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Love and Well-Being. Cicilia Evi GradDiplSc ., M. Psi. What is Love?. Romantic love  predominant factor in psychological and physical well-being Positive relationship  one of the most significant predictors of happiness and life satisfaction Love has property that helps us adapt (bio)

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love and well being

Love and Well-Being

CiciliaEviGradDiplSc., M. Psi

what is love
What is Love?
  • Romantic love  predominant factor in psychological and physical well-being
    • Positive relationship  one of the most significant predictors of happiness and life satisfaction
  • Love has property that helps us adapt (bio)
    • Social animals  need to be involved in groups  form tight, close, supportive bonds
    • Protect those who close to us, especially our children
marriage and well being
Marriage and Well-Being
  • Higher self-reported happiness and life satisfaction
  • Consistently happier and healthier than single people  across all ages, income levels, education levels, racial and ethnic groups
  • Marriage is the only really significant bottom-up predictor of life satisfaction  for both men and women

A significant predictor of subjective WB

  • Marriages that have more positive interactions, emotional expressiveness and greater role sharing seem to be associated with greater life satisfaction
  • One important variable: Self-Disclosure
    • Provide emotional intimacy, trust and openness
  • Negative side: most frequently reported triggers for depressions!
interesting findings
Interesting findings
  • Single men are less happy than single women
  • Married men are as happy or happier than married women
  • 59% of men rated their love life as ‘Perfect 10’
  • Only 47% women rated their love that high
marriage and physical fitness
Marriage and Physical Fitness
  • Positive marital relationships may be associated with:
    • Longevity
    • Lower blood pressure, lower physiological reactivity to negative interactions
  • Greater in men  fewer infectious diseases and live longer  just by getting married
  • For women  need a good quality of marriage
sternberg s triangular theory of love
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love


Passion Commitment


All the 3 components often progress differently across lifespan

    • Passion is very high at the beginning
    • Intimacy increase steadily over time
    • Commitment may start out very low, but increases over time and reaching the highest point to remain steady
  • Bias? Ageism?
finding romance intimacy and love
Finding Romance, Intimacy and Love
  • Have to be attracted to each other  important variables:
    • Proximity  feel comfortable and attracted when they spend time near each other
    • Physical attractiveness  only at initial attraction
    • Attitude similarity (homogamy)  basic values, philosophy of life
    • Mutual exchange of positive evaluations  create interpersonal cycle of risking self-disclosure, being validated by partner, trusted and risking more …
relationship satisfaction
Relationship Satisfaction
  • What makes relationships good?
    • Intrapersonal factors  something about one or both of the partners
    • Interpersonal factors  something about the relationship between the two people
    • Environmental influences  external factors that impact the relationships in +/- way
personality traits
Personality Traits
  • Most wanted: healthy personality  confidence, integrity, warmth, kindness, intelligence, dependability, emotional stability, a good sense of humor, loyalty and being affectionate
  • Predictor of poor relationship: Neuroticism
    • When people are persistently anxious, worried, fearful and suffer from very low self-esteem
    • Inhibit capacity to love and to be loved
  • In individual level  determined by smaller unique behaviors
  • Judgment we make about the causes of behaviors
  • Fundamental attributions error
    • Other people’s behavior  their personality trait (‘too self centered’)
    • Our behavior  temporary aspects (‘under current stress’)
  • Using different attributions for different positive and negative behaviors
positive romantic illusions
Positive Romantic Illusions
  • Love is blind!
  • Positive illusions  characteristics in successful relationships
    • Positive bias toward oneself sense of happiness
    • Idealized partner’s attributes, exaggerated belief about control in relationships  happier couple!
    • Increase self-esteem
  • Validation and being supportive  negotiating areas of self-evaluation
  • Not based on avoidance of important information, denial or attempts to escape conflicts
interpersonal factors
Interpersonal Factors
  • NBC Polling  more time together (31%), better communication (30%), less worries about money (21%), more romance (6%), and more sex (3%)
  • Dissatisfied couples  express more disagreement, less humor and laughter, negative emotions, fewer positive comments, and more criticism
  • Bids for attention  small gestures that help each person stay connected to each other
environmental social factors
Environmental/Social Factors
  • Parental paradox  when marital satisfaction drops due to arrival of the children – BUT parental satisfaction rises up  until the phase of ‘empty nest’
    • Esp after first child  mother is anxious about being a good mother, of taking care of the child
  • But, when husband is showing fondness and each person keeps on paying attention to each other  no decline in marital satisfaction
seven qualities of a successful marriage
Seven Qualities of A Successful Marriage
  • My spouse is my best friend
  • I like my spouse as a person
  • I believe that marriage is a long-term commitment
  • We agree on aims and goals
  • My spouse has grown more interesting over the years
  • I want the relationship to succeed
  • Marriage is a sacred institution
what hurts relationships
What Hurts Relationships?
  • Conflict  #1 cause of marital dissolution
    • Hostile relationships  anger, recriminations, accusations, hostility
    • Demand-withdraw pattern (Gottman & Gottman, 1999)four steps:
      • Criticism and complaining from one partner, which results in;
      • A sense of contempt from the other, that;
      • Leads to defensiveness, and
      • End with withdrawal

If the withdrawal is so extreme  one leaves the room or withdraws attention in a passive-aggressive and hostile attempt to punish one’s partner  stonewalling

  • Divorce is determined by: level of marital satisfaction, presence of negative affects during conflicts, lack of positive affect in day-to-day interactions, the number of thoughts about divorce, number of bad memories, and the demand-withdrawn communication pattern
  • One negative act WILL ERASE 5-20 kindness acts!

Social and Cultural Factors

    • Social expectations  cause unseen stress
    • Shifting and changeable emotional quality of relationships
    • Cultural  polygamy, polyandry, arranged marriage