Commitment = Satisfaction + Investments - Comparison Level for Alternatives
Another perspective on love suggests that part of the reason we’re attracted to who we are is because of biology. This theory is built on the evolutionary concept of reproductive fitness. Those who are able to survive are able to pass on their genes to the next generation. The best reproductive strategy for men is to mate with as many women as possible. Mating with a lot of men isn’t going to increase the likelihood of a woman conceiving, however. Because she has to spend months or years carrying the child and nursing it, her best strategy is to mate with a man who will stick around to help provide for and protect her and the child. (Remember, we’re talking cave person days.) Thus, the evolutionary approach suggests that men and women will look for different things in partners because of different parental investments that each must make.
This perspective predicts that men will primarily look for fertility cues in potential partners, such as health, youth, and physical attractiveness. Women, on the other hand, will look for status cues, such as financial security. Men are expected to pursue more relationships and relationships of shorter duration than women. Men should also show more sexual jealousy, whereas women will show more emotional jealousy. Because men can never be 100% certain they are the father of a child (DNA tests didn’t exist in cave person days), they will be more upset if their partner is having sex (or they think she is) with someone else. They would be wasting their resources to help raise a child that isn’t even theirs. Women always know they are the mother of their child, but they have to worry about having the man stay around and help care for their offspring. Thus they are more affected by emotional betrayals.
We also discussed how to have a good relationship, gender differences in breakups, and research on the best predictors of divorce. Finally, we talked about internet and speed dating and other recent relationship trends.
1. Explain how and why the propinquity effect works.
2. Describe how physical attractiveness, culture, and stereotypes about attractive people affect our liking of others. Explain how self-fulfilling prophesies can lead physically attractive people to be perceived as friendlier and vice versa. Explain what we find attractive and why that might be.
3. Discuss the effects of similarity and complementarity (being opposites) on liking and which one seems to be a more powerful effect.
4. Distinguish between the concepts of compassionate love and passionate love. Discuss the role of culture in conceptions of love.
5. Discuss how the investment model predicts commitment to a relationship.
6. Explain the evolutionary approach to attraction, love, and jealousy. Know what it predicts and why.
7. Describe how attachment styles can affect close relationships and identify the main attachment styles.
8. Discuss ways to build a better relationship.
9. Identify gender differences in relationship breakups.
10. Describe Gottman’s research on predicting divorce. What factors does his research say are most important?
11. Describe how interconnected we are.
12. Identify some problems with internet dating.
13. Identity what speed dating is and why it can be useful in studying relationships.