Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Theory of Love Pt. 2: Sternberg's Triangular Theory

Good afternoon LOVEanese! I have some updates and news to share before I get into the topic of this post. The first, and most exciting, is that today is the 1 month anniversary of LOVEanon! And as of 5:35 PM, it had 2,023 page views! Thanks to everyone who made this possible, and for all of your sharing and support. I really do appreciate it!

Secondly, I've decided that I am going to be limiting my posts to once (or occasionally twice) per week. I don't want to overload people with content, and I also want to foster discussion on each post before moving on to the next one.


Third, just an FYI in case anyone was wondering, I use the American Sociological Association's (ASA) style-guide for referencing (not APA). I apologize for not indicating that earlier. More info on this style is available here and here.

So with all that out of the way, let's get into this topic. It's the second part of the Theory of Love series I started a couple weeks ago with the first post on the 6 Love Styles all about love, interpersonal relationships, and understanding the social scientific literature available about the nature of love. These theories are very loosely connected, but are for the most part independent of each other. They are able to exist apart from the other theories because they do not necessarily build on each other. This time around, I want to introduce one of my favorite theories, Robert J. Sternberg's (1986) Triangular Theory of Love.

Sternberg's theory is intended to shed light on the questions of "What does it mean "to love" someone? Does it always mean the same thing, and if not, in what ways do loves differ from each other? Why do certain loves seem to last, whereas others disappear almost as quickly as they are formed?...This tripartite theory deals both with the nature of love and with loves in various kinds of relationships." (Sternberg, 1986: 119).

For Sternberg, love can be understood in terms of three components that can be constructed as a triangle where the triangle acts as a metaphor (Sternberg, 1986). These three components are Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment, and the triangle looks like this:



For Sternberg, each of these concepts is one specific aspect of love. Here is how he defines them:

Intimacy (The Emotional Warmth): "The intimacy component refers to feelings of closeness, connectedness, and bondedness in loving relationships" (Sternberg, 1986: 119). For him, these are the feelings that give warmth, comfort, and emotional connectedness.

Passion (The Romance/Attraction): "The drives that lead to romance, physical attraction, sexual consummation, and related phenomena in loving relationships" (Sternberg, 1986: 119). This is the sexual and attraction side of love.

Commitment (The Togetherness): This "component refers to, in the short term, the decision that one loves someone else, and in the long term, the commitment to maintain that love. The commitment component thus includes within its purview the cognitive elements that are involved in decision making about the existence of and potential long-term commitment to a loving relationship" (Sternberg, 1986: 119). This is the dedication/loyalty side of love. According to Acker and Davis (1992: 21), among their sample, "commitment was the most powerful and consistent predictor of relationship satisfaction, especially for the longest relationships."

These are some of the properties of each per Sternberg (1986: 120):



Moreover, love exists in different forms depending on how individuals manifest parts of the three components. This is outlined in this triangle:



Sternberg also discusses the different combinations that the 3 components can make (the 8 "forms" of love). This is described by this diagram:

Taken from here



You can check out a brief description of each here. Bear in mind the labels that are given to each of these are value-neutral, so infatuation, for instance, merely implies that there is much passion (i.e., sexual and romantic attraction), but no emotional intimacy or commitment. Each of these combinations represent different manifestations of love, and they can all appear in different stages of relationships. Notice how they also compare to Lee's 6 Love Styles in terms that you can draw certain parallels (for instance, Companionate love is like Storge love). Also, it is very normal to experience these different forms of love with people besides a romantic partner. For instance, you may have Intimacy or Companionate love with a family member, friend, etc.

Something great about this theory is that it incorporates many different aspects of love into one theory, and fairly straight-forward. It's very intuitive, easy-to-understand, elegant, flexible, and the words he uses are words that correspond to their common meaning. So when he says romantic love, he means it in exactly the way we imagine: a lot of sexual and physical attraction, and high levels of emotional disclosure, but in this sense, he defines it as not including a lot of commitment (and in this way, it diverges from Lee's concept of Eros for instance).

Now... here's the important part: how can you use this?

First of all, this is primarily geared towards couples who are in a romantic relationship. It's not as useful to singles.

Second this theory is that it's trying to understand how love presents itself. So it's not necessarily describing specific behavior, nor is it really about self-improvement per se. It's really mostly about understanding. Of course, Sternberg would probably argue it's a theoretical foundation for understanding and contextualizing love scientifically. But there are short-comings to that, such as it doesn't take into account how they develop, or the social influences. Moreover, later in an article he co-authored, they argue that love is a social construction (Beall and Sternberg, 1995). This is interesting because if you consider the questions that his theory is supposed to answer (or at least try to answer), they are faced with a contradiction that the nature of love is socially and culturally constructed, thus they can't REALLY be answered or placed into neat boxes of description. This is particularly important if you consider the different emphasis that is placed on each of the three components by different cultures. Arab culture, for instance, places a higher value on commitment than it does on Intimacy or Passion.

