the parent, greet them happily upon return, and show normal exploration and lack of fear when the parent is present.
  • insecure avoidant infants show little distress upon separation and ignore the caregiver when they return they explore little when the parent is present. Infants also tend to be emotionally unavailable. [24]
  • insecure ambivalent infants are highly distressed by separation, but continue to be distressed upon the parent's return these infants also explore little and display fear even when the parent is present.
  • some psychologists have suggested a fourth attachment style, disorganized, so called because the infants’ behavior appeared disorganized or disoriented. [25]

Secure attachments are linked to better social and academic outcomes, greater moral internalization, [ further explanation needed ] and less delinquency for children, and have been found to predict later relationship success. [26] [27] [3]

For most of the late nineteenth through the twentieth century, the perception of adolescent-parent relationships was that of a time of upheaval. G. Stanley Hall popularized the “Sturm und drang”, or storm and stress, model of adolescence. [ citation needed ] Psychological research has painted a much tamer picture. Although adolescents are more risk-seeking and emerging adults have higher suicide rates, they are largely less volatile and have much better relationships with their parents than this [ which? ] model would suggest [28] Early adolescence often marks a decline in parent-child relationship quality, which then re-stabilizes through adolescence, and relationships are sometimes better in late adolescence than prior to its onset. [29] With the increasing average age at marriage and more youths attending college and living with parents past their teens, the concept of a new period called emerging adulthood gained popularity. This is considered a period of uncertainty and experimentation between adolescence and adulthood. During this stage, interpersonal relationships are considered to be more self-focused, and relationships with parents may still be influential. [30]

Siblings Edit

Sibling relationships have a profound effect on social, psychological, emotional, and academic outcomes. Although proximity and contact usually decreases over time, sibling bonds continue to affect people throughout their lives. Sibling relationships are affected by parent-child relationships, such that sibling relationships in childhood often reflect the positive or negative aspects of children's relationships with their parents. [31]

Other examples of interpersonal relationship Edit

  • Egalitarian and platonic friendship[32] — a person with whom an individual maintains a friendly interaction despite underlying conflict, possibly encompassing rivalry, mistrust, jealousy or competition [33]
  • Business relationships and employee and tenant
  • Coworker

Interpersonal relationships are dynamic systems that change continuously during their existence. Like living organisms, relationships have a beginning, a lifespan, and an end. They tend to grow and improve gradually, as people get to know each other and become closer emotionally, or they gradually deteriorate as people drift apart, move on with their lives and form new relationships with others. One of the most influential models of relationship development was proposed by psychologist George Levinger. [34] This model was formulated to describe heterosexual, adult romantic relationships, but it has been applied to other kinds of interpersonal relations as well. According to the model, the natural development of a relationship follows five stages:

  1. Acquaintance and acquaintanceship – Becoming acquainted depends on previous relationships, physical proximity, first impressions, and a variety of other factors. If two people begin to like each other, continued interactions may lead to the next stage, but acquaintance can continue indefinitely. Another example is the association.
  2. Buildup – During this stage, people begin to trust and care about each other. The need for intimacy, compatibility and such filtering agents as common background and goals will influence whether or not interaction continues.
  3. Continuation – This stage follows a mutual commitment to quite a strong and close long-term friendship, romantic relationship, or even marriage. It is generally a long, relatively stable period. Nevertheless, continued growth and development will occur during this time. Mutual trust is important for sustaining the relationship.
  4. Deterioration – Not all relationships deteriorate, but those that do tend to show signs of trouble. Boredom, resentment, and dissatisfaction may occur, and individuals may communicate less and avoid self-disclosure. Loss of trust and betrayals may take place as the downward spiral continues, eventually ending the relationship. (Alternately, the participants may find some way to resolve the problems and reestablish trust and belief in others.)
  5. Ending – The final stage marks the end of the relationship, either by breakups, death or by spatial separation for quite some time and severing all existing ties of either friendship or romantic love.

