Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Perception of Love in Young Adults

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Perception of Love in Young Adults

Article excerpt

The present study investigated perception of love in young adults. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with two women in which one was having her first love affair and the other one was having her second. After applying grounded theory, three staged theory of love emerged describing how love develops over time, how it is perceived and what different factors are associated with it. The first stage describes the process of falling in love. The second stage explains happiness and its associated factors. It also portrays bias against love and the troubles young adults have to face in family and society. The third stage depicts expectations that the lover would marry and become serious in career so can support a family. This study has implications for parents and counselors.

Keywords: love, perception, young adults, family

Love is a universal phenomenon. Everyone in life experiences love but their attitudes and experiences of love differs radically. It is a strong positive emotion of affection and attachment. It is a feeling of intimacy and care for someone. People in this life seek love. Everyone wants to feel special and to be cared of. When you find a person who really cares for you, is honest, sincere, and gives you happiness then you automatically get attached to that person. The feeling that he or she gives you is special and you don't want it to fade away which in turn keeps people together in a relationship. Different theorists have emphasized the importance of love, e.g., intimacy versus isolation in early adulthood is the sixth stage of Erickson's theory of psychosocial development showing the importance of intimate relationships in one's life (Santrock, 2002). Similarly Maslow has also highlighted love and belongingness as one of the important needs in humans revealing how love is important to survive after biological and safety needs are fulfilled (Maslow, 1943).

Firestone and Catlett (1999) describe love as "those behaviors that enhance emotional well-being, sense of self, and autonomy". Romantic love is a bond or connection between two people that results in trust, intimacy, and interdependence. In Rubin's view (as cited in Cherry, 2009), romantic love is composed of three elements; attachment, care, and intimacy. Attachment includes the need to have care and approval for the other person. Care is wishing the other person to be happy, and intimacy includes sharing of thoughts, desires, and feelings. According to Sheri and Stritof 2009), romantic love occurs when a person with his partner feels emotionally high, elated, and passionate. Love is also seen as a passion for another person to the extent that you can't live without him/her (Ashira, 2009). According to Gottschall and Marcus (2006), it is a desire for union with someone, to idealize him/her, to dramatically changes one's life priorities, to care about other person's well-being, and to feel empty and agony in his/her absence which is a universal experience.

Love in Pakistan and especially in Punjab has its roots in famous folk stories. Heer Ranjha is one of the most famous love stories written by Waris Shah. It takes an insight into the meaning of love, what hardships partners have to face, how hard they try to be with each other and the agony they feel in each other's absence (Qalandar, 2008). Similarly, the story of Anarkali is also popular, in which Saleem was a prince and Anarkali was a slave girl and both fall in love which shows that socio-economic status is neglected in a love affairs and how beauty plays an important role (Désoulières, η. d). Many bachelors either secretly love someone or are openly involved in love affair but apart from those who view love as beautiful, there are also some young adults who consider it wastage of time. They think real love does not exist and people only seek company to pass time. People who are in true love want to spend maximum time with their partners. Their vision is restricted to only positive qualities and the flaws in their partners are overlooked. …

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