A very interesting thing to note too is that where you and your partner lie on the triangle, or which triangle is most applicable to your relationship may not be (and often aren't) the same. So while you feel we have all three components, your partner may feel like you have only 2. And this is problematic. Understanding where you fall on the triangle is important to understanding your relationship better.

Where exactly do you fall? If you're in a relationship, check out this test. It draws on Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love Scales (which have been validated (e.g., Hendrick and Hendrick, 1989; Sternberg, 1997)).

If you want more information, you can check out his research yourself, or check out this PDF.

What do you think? Where do you stand in your relationship?

Spread the love,
-Ogie

References:

Acker, Michele, and Mark H. Davis. 1992. "Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment in Adult Romantic Relationships: A Test of the Triangular Theory of Love." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 9(1): 21-50.

Beall, Anne E., and Robert J. Sternberg. 1995. "The Social Construction of Love." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 12(3): 417-438.

Sternberg, Robert L. 1997. "Construct Validation of a Triangular Love Scale." European Journal of Social Psychology, 27: 313-335.

----. 1986. "A Triangular Theory of Love." Psychological Review, 93(2): 119-135.

Hendrick, Clyde, and Susan S. Hendrick. 1989. "Research on Love: Does It Measure Up?" Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56: 784-794.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Celtic Astrology + Trees = You?

Happy Monday LOVEanese! T-minus 4 more days until the weekend!

I want this to be just a quick post. Remember those stupid e-mail forwards from our friends we used to get in middle school (back before the days of Facebook, MySpace, and spam filters)? Well, I have to guiltily admit that there is one I actually really liked, and kept ever since early 2001. I want to share it with you and see how accurate you it is. Basically, it's a different kind of personality profile based on Celtic astrology (kind of like the star astrology we know of (e.g., Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius, etc.). It involves the Celts.

You know, like this guy.

Now I KNOW it isn't scientific, but when I started looking into it, there's a lot of interesting books out there detailing Celtic mythology and astrology (which is closely connected to the Celtic Calendar). These books all talk about Celtic mythology: this one, this one, and this one. Moreover, there's a lot about Celtic tree astrology. Unfortunately, I couldn't find more on this in my short search for more substantial and referenced sources. But, just like with the astrology we all know, it's just a fun thing to think about.

I don't know how accurate it is, per se, but it is a bit environmentally-friendly, and I'm curious to see how the descriptions of each of these fits you. Bear in mind that these are general overviews, and specific qualities or traits it describes may not describe you in general, but perhaps might describe a certain aspect of yourself/your personality (e.g., if it says you are not flexible, but you are, then think of it in other ways. Maybe your ethics, morals, or value-system are not flexible, etc.).

What's your tree? Tell me if you like it (I think mine is spot on): 

Dec 23 to Jan 01 – Apple Tree
Jan 01 to Jan 11 – Fir Tree
Jan 12 to Jan 24 – Elm Tree
Jan 25 to Feb 03 – Cypress Tree
Feb 04 to Feb 08 – Poplar Tree
Feb 09 to Feb 18 – Cedar Tree
Feb 19 to Feb 28 – Pine Tree
Mar 01 to Mar 10 – Weeping Willow Tree
Mar 11 to Mar 20 – Lime Tree
Mar 21 – Oak Tree
Mar 22 to Mar 31 – Hazelnut Tree
Apr 01 to Apr 10 – Rowan Tree
Apr 11 to Apr 20 – Maple Tree
Apr 21 to Apr 30 – Walnut Tree
May 01 to May 14 – Poplar Tree
May 15 to May 24 – Chestnut Tree
May 25 to Jun 03 – Ash Tree
Jun 04 to Jun 13 – Hornbeam Tree
Jun 14 to Jun 23 – Fig Tree
Jun 24 – Birch Tree
Jun 25 to Jul 04 – Apple Tree
Jul 05 to Jul 14 – Fir Tree
Jul 15 to Jul 25 – Elm Tree
Jul 26 to Aug 04 – Cypress Tree
Aug 05 to Aug 13 – Poplar Tree
Aug 14 to Aug 23 – Cedar Tree
Aug 24 to Sep 02 – Pine Tree
Sep 03 to Sep 12 – Weeping Willow Tree
Sep 13 to Sep 22 – Lime Tree
Sep 23 – Olive Tree
Sep 24 to Oct 03 – Hazelnut Tree
Oct 04 to Oct 13 – Rowan Tree
Oct 14 to Oct 23 – Maple Tree
Oct 24 to Nov 11 – Walnut Tree
Nov 12 to Nov 21 – Chestnut Tree
Nov 22 to Dec 01 – Ash Tree
Dec 02 to Dec 11 – Hornbeam Tree
Dec 12 to Dec 21 – Fig Tree
Dec 22 – Beech Tree

Tree descriptions:

Apple Tree (the Love) -- Quiet and shy at times, lots of charm, appeal, and attraction, pleasant attitude, flirtatious smile, adventurous, sensitive, loyal in love, wants to love and to be loved, faithful and tender partner, very generous, many talents, loves children, needs affectionate partner.