Terminating a relationship Edit

According to the latest Systematic Review of the Economic Literature on the Factors associated with Life Satisfaction (dating from 2007), stable and secure relationships are beneficial, and correspondingly, relationship dissolution is harmful. [35]

The American Psychological Association has summarized the evidence on breakups. Breaking up can actually be a positive experience when the relationship did not expand the self and when the breakup leads to personal growth. They also recommend some ways to cope with the experience:

  • Purposefully focusing on the positive aspects of the breakup ("factors leading up to the break-up, the actual break-up, and the time right after the break-up")
  • Minimizing the negative emotions
  • Journaling the positive aspects of the breakup (e.g. "comfort, confidence, empowerment, energy, happiness, optimism, relief, satisfaction, thankfulness, and wisdom"). This exercise works best, although not exclusively, when the breakup is mutual. [36]

Less time between a breakup and a subsequent relationship predicts higher self-esteem, attachment security, emotional stability, respect for your new partner, and greater well-being. Furthermore, rebound relationships don't last any shorter than regular relationships. [37] [38] 60% of people are friends with one or more ex. [39] 60% of people have had an off-and-on relationship. 37% of cohabiting couples, and 23% of the married, have broken up and gotten back together with their existing partner. [40]

Terminating a marital relationship implies a divorce. One reason cited for divorce is infidelity. The determinants of unfaithfulness are debated by dating service providers, feminists, academics, and science communicators. [41] [42] [43] [44] According to Psychology Today, women's, rather than men's, level of commitment more strongly determines if a relationship will continue. [45]

Abusive Edit

Abusive relationships involve either maltreatment or violence from one individual to another and include physical abuse, physical neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional maltreatment. [46] Abusive relationships within the family are very prevalent in the United States and usually involve women or children as victims. [47] Common individual factors for abusers include low self-esteem, poor impulse control, external locus of control, drug use, alcohol abuse, and negative affectivity. [48] There are also external factors such as stress, poverty, and loss which contribute to likelihood of abuse. [49]

Codependent Edit

Codependency initially focused on a codependent partner enabling substance abuse, but has become more broadly defined to describe a dysfunctional relationship with extreme dependence on or preoccupation with another person. [50] There are some who even refer to codependency as an addiction to the relationship. [51] The focus of a codependent individual tends to be on the emotional state, behavioral choices, thoughts, and beliefs of another person. [52] Often those who are codependent neglect themselves in favor of taking care of others and have difficulty fully developing their identity on their own. [53]

Narcissists Edit

Narcissists focus on themselves and often distance themselves from intimate relationships the focus of narcissistic interpersonal relationships is to promote one's self-concept. [54] Generally, narcissists show less empathy in relationships and view love pragmatically or as a game involving others' emotions. [55] [54]

Narcissist are usually a part of the personality disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). In relationships, they tend to affect the other person as they attempt to use them to enhance their self-esteem. [56] Specific types of NPD make a person incapable of having an interpersonal relationship due to them being cunning, envious, and contemptuous. [56]

Human beings are innately social and are shaped by their experiences with others. There are multiple perspectives to understand this inherent motivation to interact with others.

Need to belong Edit

According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, humans need to feel love (sexual/nonsexual) and acceptance from social groups (family, peer groups). In fact, the need to belong is so innately ingrained that it may be strong enough to overcome physiological and safety needs, such as children's attachment to abusive parents or staying in abusive romantic relationships. Such examples illustrate the extent to which the psychobiological drive to belong is entrenched.

Social exchange Edit

Another way to appreciate the importance of relationships is in terms of a reward framework. This perspective suggests that individuals engage in relations that are rewarding in both tangible and intangible ways. The concept fits into a larger theory of social exchange. This theory is based on the idea that relationships develop as a result of cost-benefit analysis. Individuals seek out rewards in interactions with others and are willing to pay a cost for said rewards. In the best-case scenario, rewards will exceed costs, producing a net gain. This can lead to "shopping around" or constantly comparing alternatives to maximize the benefits or rewards while minimizing costs.

