No doubt, love as oxygen is an essential component for one’s body and mind. Individuals who are highly connected are healthier both emotionally and physically, whilst those who are less linked are probably more depressed and are at risk of having health problems. Perhaps, love is the paramount antidepressant, as research has shown that one of the main causes of depression is the feeling of being unloved (Brehm, 2007). The majority of people who are depressed feel unloved, and they do not love themselves. Besides, they are self-focused, a factor which makes them less attractive and takes away from them chances to learn love skills. Relationships, on the other hand, can be confusing and complicated (Brehm, 2007). However, love and relationships are some of the most significant factors that add value to our lives. This paper will focus on power of love and relationships. In particular, the paper will evaluate the factors of attraction, human need to build bonds and relationships, and the various types of love
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Factors of Attraction
According to research, there are various factors of attraction as explained below:
- Proximity: We are attracted to other people depending on how often we see them or how close they are to us. We generally spend most time around individuals we want to know more about. The inside, rather than the physical factor is what attracts us to others.
- Physical attractiveness: This plays a major role in deciding on our friends, even though it does not contribute greatly when choosing a mate. Nevertheless, we are likely to decide on persons who we deem to be attractive, as well as those who are almost similar to us in terms of physical attractiveness.
- Association: Our current status is a platform, in which we link our opinions regarding other persons.
- Reciprocal Liking: We will probably like people who correspondingly like us. When people feel liked by others, they report a greater degree of attraction.
- Similarity: This can be divided into attitudinal similarity, demographic similarity, similarity found in experiences and interests, and similarity found in physical attractiveness (Brehm, 2007).
The Human Need To Build Bonds and Relationships
Bonding can be described as the development of close personal connection which mainly occurs between members of a family and friends. Bonds can also emerge among members performing a task in pursuit of a common goal and individuals who live together (Miller and Rodgers, 2001). Bonding is stronger than just liking someone and encompasses a deeper connection. It may also refer to the attachment that emanates between two individuals in love. Trust and affection are two instrumental pillars in development of bonds. Through social interaction and spending time together we are able to increase the strength of our bonds (Miller and Rodgers, 2001).
Do We Have An Inherent Need To Bond?
Since the beginning of human race, there has been that prominent need to bond (Miller and Rodgers, 2001). In ancient time, people used to gather and hunt and lived together as a social group. It is from these social units that societies emerged. We had that burning desire to be a part of some group, as it gives life a meaning and something that gives us a sense of belonging. Lack of bonding yields loneliness, which is a huge baggage to carry (Miller and Rodgers, 2001). All the same, it is worth noting that we all seek individualism at some point in life, but we also seek to live a purposeful life and, therefore, we are predisposed to form bonds. People want to feel that they belong and that there are other people who care about them. We rely on others for that crucial social support whenever we are faced by a setback and even in times of triumph.
Types of Love
Companionate love is a non-passionate and intimate kind of love, which is much stronger compared to friendship, as it has a component of long-term commitment (Sternberg, 1986). An example of this kind of love is long-lasting marriages that are characterized by commitment and affection rather than passion. Besides, love between close friends and family members are types of companionate love (Post, 2003).
Passionate love is distinguished by extreme emotions, anxiety, sexual attraction and affection (Post, 2003). Reciprocating these emotions makes individuals feel fulfilled and elated. According to Post (2003), passionate love lasts for a period of six months and two and half years. An example of passionate love is an intimate relationship between partners.
Triangular Theory of Love
Sternberg, a psychologist, developed the triangular theory of love. The triangular theory puts forth three elements of love, and they encompass passion, intimacy, and commitment (Sternberg, 1986). According to the triangular theory, there are some differences between infatuated love, empty love and romance, which are discussed below:
Infatuated love: In this kind of love, there is no commitment or intimacy but is arises from passionate arousal (Sternberg, 1986). Infatuated love generally vanishes quickly if commitment and intimacy are not developed. Empty love, according to Sternberg (1986), is distinguished by commitment lacking passion or intimacy. According to research, strong love might weaken to empty love.
Romantic love develops from a mixture of passionate and intimate elements of love (Sternberg, 1986). Romantic lovers are drawn to one another both physically and emotionally, connected both passionately and intimately, however lack an enduring commitment.
From the discussion above, it can be concluded that love and relationships are important components as they add value to individual lives. People have different characteristics and this makes it hard for individuals from different cultures to be attracted to each other. However, such factors as association, physical attractiveness, similarity, proximity, and reciprocal liking determine how we choose our friends. It is also pointed out that there are different types of love, and they encompass compassionate companionate, and passionate, as well as romantic, empty and infatuation as put forth by Sternberg’s triangular theory of love.