Ash Tree (the Ambition) -- Extremely attractive, vivacious, impulsive, demanding, does not care for criticism ambitious, intelligent, talented, likes to play with fate, can be very egotistic, reliable, restless lover, sometimes money rules over the heart, demands attention, needs love and much emotional support.

Beech Tree (the Creative) -- Has good taste, concerned about its looks, materialistic, good organization of life and career, economical, good leader, takes no unnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetime companion, keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.).

Birch Tree (the Inspiration) -- Vivacious, attractive, elegant, friendly, unpretentious, modest, does not like anything in excess, abhors the vulgar, loves life in nature and in calm, not very passionate, full of imagination, little ambition, creates a calm and content atmosphere.

Cedar Tree (the Confident) -- Of rare strength, knows how to adapt, likes unexpected presents, of good health, not in the least shy, tends to look down on others, self-confident, a great speaker, determined, often impatient, likes to impress others, has many talents, industrious, healthy optimism, waits for the one true love, able to make quick decisions.

Chestnut Tree (the Honest) -- Of unusual stature, impressive, well-developed sense of justice, fun to be around, a planner, born diplomat, can be irritated easily, sensitive of others feelings, hard worker, sometimes acts superior, feels not understood at times, fiercely family oriented, very loyal in love, physically fit.

Cypress Tree (the Faithful) -- Strong, muscular, adaptable, takes what life has to give but doesn't necessarily like it, strives to be content, optimistic, empathetic, wants to be financially independent, wants love and affection, hates loneliness, passionate lover which cannot be satisfied, faithful, quick tempered at times, can be unruly and careless, loves to gain, needs to be needed.

Elm Tree (the Noble-Minded) -- Pleasant shape, tasteful clothes, modest demands, tends not to forgive mistakes, cheerful, likes to lead but not to obey, honest and faithful partner, likes making decisions for others, noble minded, generous, good sense of humor, practical.

Fig Tree (the Sensibile) -- Very strong-minded, a bit self-willed, honest, loyal, independent, hates contradiction or arguments, loves life and friends, enjoys children and animals, a social butterfly, great sense of humor, likes idleness and laziness after long demanding hours at work, has artistic talent and great intelligence.

Fir tree (the Mysterious) -- Extraordinary taste, handles stress poorly, loves anything beautiful, can become depressed at times, stubborn, tends to care for those close to them as well as helping strangers, rather modest, hard worker, talented, unselfish, few sexual relationships, many friends, doesn't want foes, very reliable.

Hazelnut Tree (the Extraordinary) -- Charming, sense of humor, very demanding but can also be very understanding, knows how to make a lasting impression, active fighter for social causes and politics, popular, quite moody, sexually oriented, honest, a perfectionist, has a precise sense of judgment and expects complete fairness.

Hornbeam Tree (the Good Taste) -- Of cool beauty, cares for its looks and condition, good taste, is not egoistic, makes life as comfortable as possible, leads a reasonable and disciplined life, looks for kindness and acknowledgment in an emotional partner, dreams of unusual lovers, is seldom happy with its feelings, mistrusts most people, is never sure of its decisions, very conscientious.

Lime Tree (the Doubtful) -- Intelligent, hard working, accepts what life dishes out, but not before trying to change bad circumstances into good ones, hates fighting and stress, enjoys getaway vacations, may appear tough, but is actually soft and relenting, always willing to make sacrifices for family and friends, has many talents but not always enough time to use them, can become a complainer, great leadership qualities, is jealous at times but extremely loyal.

Maple Tree (the Independence of Mind) -- No ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, has many complexities, good memory, learns easily, complicated love life, wants to impress.

Oak Tree (the Brave) -- Robust nature, courageous, strong, unrelenting, independent, sensible, does not like change, keeps its feet on the ground, person of action.

Olive Tree (the Wise) -- Loves the sun, warmth and kind feelings, reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression and violence, tolerant, cheerful, calm, well developed sense of justice, sensitive, empathetic, free of jealousy, loves to read and the company of sophisticated people.


Pine Tree (the Peacemaker) -- Loves agreeable company, craves peace and harmony, loves to help others, active imagination, likes to write poetry, not fashion conscious, great compassion, friendly to all, falls strongly in love but will leave if betrayed or lied to, emotionally soft, low self-esteem, needs affection and reassurance.

Poplar Tree (the Uncertain) -- Looks very decorative, talented, not very self-confident, extremely courageous if necessary, needs goodwill and pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity, great artistic nature, good organizer, tends to lean toward philosophy, reliable in any situation, takes partnership seriously.

Rowan Tree (the Sensitivity)
-- Full of charm, cheerful, gifted without egoism, likes to draw attention, loves life, motion, unrest, and even complications, is both dependent and independent, good taste, artistic, passionate, emotional, good company, does not forgive.

