Psychological Self-Help

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be fragilely dependent on love (see chapter 8). Both of these views
imply that there are two kinds of love: immature love and mature
Surely, mature, healthy love would be better than immature,
needy, neurotic love, right? Well, the research done to date (see
Brehm, 1985, pp. 107-110 for a summary) doesn't support that
reasonable-sounding statement. There is little relationship between
our claimed self-esteem and how much we like (not love) others, such
as friends, or how much we think others like us. You might think we
would select partners with similar self-esteem, but that doesn't seem
to be the case either. One problem with this research is that people
tend to be defensive about their low self-esteem; they sometimes try
to hide it and claim high self-esteem. If you study only people high in
self-esteem and low in defensiveness (truly self-confident), they will
tell you that they have frequently been in love and have frequently lost
love. Thus, it isn't just the insecure, needy person who has a string of
failed relationships, perhaps it's all of us who try to love. People who
score high in self-esteem and high in defensiveness report the lowest
frequency of loving and of losing. We don't know if these people take
fewer risks or if they conceal their rejections. Low self-esteem people
report a moderate frequency of loving and of losing. 
There is some evidence that people who love themselves less, love
their partners more. Compared to high-esteem persons, low-esteem
persons (males and females) scored higher on the Liking and Loving
Scales, trusted their partners more, and rated them more favorably.
As we saw in the last section, women with either high or low self-
esteem tend to get more involved in love relationships and idealize
their partner more than men do. Apparently, the high self-esteem
male tends to get less emotionally involved in his numerous love
affairs. Does this mean that a low-esteem male is the better lover? We
don't know, maybe both the high self-esteem and low self-esteem
male brings his own unique problems to the love nest. This is an
unclear area; we need more research. Surely the effects of insecurity
and low self-confidence on a marriage will depend on how the partner
responds in the long haul to these characteristics. Some of us like
humble, self-depreciating, unassertive partners. 
Besides self-esteem, another personality trait has been found to be
related to love: externalizers (chapter 8) are more romantic lovers;
they see attraction as mysterious and have had more love experience
than internalizers. More personality traits will be discussed in the
section about predicting marital adjustment. 
The effects of separation and other environmental changes
Besides cultural and personality factors, the situation can influence
how we love each other. If you meet an attractive person in a slightly
scary or emotional situation, say at a concert or amusement park or
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