Love Hurts Others

Love hurts

Love hurts

We all know that lost love and unrequited love hurts. But as a headline from Live Science points out, “Love Hurts (Other People)” too.

Florida State researchers surveyed 130 hetero students in long-term relationships on their levels of jealousy (e.g., “How likely are you to surprise-visit your partner to see who is with him/her?”).

They also asked them to think about a time when they:

1) felt lots of love for their partner

2) felt lots of lust

Next, the students underwent three ordeals.

First they looked at pictures of an attractive or unattractive same-sex peer and then rated the appeal of a Chinese character. When asked to think about intense sexual desire for their partner everyone rated the character about the same. But when asked to think about intense love for their partner those who tend toward jealousy became quite negative.

Next the students played a video game with an attractive, but hidden, same-sex player. Whoever won got to blast their opponent with a loud noise. When reminded of their love for their partners, the jealous types more harshly blasted their sexy “rivals.” (Fortunately, there was no real person to torment.) But the effect disappeared when these same folks were told to think about lust instead of love.

Finally, the researchers upped the ante, creating a seriously threatening situation.

Love hurts-2Students were asked to help design a university dating site, and given profiles of “attractive, interesting, outgoing, fun-loving” people of their own sex who were single and looking. After being reminded of their deep love for their partners everyone responded harshly, labeling the rivals unattractive, unfriendly and heaping on abuse. Jon Maner, the lead researcher added, “The more love they felt for their partner, the more negatively they tended to evaluate these objectively attractive members of their own sex.”

He concludes that low- and high-jealousy people may not be so different after all. What matters is the level of threat.

Study researcher and grad student, Jennifer Leo opined,

Ultimately, love works in the service of protecting the relationship and maintaining it into the long term. Even if that means acting out.

Love makes the world go round. Too bad it can also harm innocent bystanders.

This is a rerun. I’m on vacation.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on July 22, 2015, in men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I found this article extremely interesting because it is true. I have two scenarios, the first is of my brother who is a very loving and trusting person. His wife often goes on girls only vacations and has lots of male friends but my brother is so secure in his relationship that it does not affect him and he does not perceive a threat from the men that my sister in law surrounds herself with. However I have noticed that when his wife acknowledges a celebrity or public figure and comments about their attractiveness he suddenly is very negative about that particular person. He picks at their character, their talent and even the gossip that surrounds that person to try to, in my eyes, make them appear less appealing to his wife. I often laugh at this, because he has no problem with his wife going to Vegas for a girls weekend but he thinks Johnny Depp is a talentless hack, who smokes and is overly eccentric, all in a wasted effort to make him less attractive. My second scenario is of my brother in law. He is the opposite of my brother. He is jealous and controlling, and he is also a womanizer. I don’t know why but he always had a girlfriend, and they were always attractive. He is now married and is very controlling. I often am astonished at the things he does, from checking her phone to actually tracking her movements through apps when he is at work. She gets tired of his behavior but they have a child together so she feels stuck. His jealousy masks his severe insecurity. He is constantly working on himself to ensure he looks fit, smells nice and even fakes friendliness in his need for acceptance. Yet, when his wife compliments or pays attention to any male, whether its his friend or family, he becomes a beast. He picks fights, tears the other person down until they are about 2 feet tall and even can get physical. This jealousy is disastrous and often results in lots of drama, weeks of arguing and finally people just avoiding each other until it blows over and the next family event or party is scheduled so the whole escapade can repeat. I think that real love can transcend the worst parts of jealousy, but it cannot extinguish it all together. Everybody feels insecure sometimes and needs reassurances from their partner. However I am a firm believer in trust and respect. When you critique someone else based on appearance, ability or misinformation, it does not make them less attractive it makes you less attractive. My brother is very handsome and does not need to worry about his wife or give in to his insecurities, especially over celebrities who often portray a false often airbrushed perfection, and my brother in law would be so much better off if he would just appreciate the life he has and stop worrying about the negative things that may or may not occur. The author was correct, love does hurt, and it does hurt others. Love is what makes us human, but what also makes us human is the chance to change and the ability to choose to be better and not give in to our baser instincts.

  2. I’ve often thought about how love is great if only we didn’t carry the emotional landmines that tend to wrap themselves around the heart. How it’s the wounding that can cause the love to hurt. I think esp in abusive situations this can be confusing. love hurts obviously-but yet that doesn’t make sense cuz how can love hurt? Goes back to the wounding (super crazy time in my life at the moment and just catching up on blogs so will definitely back to check out what I’ve missed.)

  3. Emily Quintanilla

    This post was very interesting to me- this is all very true into almost everyone’s day to day basis or lifestyle. I connected it to an example to my self and my boyfriend- I’m the really jealous type and if he were to speak or view a different female that iiii think is attractive, everything breaks loose and arguments start, but if I think that that female if not attractive at the time that he makes the comment, I do not let it get to me as much. Now I also have a friend who came in mind- he is male and he thinks and also does , he can comment see and do anything that he wants in regards to the opposite sex person, but if his girlfriend were to do the same there are repercussions and arguments. I think it is in the type is society that we live in. Like some have commented- there are a lot of emotions that take place in all of this so it makes it hard just to love happy in a relationship- and as a female I do believe that we are just over emotional.

