Discuss the influence of culture on Romantic Relationships?


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Discuss the influence of culture on Romantic Relationships?
  1. Intro
    1. There are many theories explaining the influence of culture on romantic relationships such as voluntary vs. involuntary. Western cultures place more emphasis on ‘I’, as in the individual’s needs. Whereas, non-western cultures place more emphasis on ‘we’, as in the greater good of the community.
      1. One main difference in how people meet each other is their culture. In individualistic cultures marriages are based on choice and falling in romantic love with one another. On a daily basis we interact with a large number of people who we make acquaintances with. Therefore, we have a higher degree of personal relationships, so a greater ‘pool’ of potential relationships. Therefore, lots of comparison levels and comparison levels of alternative meaning constant choice. In most collectivist cultures marriages tend to be arrange rather than based on romantic love. They have less chance to interact with people, they have fewer urban areas meaning they don’t interact as often as western cultures do. Therefore, no comparison levels. In the western world people meet, fall in love and then decided whether to get married or not. However, within collectivist cultures there is a traditional system of mate selection by arranged marriage. Qureshi identified 3 types of arranged marriages. Firstly,
        1. R2S- Gupta and Singh found that in India, marriages based on choice reported ‘diminished feelings’ of love after 5 years. Whereas, in arranged marriages there were reports of increasing love. This suggests that involuntary relationships last longer and are more successful than voluntary relationships.
          1. Research to support culture affecting the type of relationship formation comes from Goodwin. From a study done in Leicester on 70 Hindu couples, only 8% claimed they had an arranged marriage. This shows that they had become ‘westernized’ and the western ‘style’ of choosing a partner had influenced them.
            1. IDA - To evaluate, the study has a low sample size of 70 couples. This gives the study low population validity, which decreases external validity, therefore we are unable to generalise the findings of the study to the rest of the target population when looking at how different cultures influence the selection of partners.
              1. To evaluate, the study carries a sample bias. This is because it only uses Hindu couples, who are only from one religion. Therefore, we are unable to generalise the findings of the study to other religions when looking how cultures influence the selection of a partner as different cultures will likely select partners differently.
                1. A big influence of culture on romantic relationships is relationship formation about whether people marry for love or not. Wiederman asked US college students if they would marry someone who was ‘perfect’ for them but that they didn’t love them. He found that 14% males said yes compared to 9% females. However, Levine et al found that only in traditional collectivist cultures such as Thailand, India and Pakistan students were willing to marry someone they didn’t love. This shows support for differences in culture, as western cultures marry for love. Whereas non-western cultures consider needs of the family as love is seen as a luxury.
                  1. Myers et al asked 45 individuals (22 couples and 1 widow) living in India arranged marriages to complete a questionnaire on marital selection. Compared to the US there was no difference found in marital selection, but there were cultural differences in criteria for defining a successful marriage. For example, the US gave more importance to love than India. Therefore, this supports the idea that cultures influence romantic relationships.
            2. Epstein also carried out research into arranged marriages. He found that they make more sense for the lack of urbanization as they meet fewer ‘alternatives’. They have fewer divorce rates and they do fall in love. However, divorce may be seen as immoral meaning that relationships only last longer so that people don’t have to carry the shame.
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