love, sex, and relationships

This was from an article I found somewhere. I cannot take credit. I just thought it was an interesting read.

Love

Love is a difficult concept to define. It is usually referred to as an emotion and has also been described as a behavior. Both are accurate. If you experienced the emotion love it goes to reason that you would behave accordingly. Nearly everyone agrees that there are different types of love, as expressed to different people. There is love for a child, parent, sibling, friend, and significant other. We will concern ourselves only with love between partners. According to social psychologist Robert Sternberg, there are four types of love in relation to partners. The three components to these types of love can be thought of in terms of the points of a triangle to better illustrate.

The three components of love are intimacy, which can be described as infatuation and a strong desire to be close, and commitment, for which I believe most readers know the definition. Combining the points of the triangle result in the types of love.

Intimacy combines with passion results in romantic love. This is what most partners experience in the beginning of a relationship, and it is usually energizing and exciting. Intimacy combined with commitment results in companionate love. This is what many relationships become over time. The partners are comfortable with one another, have an extensive history together, know each Motherwell, and are committed to the relationship. There may likely be an absence of passion.

Having all three passion or infatuation combined with commitment results in fatuous love. This is the result of getting swept up in passion and committing to a long-term commitment without really knowing the person.

Consummate love is when all three components, intimacy, passion, and commitment are combined together. Of course, it is unrealistic to expect that the overwhelming passion present at the beginning of many relationships will continue forever. This type of passion lasts varying lengths of time, depending on the individual. Most consummate relationships have passion that comes and goes and varies in intensity.

Unfortunately, many people confuse infatuation or passion with love. After a period of time together, and as the passion naturally cools, they find themselves falling out of love. This is where the saying “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore” comes from. Many people end up going from one romantic love relationship to another, and wondering why they can’t find true love.

Sex

People may ask the question, well what about sex? Usually they are referring to what is commonly called buddy sex, or sport sex. These both refer to the act of sex for nothing more than the enjoyment of the act. No emotional involvement, no commitment, no strings. Although this seems cut and dry and mostly harmless if two consenting adults are involved, there are few complications that at least should be considered.

The first is that many people have difficulty separating sex and intimacy. Often feelings develop despite the belief that they never would.

Along these lines is the tendency of those that have been sexually abused to sexualize intimacy. This occurs when a friendship develops, secrets are shared, and a sexual attraction becomes apparent even though none had existed prior to the friendship getting closer. Because of the high prevalence of sexual abuse among addicts, and the nature of sharing on a personal level in the 12 step program and groups, this is a very real and serious risk. To begin buddy sex may just be a symptom of diseased thinking, and could prove very detrimental.

Another consideration is casual sex’s effect on self-esteem. Although most of us would like to believe we could have casual sex with no guilt or remorse, this is often not the case. Casual sex often goes against the morals and values that one was taught and may continue to carry. Any time that we behave in a manner that goes against our values, we experience guilt. Guilt can have a detrimental effect on self-esteem.

Relationships

Most people believe in a spiritual or magical aspect that causes them to fall in love, and enter into a relationship. Many believe in a soulmate that is waiting for them, and that fate can step in at any moment anywhere and deliver their soulmate to them. The words that follow are not attempts to de-mystify love and relationships, but are simply to keep individuals from falling victim to other aspects that can appear to be mystical.

Many people project qualities of their ideal mate onto the person that they are getting to know, and then confuse this with having found their soulmate. A projection is an internal ideal, thought process, or state that is attributed to another person. In other words, I know what I want and need my ideal mate to be, and I place these attributes and qualities into another individual. I observe this other persons behavior and relate it to my ideal. If I do not recognize that there is a projection (and rarely is a projection identified) I then believe I have found my soulmate. Later, when I know the person better, they begin to fall short of my expectations and ideals. Falling short of my expectations they cannot be the ideal, and often the search for my soulmate begins again. This pattern of disappointment will continue until an individual realizes the reality of the projection, and does not give into the fantasy that they have found their soulmate.

Another aspect of relationships is the bargaining process. This is not an external event, but an internal one. Each person entering a relationship is aware of the attributes that they bring to the table. These can include attractiveness, financial security, a quality of sweetness, intelligence, being a giving person, being attentive, considerate, good in bed, etc. Knowing what attributes’ one brings to the table, the individual wants a comparable partner. This does not mean that individuals necessarily want someone exactly as attractive, nice financially secure, etc. as we are. What it means I that we want an equal or better bargain in line with what we value. For example, how many very attractive women have you seen with menthe are financially secure? The man knows he brings financial well being and security and values an attractive trophy for a partner. The woman in this example knows she is very attractive and values financial security.

This example is simplified although it exists. The actual bargaining process is more complicated due to the amount of aspects to consider, but the example exemplifies the issue.

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