Re­pent at Leisure

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

Ithought I'd try some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent this week, so here goes … In 1996, psy­chol­o­gists fol­lowed a group of 121 dat­ing cou­ples. Ev­ery few months, the cou­ples an­swered ques­tion­naires de­signed to de­ter­mine how much they ide­al­ized their part­ner, and how well each pair was do­ing.

Cou­ples who were clos­est af­ter one year were those who ide­al­ized each other the most. They seemed to ac­tu­ally cre­ate the re­la­tion­ship they wished for as their ro­mance pro­gressed.

Psy­chol­o­gists have also been re­search­ing the in­gre­di­ents of a longterm, lov­ing re­la­tion­ship by fol­low­ing 168 cou­ples that mar­ried in 1981. They found that a cer­tain kind of ide­al­iza­tion can keep peo­ple hap­pily mar­ried. Usu­ally, one per­son puts a good spin on the other, see­ing the part­ner as more re­spon­sive than he or she re­ally is.

Psy­chol­o­gists iden­ti­fied three paths through early courtship: fast and pas­sion­ate, slow and rocky, and in­be­tween.

The fast-track cou­ples, about 25% of the to­tal, were in­ter­de­pen­dent within weeks; they tended to ig­nore or for­get their ini­tial prob­lems and were com­mit­ted to mar­riage within sev­eral months.

The slow-mo­tion group took an av­er­age of two years to reach a com­mit­ment.

At the 13-year mark, re­search showed that the more bor­ing and de­lib­er­ate the courtship, the bet­ter the prospects for a long mar­riage. Peo­ple who had very in­tense ro­mances at the be­gin­ning were likely to have a big drop-off later on, and this of­ten changed their view of the other's char­ac­ter.

Pas­sion­ate ro­mance is like a drug that loses its kick. Stud­ies of dat­ing and en­gaged cou­ples show that feel­ings of pas­sion­ate love and in­fat­u­a­tion tend to fade quickly in the first year, and two years later are all but gone.

View­ing ro­mance as a bi­o­log­i­cally based, drug-like state pro­vides at least some so­lace for a bro­ken heart.

Now comes the tricky bit – I'd like you, Dear Reader, to par­tic­i­pate by at­tempt­ing a lit­tle “in­ter­ac­tive” – such a use­ful word these days – par­tic­i­pa­tion by try­ing to chat about what you've just read.

In­ter­pre­ta­tion:

1. Give ex­am­ples to show what you un­der­stand by: “fast and pas­sion­ate, slow and rocky, and in-be­tween”. 2. How does “ide­al­iza­tion” man­i­fest it­self in a re­la­tion­ship? 3. What do you think the term “in­ter­de­pen­dent” means? 4. What do you un­der­stand by the word “com­mit­ment”? 5. Ex­plain “Pas­sion­ate ro­mance is like a drug that loses its kick” and state whether or not you would agree with this sen­ti­ment.

Dis­cus­sion

“Marry in haste, re­pent at leisure.” Ex­plain the quo­ta­tion. This prover­bial say­ing was first ex­pressed in print by Wil­liam Con­greve in his com­edy of man­ners The Old Batch­e­lour, (orig­i­nal spell­ing) in 1693:

“Thus grief still treads upon the heels of plea­sure:

Mar­ried in haste, we may re­pent at leisure.”

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