Psychologists are fascinated with investigating in romantic relationships. Based on the Evolutionary Approach, us humans are meant to be going around passing on our genes to as many partners as possibles, without commitments and to be bonded with one individual. So, why are romantic relationships are formed? The answer for this question been investigated from several different approach in Psychology.
There are evidences suggesting early Attachments of infants would affect later romantic relationships. Avoidantly attached people indicate that they are uncomfortable being close to others, find it difficult to completely trust and depend on others, and are nervous when anyone gets too close (Simpson 1990). However, the problem of linking up early Attachment and romantic relationship is that most studies in this area is correlational, making it hard to establish cause and effect.
Evolutionary approach explain it differently. It suggests that if the father is bonded into a relationship, and not going around for finding another partner, he can use his time and resources to help the rearing of his child. This increases the child’s chance of survival, also the possibility to pass on the gene successfully.
As an extend of the Biological Approach, there are also evidences suggesting there are neuronal effect in romantic relationships. Serotonin-enhancing antidepressants (SSRIs) can jeopardize one’s ability to feel romantic passion for a new partner or a deep attachment for a long attachment for a long-term mate (Fisher, 2004; Fisher and Thomson, in press). Once again, the problem of connection between neuronal with romantic relationship is Cause and Effect. We are yet to find if SSRIs cause people to feel romantic passion for individuals, or romantic passion for individuals cause the release of SSRIs.
Despite investigation in romantic relationships can bring good implication, however, we should be caution during the investigating in our studies. We should be aware some participants may feel distress when looking back into past relationships, and may not want to share the bad experiences they possibly had. Appropriate ways of researching would be self-report or questionnaires, as participants may not feel the same amount of pressure comparing methods such as Interviews. However, it is worth to be aware that with using methods such as self-report, participants may get biased to themselves when discussing romantic relationships.
J.A. Simpson (1990). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1990, Vol. 59, No. 5 , 973.
R.J. Sternberg., Karin Weis (2006). The new psychology of love. Page 103.