The interplay between idealization and disillusionment in the evolution of romantic love is examined. Idealization refers to the reawakening of conscious and unconscious fantasies that lovers project onto each other. Disillusionment refers to a change in perception that occurs when projections are not sustained. The optimal balance between idealization and disillusionment facilitates the deepening of intimacy in a process similar to the one Kohut describes in the development of self structure. Conversely, a great imbalance between idealization and disillusionment can lead to heartache.
This study examined the long-term consequences of idealization in marriage, using both daily diary and questionnaire data collected from a sample of 168 newlywed couples who participated in a 4-wave, 13-year longitudinal study of marriage. Idealization was operationalized as the tendency for people to perceive their partner as more agreeable than would be expected based on their reports of their partner's agreeable and disagreeable behaviors. Spouses who idealized one another were more in love with each other as newlyweds.
This study examined couples' ratings of self and partner physical attractiveness. On the basis of the theory of positive illusions, it was expected that individuals would rate their partners as more attractive than their partners would rate themselves. Both members of 93 heterosexual couples, with a mean relationship length of about 14 years, provided ratings of both their own and their partner's physical attractiveness. Results support the theory that individuals hold positive illusions about their partner's physical attractiveness.
The present study examined evidence of the 'love-is-blind bias' (a tendency to perceive romantic partners as more attractive than the self) among gay men and lesbians. In total, 93 gay men and 140 lesbians provided self- and partner-ratings of physical attractiveness for a range of body components. Results of a series of t-tests showed that both gay men and lesbians rated their partners as significantly more attractive than themselves on all but one item, respectively. Effect sizes for these differences were moderate to large.
Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association
The film 2046 is used as a screen and a springboard from which to reflect on the compulsive plight of some lovesick individuals. A particular oedipal constellation that generates lovesickness is hypothesized, wherein an unmourned third object preoccupies yet frustrates the primary object. This thwarted longing for another on the part of the original parent figure inflicts a defect in the self-esteem of the subject, who is then compelled to seek out an object that will re-create, while promising to repair, the wound.
This article reviews the research literature and theory concerned with accuracy of judgments in romantic relationships. We initially propose a model of cognition in (romantic) relationships that distinguishes between 2 forms of accuracy: mean-level bias and tracking accuracy. We then report the results of meta-analyses of research on heterosexual, romantic relationships, which used external benchmarks and reported levels of tracking accuracy (98 studies) and/or mean-level bias (48 studies).
This study examined ratings of physical attractiveness of the self and former and current partners. A total of 304 participants completed measures of attractiveness, relationship satisfaction, love dimensions, self-esteem and sociosexual orientation. Consistent with previous work, results showed that participants rated their current partners as more attractive than themselves and their former partners. However, results also showed that former partners were rated as more attractive than the self on a number of bodily characteristics.