Love and Commitment Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1560 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality


There are two main types of love; sexual love and platonic love. I would call the first lust, and see it as a selfish love that is more focused on the using the person as a means to an end rather than as a means in him or herself. The second category seems to be stronger and involves loving the person for what he or she is. This seems to me to be the true love that withstands all sorts of vicissitudes and results in commitment.

Love is generally seen as between man and woman but it need not be nor need it necessarily be secular. It can span the feeling between two friends, or between parent and child or between one partner and another. These are different kinds of love, but true love involves a feeling of genuine care and dedication to the other as well as of commitment to the other and enjoyment of the other for the other's own end.

In essence, the main distinctions can be made between biological love and psychological love. Biological love sees love as a sort of Eros, a drive, where the person is influenced by hormones, nuetrophones, and pheromones to have a passionate feeling for an other. Biology sees love as falling into one of two categories: sexual attraction and attachment. The latter is the same feelings that a mother can have towards an infant (Lewis et al., 2000).

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Psychology sees love as being a triad of intimacy, commitment, and -- more common - sexual love (e..g Rubin, 1970). Intimacy is that shared between friends or romantic love where one becomes acquainted with the other's life. Passionate love (or infatuation) is intense longing often accompanied by physiological sensations; whilst commitment is affection and fondness for the other. Love, according to psychology, is more of a social and cultural phenomenon, and Fromm (2000) describes it as an aggregation of active deeds for the other.

It seems to me that love may actually be a composite of both factors; biological and social.

Social Penetration Theory

TOPIC: Term Paper on Love and Commitment Assignment

Social penetration theory was created by Altman and Taylor to describe the process of intimacy between people. Somewhat like peeling away layers of an onion, intimacy is developed by people revealing more of themselves to another. As they strip away layers of themselves the relationship develops.

There are people who are high 'revealors' (i.e. they reveal more of themselves) and people who are more reticent. Self0discolkosuer can also be performed in various ways, for instance by one giving an article of oneself to another. Either way, it involves the act of making oneself more vulnerable to another individual.

Altman and Taylor (1975) thought that self-disclosure moves more rapidly in the beginning stages of the friendship and then slows considerably as the tightly wrapped inner layers of the 'onion' are reached. . Some people are lucky in being able to establish an intense and open relationship with another. This is when wrapping has reached, or almost reached the core. Other times, a depentration process is performed, where withdrawal is effectuated.

Altman and Taylor (1975) also believed that self-disclosure is usually reciprocal and that peripheral items about the self (I..e the outer layers of the 'onion') are exchanged more frequently than more intimate details.

The model sees relationships in terms of expense and cost, namely if the person feels that he/she is benefiting or will benefit from the relationship, he will continue to unravel aspects of himself in the hope that the relationship will grow,

Strengths of this model are that it explains a good deal of how intimacy grows and develops. It also helps understand how one self-disclosure from one person prompts self-disclosure from the listener. It may also explain why people see self-disclosure as an integral way to building a relationship, as well as why people, when they withdraw from a relationship, become more closed about themselves.

Perhaps the utility of social penetration theory lies in the fact that not only does it teach shy people how to make friends, or help one endear himself to another, but it may also serve as caustic warning to those who are naturally too open as part of their personalty. I have seen such instances where such people find themselves 'burdened' with friends who they did not solicit or did not wish to attract merely due to the openness of their personalty.

The weakness of this theory, it seems to me, lies in the fact that there is not always a reciprocal self-disclosure or love and we see this in the most intimate instances e.g between therapist and client, married spouses, or families. Self-disclosure too need not always generate another in return, and not all relationships (such s familial) are retained due to assumption of cost. Some relationships are more selfless in character (such s those between parent and child) and transcend the question" what can you do for me?"

Self-expansion theory

The self-expansion theory says that individuals form relationships in order to facilitate their growth (E. N. Aron & a. Aron, 1996). So, for instance, in a romantic relationship, contact with the other individual causes some of the positive qualities of the other individual to become incorporated into the lover. This causes the lover to grow and expand hence receiving pleasure in the relationship and, subsequently, loving the other.

The interesting thing is that Aron and Aron (1997) see this result accruing particularly from someone who is different to the self. This is different to the matching hypothesis / similarities model that postulates that people are attracted to those who are similar to themselves since they reinforce their own esteem, and feel less threatened by differences. The self-expansion theory, on the other hand, says that romantic relationships, particularly with someone who is different form the self, fuels the self to grow, and individuals feel the thrill and excitement that such growth generates. These positive states are associated with the relationship and people therefore begin to see the relationship as being pleasant and to love the other for he/she is associated with a pleasant feeling. To stimulate this love, people need to continue sharing stimulating, exciting and novel activities together so as to prevent a feeling of boredom that may step in and shrivel the relationship.

If someone were to ask me for advice for attracting a partner, I would (drawing on the similarities hypothesis) advise him to look for someone who is similar to himself in terms of character traits, interests, and so forth. I would also advise him to look for someone who can also offer some different traits to the other as well as some different hobbies and interests, so that th relationship becomes challenging and offers growth to both parties. I would also advise that in order to retain the interest and stimulation of the relationship, the person should seek to enter into long-term exciting and stimulating learning and active opportunities so that both feel as though they are constantly growing and achieving growth through the other. In this way, both achieve pleasure and satisfaction and associate it with the other.

Mass media sees sexual activity as something that is recreational and casual and a glorious topic for entertainment. The culture likewise is said by many to overrate sex and to erroneously equate it with love. Sex can be fulfilling for certain people and painful for many others. Yet the culture or the media fail to acknowledge this attributing sex with an over-romanticized perspective.

Teens turn to media for ideas about what sex is about and how to do it. They are often presented with erroneous facts and sex is often associated with violence. The media is both a representation of cultural attitudes on sex, as well as feeds back into the culture and, in turn,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Love and Commitment" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Love and Commitment.  (2012, March 11).  Retrieved October 26, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Love and Commitment."  11 March 2012.  Web.  26 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Love and Commitment."  March 11, 2012.  Accessed October 26, 2021.