Factors influencing attraction and issues that are associated with personal relationships

Essay by ChicherinaCollege, UndergraduateA+, August 2004

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The idea to write about this topic came about when I had a conversation with one of my friends who was describing his past relationship. He was expressing how his ex-girlfriend broke his heart and left him feeling sad and angry. His emotional problem didn't go away that easily; many times still he talks about her and still describes her as the most beautiful and decent girl he had ever been in relationship with. Before they broke up, he once told me that he was in love with her and I wondered why those kinds of relationships form in the first place if people have such major incompatibility. I tried to find some information related to men who were heartbroken. I thought that my topic would be concerning people who, like my friend, were depressed and nostalgic about their past relationships. However, I didn't find the most relative information to make it my major point, but instead I found what I think helped me understand a little of what his ex-girlfriend and he were experiencing while being with each other.

In Sternberg's theory of love, love has three components that influence its type, its possible endurance and its possible conflicts. Those are passion, intimacy, and commitment. The varying essence of those components determines all other factors of the relationship. Authors of the book "Social Psychology" 2nd ed., Dr. Kenneth S. Bordens and Dr. Irwin A. Horowitz, describe those three components: "sexual desire serves to define passion," intimacy is defined by self- disclosure, and commitment is defined by "determination to maintain love over time."

Some types of love determined by those components are romantic love, limerence, consummate love, unrequited love, and secret love. "Intense sexual desire and physical arousal are the prime forces driving romantic love," write Bordens and Horowitz. If...