Relational self Edit

Relationships are also important for their ability to help individuals develop a sense of self. The relational self is the part of an individual's self-concept that consists of the feelings and beliefs that one has regarding oneself that develops based on interactions with others. [57] In other words, one's emotions and behaviors are shaped by prior relationships. Relational self theory posits that prior and existing relationships influence one's emotions and behaviors in interactions with new individuals, particularly those individuals that remind him or her of others in his or her life. Studies have shown that exposure to someone who resembles a significant other activates specific self-beliefs, changing how one thinks about oneself in the moment more so than exposure to someone who does not resemble one's significant other. [58]

Power is the ability to influence the behavior of other people. When two parties have or assert unequal levels of power, one is termed "dominant" and the other "submissive". Expressions of dominance can communicate intention to assert or maintain dominance in a relationship. Being submissive can be beneficial because it saves time, emotional stress, and may avoid hostile actions such as withholding of resources, cessation of cooperation, termination of the relationship, maintaining a grudge, or even physical violence. Submission occurs in different degrees for example, some employees may follow orders without question, whereas others might express disagreement but concede when pressed.

Groups of people can form a dominance hierarchy. For example, a hierarchical organization uses a command hierarchy for top-down management. This can reduce time wasted in conflict over unimportant decisions, prevents inconsistent decisions from harming the operations of the organization, maintain alignment of a large population of workers with the goals of the owners (which the workers might not personally share) and, if promotion is based on merit, help ensure that the people with the best expertise make important decisions. This contrasts with group decision-making and systems which encourage decision-making and self-organization by front-line employees, who in some cases may have better information about customer needs or how to work efficiently. Dominance is only one aspect of organizational structure.

A power structure describes power and dominance relationships in a larger society. For example, a feudal society under a monarchy exhibits a strong dominance hierarchy in both economics and physical power, whereas dominance relationships in a society with democracy and capitalism are more complicated.

In business relationships, dominance is often associated with economic power. For example, a business may adopt a submissive attitude to customer preferences (stocking what customers want to buy) and complaints ("the customer is always right") in order to earn more money. A firm with monopoly power may be less responsive to customer complaints because it can afford to adopt a dominant position. In a business partnership a "silent partner" is one who adopts a submissive position in all aspects, but retains financial ownership and a share of the profits.

Two parties can be dominant in different areas. For example, in a friendship or romantic relationship, one person may have strong opinions about where to eat dinner, whereas the other has strong opinions about how to decorate a shared space. It could be beneficial for the party with weak preferences to be submissive in that area because it will not make them unhappy and avoids conflict with the party that would be unhappy.

The breadwinner model is associated with gender role assignments where the male in a heterosexual marriage would be dominant in all areas.

Social exchange theory and Rusbult's investment model shows that relationship satisfaction is based on three factors: rewards, costs, and comparison levels (Miller, 2012). [59] Rewards refer to any aspects of the partner or relationship that are positive. Conversely, costs are the negative or unpleasant aspects of the partner or their relationship. Comparison level includes what each partner expects of the relationship. The comparison level is influenced by past relationships, and general relationship expectations they are taught by family and friends.