Walnut Tree (the Passion) -- Unrelenting, strange and full of contrasts, often egotistic, aggressive, noble, broad horizon, unexpected reactions, spontaneous, unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult and uncommon partner, not always liked but often admired, ingenious strategist, very jealous and passionate, no compromise.

Weeping Willow (the Melancholy) -- Likes to be stress free, loves family life, full of hopes and dreams, attractive, very empathetic, loves anything beautiful, musically inclined, loves to travel to exotic places, restless, capricious, honest, can be influenced but is not easy to live with when pressured, sometimes demanding, good intuition, suffers in love until they find that one loyal, steadfast partner; loves to make others laugh.


Spread the love,
-Ogie (the Cypress Tree)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Theory of Love Pt. 1: Lee's 6 Love Styles

Happy Tuesday LOVEanese! The best thing about Tuesday is that at the end of the day, we're one day closer to the weekend!

Today I want to introduce part one of a new series of posts I will be reviewing and discussing over the next few weeks regarding the "theory of love."

It's a bit more scientific than this.

What this refers to is a collection of semi-related psychological, sociological, communication, and social psychological studies about interpersonal relationships that seek to provide a better and more scientific understanding of what love is, how it is manifested, and how it influences individuals. Although I have a problem with how many of them define their concepts (e.g., love) (and you'll just have to wait for my thesis to find out why!), they are still relevant to understanding human courtship/dating behavior, and also the way some emphasize certain characteristics, while understating others.

Moreover, this series differs greatly from certain indicators and tools such as the Five Love Languages I wrote about earlier. For one, these a more scientific. They have been tested over and over through multiple academic/social scientific studies, and even across cultures. But more importantly for you, these are not necessarily specific categories for people to fit into. Although they describe certain behavior, they do not always necessarily apply to any one person at any one moment in time. So as the Love Languages communicate love in certain, explicable channels, these studies try to understand, define, and categorize love.

The first theory of the series I am highlighting is one of the first of these theoretical typologies of love proposed in the 1970's, and is something some of you might have a bit of familiarity with. These are the 6 Love Styles typology purported
by John Alan Lee (
1973, 1977), and later (greatly) expanded on by Susan and Clyde Hendrick in 1986 who created the "Love Attitudes Scale" used in many psychological and social psychological studies (Google Scholar has them cited over 1000 times!). 

These Love Styles are 6 models/classifications of how people love, which are analogous to the color wheel and are similar to the Greek types of love (in fact, he titled the first book in 1973 outlining these ideas as "The Colors of Love"). There are 3 "primary," main Love Styles, and 3 "secondary" Love Styles that arise out of a combination of two of the primary types. So what are these? Take a gander:

Primary:


1. Eros
2. Ludus
3. Storge


Secondary:

4. Mania
5. Pragma
6. Agape


So... Look familiar? Here's a little bit about each one:



1. Eros: The Romantic. This style (named after the Greek god of love, and the son of Aphrodite), is characterized by relentless romance and passion, and often falls in "love at first sight." For someone who exhibits Eros (hence, Erotic), there is a primary emphasis on physical attraction and sexual desire, at times, even at the expense of other aspects of compatibility. Additionally, these individuals seek out their "ideal type." This is someone that, to them, is the perfect example/image of what beauty and attraction is. Moreover, these individuals tend to be very committed, as they value intense emotion and desire exclusivity, especially if they are with someone that reflects their ideal type/someone they are very attracted to. Erotic lovers also tend to have higher than average self-esteem since Eros, "gives fully, intensely, and takes risks in love, it requires substantial ego strength" (Hendrick and Hendrick, 1986: 399).

Some popular examples of Eros would be Romeo (Romeo and Juliet), 'Antar ('Antar wa 'Abla), Majnun (Layla and Majnun), Jack Dawson (Titanic), and Anakin Skywalker (Star Wars). This is also the most common depiction of love in the media.



2. Ludus: The Player. Originally termed by the Roman poet Ovid, love for a Ludus resembles a game, a sport, or a conquest. They are playful, flirtatious, fun, independent, nonconformist, and permissive (to the point of promiscuity). They go from person to person, often juggling multiple partners and romantic or sexual interests at once, and recover quickly from break-ups or rejections as they value quantity over quality. They do not follow the traditional rules of romance, love, and dating, and often break them. According to Lee (1977: 174), "The degree of involvement is carefully controlled, jealousy is eschewed, and relationships are often multiple and relatively short-lived." Moreover, they are incredibly non-committal (so much that they actively resist it), and they often do not place a high value on intimacy, nor do they expect it. This is very different than the quote, unquote "game" that people talk about with relationships. This is very different than someone exhibiting Ludic love, and in fact, someone who does either rigidly adheres to "game playing," or often breaks the rules of "the game" to maximize their own outcomes. These individuals also have higher than average self-esteem, and in fact, "[individuals] with very positive self-esteem were more Ludic than were either of the other two self-esteem groups...apparently, it takes good ego strength to play seriously at love as a game" (Hendrick and Hendrick, 1986: 399). Lastly, they are the most likely of the 6 Love Styles to commit infidelity.

