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Psychology Assignment: Relationship Between Love & Romantic Love


Task: Create a psychology assignment addressing the following points:
1. Define “romantic love” and “love”. Discuss the relationship between “romantic love” and “love” with the support of research findings, concepts and/or theories. (Remember to cite your sources.) (250 words)
2. Define and describe two features that you think are most important in an ideal romantic relationship. Justify why these features are important in an ideal romantic relationship with the support of research findings, concepts and/or theories (e.g., Sternberg’s triangular theory of love). What conclusions can you draw from your analysis? (Remember to cite your sources.) (1000 words)


Romantic Love
Romantic love is a type of love that binds people spiritually through intimacy and physical passion. It is stated in this psychology assignment that partners in romantic love, communicate frequently to know intimate details of each other along with enjoying affection and sexual passion. According toStangor, (2021), romantic love reduces attraction for others. Faith in each other is important in a romantic relationship as it fosters a sense of security.

According to Sternberg’s Triangular Theory (1986), love is a force that arises through interpersonal relationship that is created through intimacy, passion and commitment. These three components are distinct but interrelated and together can be viewed as the vertices of a triangle (Sorokowskietal., 2021). The feelings of closeness, connectedness in a relationship lead individuals to physical attraction, romance and sexual consummation for their partners. Finally, individuals come to a decision whether to make a commitment to maintain that love or not.

Relationship Between “Romantic Love” and “Love”
The Triangular Theory of Love by Sternberg classified love into different types: liking, romantic, infatuation, empty, non-love, consummate, fatuous and companionate. Romantic love is a kind of love (Sorokowskietal., 2021).Often people use love and romantic love interchangeably as both are closely related. The intense feeling of attachment, deep affection and devotion for each other and a willingness to support and sacrifice for the partner is considered as love. Where love is considered as an inner feeling, on the other hand, romantic love is treated as an output expression of love.According to the theory of Robert J. Sternberg in The Triangular Theory of Love, love drives from the combination of intimacy, passion and commitment also, but, romantic love rises from amalgamation of passion components and intimacy.According to Rathus&Nevid, (2019), in romantic love, lovers are physically and emotionally attached to each other and it reflects sexual desire without commitment to remain together. However, a complete love consists all the three components: intimacy, passion and commitment.On the other hand, there are some similarities between love and romantic love that both can be experienced by the partners in the same context as both are related to feelings and gestures. Both in love and romantic love, there are passion and intimacy.According toDunlop Hanley & McCoy, (2019), love is not visible as it contains emotional gestures such as devotion, loyalty, commitment and so on. Whereas, romantic love is more about intimacy and physical passion.As stated by Ben-Ze’ev & Ben-Ze'ev, (2019), in a relationship, it is possible that both love and romantic love are present or may be not present together. If individual feels romantic love for the partner, that signifies there is love relationship between them. On contrary, it is not mandatory to have romantic love between partners who are in love relationship.

Two Most Important Features for an Ideal Romantic Relationship

There are never ending researches for decades in order to understand what makes an ideal romantic relationship.Though most of the studies have conducted over few common variables such as age, gesture, financial condition and appearance.According toGottman & Gottman, (2017), self judgement of a relationship depicts how much an individual feels satisfied with his partner or how much that individual is appreciative of his partner. This judgement shows the quality or the strong bonding of a relationship. However, two most important features: Communication and respect, for an ideal romantic relationship are going to be discussed.

Communication- According to Ceasar, Peters-Lawrence, Mitchell & Powell-Wiley, (2017), the act of sharing information that may be valuable or just for light fun chat through giving and receiving message from each end is considered as communication. In case of romantic relationship, message can be a feeling, an opinion or idea andconfession. The Triangular Theory of Love by Sternberg shows that love is a triangle that is made of three components and one of this is intimacy which can be grow through communication (Sorokowskietal., 2021).In this simple act of transferring information, two major steps are listening carefully and respecting other’s opinion. The pivotal purposes of communication are to express feelings, to influence and to achieve social expectations.

Communication is the most important feature not only for a romantic relationship but for any kind of relationship as it increases faith, attraction, better understanding of the partner, chances of reliable commitment and other strong emotional feelings. In order to maintain a good and effective communication, it is important to listen to each other. As stated by Guerrero, Andersen & Afifi, (2017), looking into each other’s eyes while communicating is another important factor which creates great impression on one for another. A good communication can be destroyed if one of the partners is already on a plan to response before other finishes talking.

A good and effective communication helps to build respect and strengthen it for the persons involved in a romantic relationship. As humans are emphatic, effective communication helps both the individuals who are involved in a romantic relationship to develop respect for each other. According to Mark Twain, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”. Therefore, it is clear that this is the biggest benefit of an honest communication while people are in a romantic relationship, as remembering and maintaining a string of lies cannot develop or run a relationship (Levy, 2020). Honest communication also builds trust between two individuals.

It is common that couples are often in their personal conflicts because of their differences and for having bad days. However, expressing and sharing emotions help couples to avoid misunderstandings. Besides avoiding misunderstandings, an effective communication helps partners to support each other by identifying and understating the personal challenges, expectations and emotions.