  4. Coming from someone who has been in a relationship before, I have definitely taken note of this occurring. If my boyfriend were to hangout with friends, some of which were girls, I would always respond in some way. If I found these girls to be attractive, I would of course respond negatively to my boyfriend and become annoyed with him for hanging out with girls while I was not present. And yet if I found these girls to not necessarily be the most attractive, I would not mind at all. It is in human nature to be protective of your loved one, and feel somewhat jealous at some point in the relationship. Even those who are not the jealous type seem to develop some negative feelings to their partner at some point in the relationship when it comes to them socializing with the other gender. I agree with the stated quote that humans do what they can to ensure a protected, long-term relationship, even if their behavior is altered. Humans act in strange ways, and love definitely has a strange effect on behavior.

  5. This is very interesting! I never thought jealousy could be such a strong emotion (strong enough to put others down). Maybe because I’m not a very jealous person myself. I do recall friends talking about their exes’ current partners in a negative way, but I thought that they were either just over-exaggerating, or just kidding. For example, my friend, whose ex boyfriend recently got with another girl, talks about her physical appearance in the worst way. I even tell her that jealousy turns her into someone really mean, because she’s usually a really sweet girl. I think that this is partly because of the way women are raised to believe that they need to compete with one another. My friend asks me “Do you think she’s prettier than me?”, and I just think that she’s missing the point completely. I doubt they my friend’s relationship ended because of her lack of physical attractiveness. But, jealousy seems to be the ugliest of friends, turning her into a mean mess. This piece shows me that this situation isn’t as uncommon as I thought.

  6. I wonder how serious these student were about their relationship though. I feel that when I see good married couples, they tend to be more calm and logical towards their surroundings, even about their partner. It’s interesting because I feel like this study has a lot of childishness and immaturity as they kind of “smack talk” about others. My personal opinion is that mature, healthy relationships do not have to hurt others when they are in love. They’re comfortable in their shoes and are in good positions to not need “smack talking.”

    These are just my thoughts though. Fun read!

  7. I found this interesting, particularly because I am in a relationship with a man who becomes very jealous whenever I hang out with other males. To make matters worse, I am a tomboy, and I do hangout with guys more often than girls too. When I read that the intensity of jealousy correlates with the intensity of love, I found the conclusion of this research quite reassuring to my personal relationship, but also bias in many ways. I agree that the level of jealously indicates their level of care for the partner and the relationship, but it can also indicate insecurity the jealous person feels toward their partner. Why would the jealous partner feel threatened if they know that their partner would never give in to other guys? Is it because they don’t believe that the other partner is also very into maintaining the relationship as well? Or is it because they believe the feeling of love and lust will naturally go away with another person in the equation? There must be a factor to why they are feeling threatened because there is a root to all fears.

  8. This was an interesting read! As soon as I read jealousy, I immediately thought about my relationship with my boyfriend. We go to different colleges, so our relationship is long distance. When we first started college, my boyfriend became very jealous and controlling. I stopping hanging out with one of my close male friend because it got to the point where we would always fight about him. He hardly let me go out and when I did, he was not happy. I understood where he was coming from. But it basically meant he had absolute no trust in me. Eventually it put a strain in our relationship and it was close to ending. In the end, we were able to figure it out. I believe jealousy is a human trait and it is in every one, but too much of it can ruin a relationship. It’s all about trust and communication!

  9. This is a very interesting topic, I do want to focus on what you said “Ultimately, love works in the service of protecting the relationship and maintaining it into the long term.” This is so true, I believe everybody that goes into a serious relationship, this is their main goal, sometimes, sad as it is because we are so focused on protecting the relationship that we would do everything even hurt others to prove to your partner how much you love your partner. Most of the time we chose to just say something bad about other people to please you partner and not make them jealous, sad, but sometimes even if you don’t mean to say something bad about someone else, often, especially if your partner does not like the person you often just agree with your partner or to not make them jealous you tend to say bad things about other people so that your partner would think that you do not like that person. “Love makes the world go round. Too bad it can also harm innocent bystanders.” So true, when you are in love you would do everything to prove to your partner how much you love the, even to a point of hurting others feelings just so you can save and protect your own relationship, we become selfish when we are in love.

  10. The article is interesting. Falling in love with someone is one of the most beautiful experiences. However, loving somebody makes us feel jealous and be grumpy to other bystanders easily. Pretty or handsome people around your partner might make you feel nervous. Suppose your partner keeps talking how kind and sweet his friend is. If the friend has the same sex with you, you’ll feel sudden anger and jealousy. No matter how they are actually kind or sweet, you have a high possibility to start to think negatively about the friends.

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