Who is one of the best examples of a Ludus Love Style? Suit up for this one:


Legen... wait for it... dary!


3. Storge
: The Best Friend-Lover. These individuals exhibit high amounts of commitment, devotion, intimacy, and highly value compatibility, respect, understanding, and harmony. Taken from Lee (1977: 175), Storge is "a style based on slowly developing affection and companionship, a gradual disclosure of self, an avoidance of self-conscious passion, and an expectation of long-term commitment." For these individuals, friendship comes first, figuratively and literally. They value stability and long-term commitment. Moreover, Storgic individuals place a lot of emphasis on the companionship aspect of a relationship, and often will want the friendship to continue even if the romantic relationship does not. They are also the least likely of the 6 Love Styles of commit infidelity.

Famous examples of Storge love include Harry and Sally (When Harry Met Sally) and Zack and Miri (Zack and Miri Make a Porno).


4. Mania: The Infatuation. This is a combination of Eros and Ludus. According to Lee (1977: 175), "Mania is an obsessive, jealous, emotionally intense Love Style characterized by preoccupation with the beloved and a need for repeated reassurance of being loved." Mania carries the most negative connotations as these individuals are possessive, dependent, intense, and often appear insecure. In fact, Hendrick and Hendrick (1986) found that Manic lovers had some of the lowest self-esteem among their sample, and "in fact, one reason Manic lovers are Manic is because of uncertainty of self in the relationship" (Hendrick and Hendrick, 1986: 399). This Love Style is particularly common with teenagers and adolescents (
Hendrick and Hendrick, 1986: 401).

One of the most well-known examples of a Manic lover is Alex Forrest (Fatal Attraction). As you can see, it doesn't really bode well for a happy ending...


5. Pragma
: The Practical Lover. The combination of Ludus and Storge. These individuals are pragmatic, practical, rational, realistic, and most importantly, have a very defined list of qualities they are looking for in a partner that emphasizes long-term commitment and high levels of compatibility, as well as "settling down."
They make it a goal to find someone who exhibits most, if not all, of the desired qualities on their list. Furthermore, according to Lee (1977: 175), Pragmatic lovers take into account "conscious consideration of "vital statistics" about a suitable beloved. Education, vocation, religion, age, and numerous other demographic characteristics of the potential beloved are taken into account in the search for a compatible match."

Geeze LOVEanese, does this sound familiar? Here's your popular example of Pragma: ARAB CULTURE! And collective culture in general. In popular media, Charlotte (Pride and Prejudice) exemplified Pragma, but I'm sure so many of you can think of individuals in your life that also think about this (like say, I don't know, 3/4th of Lebanon??)


6. Agape
: The Selfless Lover. The combination of Eros and Storge. "Agape is altruistic love, given because the lover sees it as his [or her] duty to love without expectation of reciprocity. It is gentle, caring, and guided by reason more than emotion" (Lee, 1977: 175). Agapic individuals sacrifice often for the other person's happiness, sometimes at the influence of a spiritual power and at the expense of their own needs and desires. They also give their love unconditionally. Agape is one of the most rare Love Styles, but also one of the most successful (
Prasinos and Tittler, 1984).

The most well-known Agapic individuals include Forrest (Forrest Gump), Penelope (The Odyssey), The Two Lovers (The Gift of the Magi), and certain religious figures such as Jesus.


BE WEARY
about jumping to conclusions about individuals or groups of people because, according to Lee (1977: 174): "A lover may engage at different times, or in some cases concurrently, in relationships characteristic of quite different Love Styles. Moreover, a given relationship may evolve, over a period of time, from attitudes and behavior typical of one species of loving, to those of another species, from Mania to Storge, for example."

Furthermore, according to Hendrick and Hendrick (1986: 393): "Lee's [(1973, 1977)] typology is exceedingly rich theoretically, both because of its multidimensionality and grounding in research, and because it encompasses less extensive love theories that have been proposed. For instance, exchange theory is probably a basis for Lee's (1973) Pragma (logical), whereas Clark and Mills' (1979) communal love is exemplified by Agape (selfless). Berscheid and Walster (1978) would recognize Eros as their passionate love, whereas companionate love is probably best represented by Storge (friendship). Kelley's (1983) Pragmatic love would seem to equal Pragma. Even Dion and Dion's (1973) factors appear very similar to Lee's (1973) constructs: Volatile = Mania, Circumspect = Storge, Rational = Pragma, and Passionate = Eros. Thus, Lee offers multidimensionality within a coherent theory."


Per the Hendricks' research (and others), there are certain generalizable trends that have emerged that are specifically geared towards their American samples. For instance, They found that men tend to be more Ludic, whereas women tend to be Storgic and Pragmatic. Relationships based on similar Love Styles were found to last longer. Eros and Mania are high in emotion, Agape average, and Ludus, Storge, and Pragma are low in emotion. Eros and Storge also tend to be correlated with better psychological health, while Mania and Ludus are correlated with worse psychological health (Taken from here).