Often love and attachment between a couple dies down due to lack of communication (Rolland, 2017). Only effective and honest communication can revive this. Even, communication is great for a positive and cheerful mood. For instance, if an individual is happy and excited for something and shares this happiness with the partner, that exhilaration feeds into both the individuals.

Respect- Respect is a way of treating someone in a wayto appreciate, to value or to admire that person for having great qualities and knowledge, for being in authority, for being honest and for many other positive reasons (Benn, 2017). Respect for someone reflects through the gesture of being kind and polite towards that person.According to Sorokowskietal., (2021), in Dr. Sternberg’s theory of love, the concept is in order to maintain the triangle of love, decision or commitment plays an important role. Respect is the feature that increases the chance and willingness of commitment in a romantic relationship.

Regardless of having differences in values, feelings, upbringings and thoughts, individuals should accept and respect other’s differences of what they are or what they do for the relationships, instead of demanding to change themselves according to own expectations. Through showing respect, one should allow other one to be open up about his flaws and weakness. It is also important to listen from partner with a mentality of acceptance and respect, rather being judgmental towards the partner.

According toDesmarais, Boobyer& Bruce, (2021), if partners respect each other, that means that they already have accepted one another for who they are in their real life, regardless of their differences. All human beings have good and bad side, beauty and flaws within them. Romantic relationship cannot run long just by keeping aside these weaknesses and flaws of each other. If partners have respect for each other, they will accept all the differences, flaws, weaknesses and bad sides of their partners. Thus, respect provides the fuel to keep a romantic relationship moving smoothly. As stated byMiller, (2021, July), every human being wants to feel special and valuable at least to the partner and respect is something that can make a person feel important and valuable. Therefore, if one of the partners who are involved in a romantic relationship shows respect towards the other one, then it builds the willingness to be committed towards the partner. Even safety and devotion in a relationship are built through respect.

As stated by Whitty, (2018), in Western countries relationships depend on the willingness of both the partners. Many surveys show that marriages that last for a really long time, are not just because there are attraction or intimacy between the couples. Rather, it was noticed that such couples mentioned ‘respect’ as the pivotal reason for continuing their long marriages. Affection and intimacy have a tendency to fade over time and appearance, however, it is respect that lasts long.

Respecting someone mitigates the possibility of cheating on that particular person.Thus, respect nurtures trust and devotion in a romantic relationship. Even, respect breeds such kind of relationship that is a way beyond just romance, rather it creates an eternal and spiritual love where partners support each other, accept another’s flaws and weakness, sacrifice for one another and do many more positive things that bind them together.

In many Western culture romantic relations depend on the willingness of the partners involved in it, which means romantic relationship is a voluntary act. Though there are major powerful influences such as similarity, self- identity and proximity that decide who will be attracted towards whom for a romantic relationship, but some specific features such as communication and respect, play important roles to run an ideal romantic relationship. Intimacy, passion and commitment are the three components of love. Intimacy can increase through communication and commitment can increase through respect.

Benn, S. I. (2017). Privacy, freedom, and respect for persons. In Privacy & Personality (pp. 1-26). Routledge.
Ben-Ze’ev, A., & Ben-Ze'ev, A. (2019). The arc of love.University of Chicago Press.
Ceasar, J., Peters-Lawrence, M. H., Mitchell, V., & Powell-Wiley, T. M. (2017). The communication, awareness, relationships
and empowerment (CARE) model: an effective tool for engaging urban communities in community-based participatory research. nternational journal of environmental research and Public health, 14(11), 1422.

Desmarais, F., Boobyer, K., & Bruce, T. (2021). Lingering effects of sponsor transgression against a national fan base: the importance of respect in relationship management. Sport Management Review, 1-31. Dunlop, W. L., Hanley, G. E., & McCoy, T. P. (2019). The narrative psychology of love lives. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 36(3), 761-784.

Gottman, J., & Gottman, J. (2017).The natural principles of love. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 9(1), 7-26.
Guerrero, L. K., Andersen, P. A., & Afifi, W. A. (2017). Close encounters: Communication in relationships. Sage Publications.
Levy, A. (2020).Mark Twain and the Idea of American Identity. A Companion to American Literature, 2, 373-386.
Miller, M. (2021, July). Relationship building built on trust and mutual respect: A classroom teacher's challenge. In EdMedia+ Innovate Learning (pp. 463-466). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
Rathus, S. A., &Nevid, J. S. (2019). Psychology and the challenges of life: Adjustment and growth. John Wiley & Sons. Rolland, J. S. (2017). Neurocognitive impairment: Addressing couple and family challenges. Family process, 56(4), 799-818.
Sorokowski, P., Sorokowska, A., Karwowski, M., Groyecka, A., Aavik, T., Akello, G., ...& Sternberg, R. J. (2021). Universality of the triangular theory of love: adaptation and psychometric properties of the triangular love scale in 25 countries. The Journal of Sex Research, 58(1), 106-115.

Stangor, D. (2021). Close Relationships: Liking and Loving over the Long Term. Retrieved 17 November 2021, from

Whitty, M. T. (2018). Do you love me? Psychological characteristics of romance scam victims. Cyberpsychology, behavior, and social networking, 21(2), 105-109.


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