Individuals in long-distance relationships, LDRs, rated their relationships as more satisfying than individuals in proximal relationship, PRs. [60] [61] Alternatively, Holt and Stone (1988) found that long-distance couples who were able to meet with their partner at least once a month had similar satisfaction levels to unmarried couples who cohabitated. [62] Also, the relationship satisfaction was lower for members of LDRs who saw their partner less frequently than once a month. LDR couples reported the same level of relationship satisfaction as couples in PRs, despite only seeing each other on average once every 23 days. [63]

Social exchange theory and the am investment model both theorize that relationships that are high in costs would be less satisfying than relationships that are low in costs. LDRs have a higher level of costs than PRs, therefore, one would assume that LDRs are less satisfying than PRs. Individuals in LDRs are more satisfied with their relationships compared to individuals in PRs. [61] This can be explained by unique aspects of the LDRs, how the individuals use relationship maintenance behaviors, and the attachment styles of the individuals in the relationships. Therefore, the costs and benefits of the relationship are subjective to the individual, and people in LDRs tend to report lower costs and higher rewards in their relationship compared to PRs. [61]

Theories and empirical research Edit

Confucianism Edit

Confucianism is a study and theory of relationships especially within hierarchies. [64] Social harmony—the central goal of Confucianism—results in part from every individual knowing his or her place in the social order, and playing his or her part well. Particular duties arise from each person's particular situation in relation to others. The individual stands simultaneously in several different relationships with different people: as a junior in relation to parents and elders and as a senior in relation to younger siblings, students, and others. Juniors are considered in Confucianism to owe their seniors reverence and seniors have duties of benevolence and concern toward juniors. A focus on mutuality is prevalent in East Asian cultures to this day.

Minding relationships Edit

The mindfulness theory of relationships shows how closeness in relationships may be enhanced. Minding is the "reciprocal knowing process involving the nonstop, interrelated thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of persons in a relationship." [65] Five components of "minding" include: [66]

  1. Knowing and being known: seeking to understand the partner
  2. Making relationship-enhancing attributions for behaviors: giving the benefit of the doubt
  3. Accepting and respecting: empathy and social skills
  4. Maintaining reciprocity: active participation in relationship enhancement
  5. Continuity in minding: persisting in mindfulness

Popular perceptions Edit

Popular perceptions of intimate relationships are strongly influenced by movies and television. Common messages are that love is predestined, love at first sight is possible, and that love with the right person always succeeds. Those who consume the most romance-related media tend to believe in predestined romance and that those who are destined to be together implicitly understand each other. These beliefs, however, can lead to less communication and problem-solving as well as giving up on relationships more easily when conflict is encountered. [67]

Social media Edit

Social media has changed the face of interpersonal relationships. Romantic interpersonal relationships are no less impacted. For example, in the United States, Facebook has become an integral part of the dating process for emerging adults. [68] Social media can have both positive and negative impacts on romantic relationships. For example, supportive social networks have been linked to more stable relationships. [69] However, social media usage can also facilitate conflict, jealousy, and passive aggressive behaviors such as spying on a partner. [70] Aside from direct effects on the development, maintenance, and perception of romantic relationships, excessive social network usage is linked to jealousy and dissatisfaction in relationships. [71]


What's Your Motive?

Why do you seek sex? Motivations generally fall into four main categories, according to psychologists at UT-Austin who asked more than 1,500 undergraduate college students about their sexual attitudes and experiences:

  • Physical reasons: Pleasure, stress relief, exercise, sexual curiosity, or attraction to a person
  • Goal-based reasons: To make a baby, improve social status (for example, to become popular), or seek revenge
  • Emotional reasons: Love, commitment, or gratitude
  • Insecurity reasons: To boost self-esteem, keep a partner from seeking sex elsewhere, or feeling a sense of duty or pressure (for example, a partner insists on having sex)

Continued


Projection is when one person attributes their own thoughts and actions to someone else. For example, a person that is being unfaithful may blame their partner for cheating. So the person being blamed spends their energy defending themselves instead of taking a closer look at their partner and judging their actions.

A person who sends mixed messages may act interested for a while and then ignore you completely—only to start acting interested again later. So what&aposs the point of that? Well, they may unintentionally do it because they are not sure of their own feelings. But if they do that intentionally, it&aposs for the purpose of making you feel desperate and insecure and more focused on them.


Why Do Some People Date Multiple Partners at the Same Time?