Research has also demonstrated that, like the Love Languages, individuals who exhibit or reflect characteristics of a certain Love Style (or individuals who have a dominate Love Style) tend to (understandably) look for someone or are attracted to others who also shares their Love Style. It makes sense that if, for instance, an Erotic lover is saturated with relentless passion, someone who fits their ideal type and also shares their level of passion would be a better match for them. Same with a Storgic lover, for instance, who values friendship and intimacy would also want to be with someone who places a similar value on their friendship and intimacy.

 

Moreover, Prasinos and Tittler (1984: 105) conducted research on the 6 Love Styles, finding that "The hierarchy of Love Styles...from most affirming to least, is Agapic, Ludic, [Eros], Storgic, Pragmatic, and Manic." Hmm, maybe that's why so many people's relationships in Lebanon--especially after the honeymoon stage/wedding--seem so dull, boring, depressing, and unhappy...?

If you would like to see how you currently fall on the Love Styles assessment, you can try this link. It's not the greatest assessment, but it's interesting nonetheless. And you can find more on the Love Styles here, and here.

So, what I want to know is:

1. What do you think of these Love Styles?
2. Are these applicable in Lebanon as well?
3. Which do you most identify with?

Spread the love,
-Ogie


References:

Berscheid, Ellen, and Elaine Walster (Hatfield). 1974. "A Little Bit About Love: A Minor Essay on a Major Topic." Pp. 355–381 in Foundations of Interpersonal Attraction, edited by Ted L. Huston. New York, NY: Academic Press.

Clark, Margaret S., and Judson Mills. 1979. "Interpersonal Attraction in Exchange and Communal Relationships." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37: 12-24.

Dion, Ken L., and Karen K. Dion. 1973. "Correlates of Romantic Love." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 41: 51-56.

Hendrick, Clyde, and Susan S. Hendrick. "A Theory and Method of Love." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50(2): 392-402.

Kelley, Harold. H. 1983. "Love and Commitment." In Close Relationships, edited by Harold H. Kelley, Ellen Berscheid, Andrew Christensen, John H. Harvey, Ted L. Huston, G. Levinger, E. McClintock, L. A. Peplau, and D. R. Peterson. New York, NY: Freeman.

Lee, John Alan. 1977. "A Typology of Styles of Loving." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 3: 173–182.

----. 1973. The Colors of Love: An Exploration of the Ways of Loving. Don Mills, Ontario: New Press.

Prasinos, Steven, and Bennett I. Tittler. 1984. "The Existential Context of Love Styles: An Empirical Study." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 24: 95–112.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lev Yilmaz: "On Relationships..."

Good morning LOVEanese! I'm not sure if you're familiar with Tales of Mere Existance by Lev Yilmaz, an apathetic Turkish-American artist and filmmaker that loves to illustrate stories about his life. BUT if you aren't familiar, just check out these great short videos related to dating and relationships that seem to capture certain feelings, sentiments, and situations so well (especially for the guys):

1. Observations About Relationships:

 
 
  2. My Darling?
 

3. Boyfriends I have Been (I love this one, especially when he mentions the sociologist):


4. What Would Penis Do? (Great (and hilarious) commentary on the dynamics between the heart, mind, and our sexuality):


5. How You May Fall For A Girl On Facebook:


6. And finally, one of the best one's ever: How To Break Up...


That's it! Funny? Which ones do you like best? Stay tuned for some more relationship research reviews (this weekend!)

Spread the love (and laughs),
-Ogie

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

And people wonder why it's important to study and talk about relationships...

Just read this.

A picture says 1,000 words, right? Well, I think this sums it up pretty well:



Spread the love (hold the fighting),
-Ogie

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm an ENFJ, what are you?

Good evening to you LOVEanese! There's an ancient and well-known Greek saying, "Know Thyself." It's been attributed to many different people through history, but regardless of who said it, these words still resonate a strong reminder that being self-aware and understanding/knowledgeable of who you are are paramount to life, society, and philosophical, intellectual, and existential prosperity.

And you really don't want to disappoint him

So, what does this have to do with relationships? EVERYTHING! Remember how I mentioned relationships take work? Well, by bettering the sum of the parts that make up a relationship, and by understanding more about ourselves, our partners, how we communicate, and how we love, we can foster better relationships (and even help us increase our compatibility).

(Notice "love" on her left hand)

It's Monday (well Tuesday now, but whatever, I started it on Monday...), I want to introduce a personality-type indicator, and I love alliteration. So you know what that means... Myers-Briggs Monday!

What is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and how can it help you? It's "a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions" (Myers, 1995 [1980], taken from Wikipedia). So, what does this mean? It's basically a window into one's personality. How they function, how they work, and why they make some of the decisions they do. This is reflected in the purpose of the measure:

"The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment" (My Myers-Briggs Personality Type).

