May 4, 2012

Break-ups and the 'love myth'

I think is probably hardest for those in their 20s and 30s.  Settling on the right mate and right career is not easy.  Nor is losing friends which is what happens when people break up.

 Breaking Up Couple

The REAL cost of a break-up: We lose EIGHT friends when a long-term relationship ends

A typical adult loses eight friends when a long-term relationship ends, a study found today.

Researchers found the taking of sides and the rights and wrongs of the circumstances of the split are the biggest reasons for broken friendships.

Around one in ten people said their fed-up friends had stopped speaking to both them and their former partner after the break-up.

More than 27 per cent of people even admitted to staying in a relationship longer than they really wanted to because of their fears about the impact it would have on their friendships.
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The eight friends who will be lost are likely to be three friends of the ex-partner and three mutual friends made during the relationship.

The other two were known before the relationship even started, but either ended up siding with the other half - or got fed up hearing about the conflict.

Of the 2,000 people polled - who have recently split from a partner - 31 per cent now regret their actions during the break-up because of the effect it had on their friendships.

Could all these false starts and break-ups have something to do with The 'Love Myth' in Pop Culture?

[There is]  a deeply embedded belief in our pop culture that the experience of being in love must meet a very specific set of criteria. This is the "love myth."

Haidt explains:

As I see it, the modern myth of true love involves these beliefs: True love is passionate love that never fades; if you are in true love, you should marry that person; if love ends, you should leave that person because it was not true love; and if you can find the right person, you will have true love forever. You might not believe this myth yourself, particularly if you are older than thirty; but many young people in Western nations are raised on it, and it acts as an ideal that they unconsciously carry with them even if they scoff at it. (It’s not just Hollywood that perpetrates the myth; Bollywood, the Indian film industry, is even more romanticized.)
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Companionate love is less exciting, but more lasting: “the affection we feel for those with whom our lives are deeply intertwined.”

The problem with passionate love is that it eventually fades. And that creates major problems for the person who decides to marry someone based on the expectation that passionate love will last forever--the most major of the problems being, of course, divorce.
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So does true love exist? Haidt thinks that it does:

True love exists, I believe, but it is not—cannot be—passion that lasts forever. True love, the love that undergirds strong marriages, is simply strong companionate love, with some added passion, between two people who are firmly committed to each other.
Posted by Jill Fallon at May 4, 2012 11:12 AM | Permalink