A reader asked the following question: I’m interested in why some people like dating multiple people at a time and others only focus on one. Is it just for attention? Low self esteem? Or maybe it’s survival of the fittest- don’t stop on one until you’re officially locked down?

As you’ve probably noticed, the expectation in most cultures and societies is for individuals to be romantically involved with only one person at a time. This probably stems from the fact that marriage (which is almost universally defined as a union of two people) is frequently promoted as the “ideal” relationship state we should all be striving for. As a result, it tends to be the exception rather than the rule that people report engaging in non-monogamy.

For those who get involved with multiple partners simultaneously, why do they do it? There could be any number of reasons. Some might do it because they just aren’t ready to commit to one person, while some just aren’t sure what they’re looking for. Others might be driven by narcissism, sexual compulsion, or a need for validation. I should also note that some individuals simply feel like they can love multiple people at the same time, a practice known as polyamory.

In terms of what the scientific research has to say, you were on to something when you mentioned “survival of the fittest.” The field of evolutionary psychology thinks it is a natural human tendency to desire multiple partners, particularly if you are a man. In fact, research from around the world has shown that men have significantly greater desire for “sexual variety” (i.e., having a lot of different partners) over the course of their lives than women. 1

Why do men want to be with so many people? From an evolutionary perspective, one of our major motivations or instincts is to produce as many of our own genetic offspring as possible in order to ensure that our genes are carried on to future generations. However, because the act of producing a child is, undisputedly, simpler for men than it is for women, the sexes tend to approach the mating game very differently. 2 For men, the evolutionary strategy that makes the most sense is to sleep with as many women as possible because this maximizes their odds of having a lot of babies. For women, though, sleeping around indiscriminately makes far less sense. Yes, it might increase the chances of her becoming pregnant, but keep in mind that having a child requires a significant investment on the mother’s part, not only in terms of the 9 month pregnancy, but also in terms of the resources required to ensure that child’s health and survival after birth. Women who keep getting impregnated by guys who fail to stick around and help out with the kids may find themselves at an evolutionary disadvantage because they have to provide for themselves and their children entirely on their own (which probably proved exceptionally challenging in the days of hunter-gathers). As a result, the best evolutionary strategy for women is usually to be selective and hold out for a partner who will be reliable.

Thus, to answer your question, there are a lot of reasons why someone might choose to date several people at the same time, but at least for men, the desire for multiple partners might stem from an evolutionary drive.

Interested in learning more about relationships? Click here for other topics on Science of Relationships. Like us on Facebook to get our articles delivered directly to your NewsFeed.

For more on evolutionary psychology in particular, see here.

1 Schmitt, D., et al. (2003). Universal sex differences in the desire for sexual variety: Tests from 52 nations, 6 continents, and 13 islands. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 85-104.

2 Buss, D. M., & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100, 204–232.

Dr. Justin Lehmiller – Science of Relationships articles | Website/CV
Dr. Lehmiller’s research program focuses on how secrecy and stigmatization impact relationship quality and physical and psychological health. He also conducts research on commitment, sexuality, and safer-sex practices.


Why Do You Want To Be in a Relationship?

If you are a person who wants to be in a relationship, have you thought about why? Actually, there are two very different reasons for wanting a relationship. The first is about what you want to get, and the second is about what you want to learn and share.

Wanting a Relationship in Order to Get

What they might not say outright is that they want a relationship to:

You might be thinking, "Right! Aren't these the reasons everyone wants a relationship? Why be in a relationship if not to be loved, cherished, made to feel special, safe and secure? What's the point of a relationship if not to fill me, take away my loneliness and make me feel okay about myself?"

There really is another reason for wanting to be in a relationship.