The Myers-Briggs measure was developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs to "make the insights of type theory accessible to individuals and groups" (My Myers-Briggs Personality Type). Carl Jung proposed that two dichotomous pairs of cognitive functions exist including rational functions we use to judge (thinking and feeling), and irrational functions we use to perceive (sensing and intuition). And that's where the history lesson ends, and the application begins (you can read the rest here).

Myers and Briggs--building on what Jung proposed--argued that everyone falls between these at certain intervals. Some people utilize one cognitive function over the other, while other people are more centered and use both fairly equally. They also argued that the energy one needs for cognitive function also fall on a dichotomous scale: gaining energy from being with others (Extroversion) or gaining energy from being alone (Introversion). Moreover, these sets of cognitive function also manifest in the way that a person organizes time and space (Judgers and Perceivers).

So the Myers-Briggs is divided like this: 


And MB breaks down each of these dichotomies into explanations as follows: 

"Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)."


"Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)."


"Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)."


"Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)."


Just like with the Love Languages, the MB can help you understand yourself and your partner. For instance, if you're partner is an extrovert, we normally think this person is outgoing. That's a misnomer, however. What this means is that being around others and being in social situations gives them energy. This is opposed to someone who is an introvert, which means they can be very outgoing, but prefer to re-energize (such as after a long day at work) by being at home, by them self, in a quite and relaxing way (watching TV, reading, etc.). Simply by understanding how your partner wants to spend time after a long day at work, or after a draining event can help you communicate and function in a much happier way (imagine saving a fight because you want to go out and they want to stay in!).

I could go into more detail, but I don't want to get complicated. You can read more about it on Wikipedia and on the MB website. But here's what you've probably been waiting for... how do you find out what YOUR personality is?

Check out this site first, then compare your results to what you find on this site.

Once you (and perhaps your boy/girlfriend?) completes the assessment you can find out more about your personality type here. Another good site I found was this one, all about the different personality types backed up by research.

Moreover, there are 16 combinations of the 8 different characteristics. Check them out:   

Which are you?



And you can see the estimated frequencies of the different personality types (based on the United States population):

I wonder how they compare to Lebanon/the Arab world?

So, that's it for tonight, tell me what you think! Do you identify with your type? Do you think it's accurate? Does it apply to you? What are you? Did I forget anything? Discuss below!

And of course...

Spread the love,
-Ogie

References:

Myers, Isabel Briggs. 1995 [1980]. Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type. Mountain View, CA: Davies-Black Publishing.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Are you in the dreaded "Friend Zone?"

Good news for all you LOVEanese! LOVEanon is officially a week old, and I'm getting great feedback. I really appreciate all of your support, for sharing this blog with your friends and networks, and for giving me ideas and topics to write about.

I just wanted to post something today to make a week of being online. I remember coming across this on AskMen.com, and although I'm not a big fan of this site for multiple, I-don't-support-or-condone-misogyny reasons, I thought it was interesting advice (even for a girl even though it's obviously for a male audience, but hey! A girl can be in the friend zone too!). It's about the dreaded friend zone

Nice try Mario. Defeat Bowser, and we'll talk.

I'm sure we've all been there at some point, and it sucks. But is there any clues to finding out how to get past it? Science of Relationships has multiple resources on this, although I recommend this article.

So we can all get past this ^


Check out this video about being in the friend zone. Just a note that the title of this video alludes to sexual encounters, but it also is applicable to being able to date someone or not. See it here:


What do you think? I'm not really sure how to go "from friend zone to end zone," but do you agree with these points? Ladies, how do you feel about these?? Guys, do these resonate at all?? Let me know, discuss below! As you can see in the comments, it's something a lot of people have an opinion about.

And thanks again for reading, keep it up!

Bonus: Here's a different, yet moving approach to the friend zone. Tell me what you think about it too:





Spread the love,

-Ogie

Update: So, when I mentioned that the "Friend Zone" term is contentious, I wasn't kidding. In an article entitled, "The 'Girlfriend Zone' Flips the 'Friend Zone' Myth on Its Head," it tackles some of the contentious issues with it, and also directly challenges the entire notion--including the victimization status that is often attributed to the person being rejected or ignored. It has some really good insights and arguments, and is well worth the read!


P.S. This is just funny:

The Friend Zone diagram. Pretty accurate?





Thursday, September 1, 2011

Calling all singles!

It was just brought to my attention by my wonderful friend Carmen Makhoul-Ibrahim that I need to do more for singles and I should incorporate posts that are specifically geared towards singles. ...And I honestly have no idea how to do that because I didn't really previously consider it. But it's a great idea nonetheless (especially because I'M single!).

There are a lot of singles resources out there that I'd love to connect people to (e.g., the Relationship Coaching Institute, the Relationship Research Institute, websites like AskMen for men, and even astrological sites (e.g., this, this, and that, but I love this one), but my biggest problem with most singles guides, singles advice, etc., is that it's directed more towards how to have a sex with or pick up a girl or guy as opposed to have to get into a relationship with someone
(especially with guy's advice). There are all these games, and systems, and whatnot, but I don't think any of it really matters. Because if you're looking for how to pick up chicks or guys, you're really in the wrong place. That's not really my goal, and helping someone get laid is DEFINITELY not what this blog is about.

