“…although people often talk up relationships, their behaviour tells a different story.”
This series of posts starts – at the start – with the simple question of why we even need strong relationships. This might seem like asking why do we need food, water or oxygen. But, although people often talk up relationships, their behaviour tells a different story.
In life there’s hardly anything as difficult as going it alone; having someone to lean on can make even the bitterest of life’s blows tolerable.
In life there’s hardly anything as difficult as going it alone; having someone to lean on can make even the bitterest of life’s blows tolerable. Research even suggests that relationships are as vital to our health as good nutrition and regular exercise, perhaps more so (see: health benefits of relationships).
Human relationships have an incredible complexity and variety which psychologists have only just begun to fathom. The posts collected below examine some of the emerging aspects of research on the psychology of relationships.
Speed dating is huge now, but be careful you know what you’re getting into. The latest psychological research suggests your ‘great personality’ might not get ticks in boxes. So what have psychologists found out so far?
“Polyamory is a neologism, signifying having more than one long term sexual loving relationship at the same time, with the full knowledge and consent of all partners involved. Persons who enter into or consider themselves emotionally suited to such relationships may define themselves as polyamorous, often abbreviated to poly. The term is sometimes extended to refer to similar committed familial relationships that are not sexual in nature.” [From Wikipedia]
Wikipedia has an excellent discussion of some of the issues this raises. Still it doesn’t address the more practical points. Which partner do you go home to in the evening? What happens if two of your partners share the same birthday? Whose parents do you visit at Christmas?
All the normal problems of a monogamous relationship are suddenly mulitplied two, three or four-fold. I have the greatest respect for anyone who can even aspire to the ideals of polyamory, let alone pull it off. The Guardian The Independent
People going in search of love online have found that their high hopes for online romance have been hit by some unexpected behaviour. Emails are routinely ignored and many people seem loathe to meet in the dangerous offline world. Are internet daters simply floundering in a new medium with unclear rules or is there a more fundamental problem? Research into people’s motivations is beginning to uncover some answers.
James, 29, has only just started internet dating and is having a few teething troubles:
“I’m finding it really frustrating at the moment, I’ve been sending out a few messages to women whose profiles I like and I haven’t been getting much response. Sometimes they will email you a few times then go quiet. Or when you offer to meet up in real life, they suddenly turn out to be extremely busy. Frankly, I wonder why a lot of the women are on there.”
Becky, 31, is having similar problems with the men she has contacted:
You’re single, perhaps painfully so. The large pool of potential partners that school or university provided is starting to seem like it was a lifetime ago. You’ve moved to an unfamiliar city for work or to get away from the past. You stick to your tried and trusted old friends and there seems little chance of meeting new people. Internet dating may look like a good option, a last hope even, of meeting some new people.
Encouraging research from the University of Bath suggests that internet dating might be more than a passing fad. A new survey asked 229 internet daters about their experiences of internet dating. What relationships had they had online? How long did they last? Was it all a complete waste of time and money? The results were perhaps surprisingly upbeat. 94% or people who had built up a significant online relationship went on to meet up more than once in real life.
“The more the couple engaged in simultaneous online chat before meeting rather than simply e-mailing one another, the more they were found to depend on one another emotionally and the more they understood one another.”