Wanting a Relationship in Order to Heal, Learn and Share Love

The other reason for being in a relationship stems from the fact that relationships are the most fertile ground for learning about what is unhealed in us, and for having an arena to heal. Most of us have baggage from childhood that we carry into our primary relationship -- such as fears of rejection and fears of engulfment. These fears generally get played out with a partner, which offers us an incredible opportunity to learn about and heal them. Relationship can be the Ph.D. of personal growth!

Learning about your fears of intimacy, as well as about control issues that may surface with a primary partner, can lead to much personal growth -- enhancing your ability to love. The more you learn to take responsibility for your own feelings -- learning to love yourself, cherish yourself, make yourself feel special and valued -- the more you may want a relationship in order to share your love rather than to get love. Contrary to what many believe, it's not the getting of love that takes away loneliness, but the sharing of love.

The most profound and beautiful experience in life is the sharing of love. But we can't share our love unless we are filled with love. When we learn to fill ourselves with love from our "Source" -- whatever that is for each person, such as nature, spirit, God, the energy of the universe -- then we come to our partner with inner fullness rather than with inner emptiness. Rather than needing a partner to complete us, we desire to share our completeness with our partner.

When two people come together to get love rather than to learn, heal and share love, there is a strong possibility that their relationship won't last. With both partners trying to get loved and filled by the other, and neither one having learned to love and fill themselves, each will ultimately be disappointed. Very often, one or both might believe they've picked the wrong partner.

When two people come together because they want to learn together, grow together, heal together, share their time and companionship, and share their love and passion, they have a good chance of creating a lasting, loving relationship.


Everything You Need to Know about the Psychology of Choice

In this article, you will learn about 1) an introduction to choice and the psychology behind it, 2) debunking the psychology of choice, 3) bias and choice, and 4) why it is so hard to make a choice for most of us.


Why We Really Need Relationships in Life

Relationships are imperative for many different reasons such as increasing our emotional well being, creating stability, learning how to be a good friend or mate, having someone to count on and trust in times of need and someone to vent to when we face challenges, and friends and mates take away loneliness and make us feel included. Each of our relationships elicit different responses in ourselves that help us to grow and learn about ourselves. Relationships often times are the glue that holds us together during times of stressful situations and when we face life difficulties. Without relationships we would have a deadened spirit and a lack of connection to our true selves!

Men and women need relationships in different capacities and for different reasons. We tend to gravitate to others like ourselves because we share relatable careers, places we frequent, fun activities and hobbies, so that makes relationships a must in order to have people that make us better. However, men and women differ in how we formulate lasting bonds with others. Women are much more emotionally connected and invested and rely on girlfriends or a mate for things like parental advice, romantic gratification, someone to help with our children's development and cognitive capabilities and learning how to be better at life and in a relationship and learn from experiences. Men don't have to be emotionally attached to receive sexual pleasure from other women but closeness does matter to them as well as it does to women Men are not nearly as emotionally invested when they engage in certain activities like going to the gym or watching sporting events together. Matter of fact, most men show up, do the planned activity and then leave without ever thinking about what went wrong, if there were mixed words or if the other person is ok. Men are easier at compartmentalizing their feeling in relationships and women tend to hold grudges, take longer dealing with emotional baggage and allow issues to linger longer. Men move on faster in relationships, making it easier on themselves to be connected with the opposite sex and those of the same much faster than women. Relationships usually are our mirrors showing us ways we need to change and become better mates and friends. Also, our friends and the people we have long term relationships with allow us to be vulnerable and ask for help when we normally wouldn't with complete strangers. When in relationships often times we meet new people through the people we are already connected with and grow our circles! It is fun to have diversified life experiences, people to truly learn who they are and to teach them interesting new information and go on new adventures together!

Relationships show us how to love and be love as well as who we want to be in life and who we don't. Having serious trusting relationships allows us to truly be our true selves. We must be open to meeting new people and having spiritual connections will help us grow our faith and be able to inspire others to open us to new possibilities. Just be you and the right people will be in your life for the right reasons! Always be authentically you and other will love the real you!!