Sorry to disappoint you Quagmire

What I would rather focus on is two-fold: making yourself a better catch in general through introspection, understanding yourself, understanding the social and psychological influences on whom you are attracted to, overcoming the insecurities that hinder relationship formation (such as a parent's divorce, the death of a loved one, or a hurtful break-up (e.g., cheated on, etc.)), and a better overall understanding the opposite sex. 

And secondly, through emphasizing the importance of compatibility.

I will be introducing some little things that deal with the first point over the next few weeks, but as far as the second goes, let's just have a brief introduction into compatibility 101. First of all, what is it?

Compatibility (noun):
1: Capable of existing together in harmony (compatible theories, compatible people)... Example: Two people with compatible personalities. Origin: Middle English, from Medieval Latin: compatibilis, literally: sympathetic, from Late Latin: compati. First Known Use: 15th century. Synonyms: Agreeable, amicable, harmonious, congenial, frictionless, kindred, unanimous, united. Antonyms: Disagreeable, discordant, disharmonious, disunited, incompatible, inharmonious, uncongenial" (Thanks Webster).

Wikipedia has a pretty basic overview of interpersonal compatibility, but it is a really important concept that is often overlooked entirely, or in the case of the Arab world/Lebanon, is reduced down to the same religion, sect, social class, geographic location, or similar family backgrounds. But regardless of where you're from, compatibility is important, both for couples and singles. 

And what is important is to ask yourself questions like: What do they value? How important is religion to their life? Do we like the same things? Have similar tastes in interests? Do we have similar life trajectories (that is, are they moving away in a month while you stay in university for another 2 years)? Do we have similar goals and ambitions? Different goals, but similar life ambitions?  Different life ambitions, but similar goals? Are you close in age? In location? Do you share similar Love Languages, and what are theirs anyway? Do they stimulate you intellectually (and sexually)? Can you communicate well? Can you talk about deep and meaningful things? Do they support your passions? Do you support theirs? Do they get your humor? Do you understand theirs? Do you want kids someday, but they never do?  How do they spend their money? How do they manage conflict? How dependent or independent are they? Etc...

These are a wide range of questions, but I just wanted to illustrate things many people don't ask themselves or the people they are potentially going to be in a relationship with. Or if people know what they value, they don't necessarily know how "put their finger on it" as to what they are trying to tell themselves (i.e., that this is important to finding someone who I am compatible with). 

Probably not gonna work...

Compatibility is not just some relationship mumbo-jumbo concept. Multiple scientific studies and research has highlighted the benefits on romantic compatibility such as Huston and Houts (1998) (pp. 114-151), Lutz-Zois, Bradley, Mihalik, and Moorman-Eavers (2006), and Dijkstra and Barelds (2008), for instance. Moreover, Winch’s (1955, 1958, 1967) theory of complementary needs asserts that individuals who are in love share certain social characteristics (e.g., class, family status, education, income, religion, etc.), which is also supported by Sprecher (1998) who found that similarity of attitudes or values is one of the most important determinants of attraction.

I'll be talking more about compatibility later, and by no means am I trying to make you paranoid about it, but DO be more aware that there is more to meeting someone and maintaining a relationship than attraction (Duh, I know...).

IMPORTANT!

What I want from all you singles now is tell me specifically what you want. What do you want to see? What kind of articles, links, research, etc. is relevant to you? Tell me so I cater to your needs and what you want!

Spread the love,
-Ogie

References:

Dijkstra, Pieternel, and Dick P. H. Berelds. 2008. "Do People Know What They Want: A Similar or Complementary Partner?" Evolutionary Psychology, 6(4): 595-602.

Huston, Ted L., and Renate M. Houts. 1998. "The Psychological Infrastructure of Courtship and Marriage: The Role of Personality and Compatibility in Romantic Relationships." Pp. 114-151 in The Developmental Course of Marital Dysfunction, edited by Thomas N. Bradbury. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Lutz-Zois, Catherine J., Angela C. Bradley, Jennifer L. Mihalik, and Erika R. Moorman-Eavers. 2006. "Perceived Similarity and Relationship Success Among Dating Couples: An Idiographic Approach. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23(6): 865-880.

Sprecher, Susan. 1998. "Insiders' Perspectives on Reasons for Attraction to a Close Other." Social Psychological Quarterly, 61(4): 287-300.

Winch, Robert F. 1967. "Another Look at the Theory of Complementary Needs in Mate-Selection." Journal of Marriage and Family, 29(4): 756-762.

----. 1958. Mate-Selection: A Study of Complementary Needs. Oxford, UK: Harper.

----. 1955. "The Theory of Complementary Needs in Mate-Selection: Final Results on the Test of the General Hypothesis." American Sociological Review, 20(5): 552-555.