Love and the Unconscious Mind The Mysteries of Romantic Attraction

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In
The
Development of Personality
, Carl Jung writes that, "…it
is the strength of the bond to the parents that unconsciously influences
the choice of husband or wife, either positively or negatively."
As my own divorce drama unfolded many years ago, it became clear
to me that there were deeper issues between my husband and me than
appeared on the surface. As I began to read literature which echoed
Jung’s premise that our choice of romantic partners is directly
influenced by our past experiences with our parents or primary caretakers,
I realized the tremendous influence our upbringing has on our adult
relationships.

Romantic love
has been studied from several perspectives, resulting in a deeper
understanding of human relationships. In his book, Getting
the Love You Want
, Harville Hendrix presents three of these
perspectives – the bio-logic, social-exchange, and persona
theories:

The bio-logic
theory
is that there is a biological basis for romance. This
evolutionary premise is that we instinctively choose mates who will
ensure the survival of the species; for example, men with overt
alpha characteristics – domination of other males – and
women whose vitality and health indicate a woman at the height of
her childbearing years.

The social-exchange
theory
is based on the idea that we choose mates whom we see
as our equals. According to this school of thought, we conduct an
evaluation of a prospective partner which is more involved than
that of the bio-logic model. Not only do we evaluate a person’s
youth and social status, but other qualities such as their creativity,
intelligence, humor, and kindness.

The basis of
the persona theory is that our mate is determined by the
degree to which he or she raises our self-esteem. Many of us have
felt pride and perhaps some embarrassment because of the way we
believe our partners are perceived by other people.

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the rest of the article

June
18, 2009

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