A-Musings: Repent at Leisure

I thought 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 long-term, 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 in-between.

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.

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.

“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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