I was reading a blog on Psychology Today about relationships and how they are effected by emotional and biological factors. Steven Stosny, the author of this relationship blog, talked about how when we are young we develop an emotional attachment to our primary care giver. When those people are absent from our lives Stosny asserts that we experience seperation anxiety. The author relates this childhood anxiety to our adult relationships, saying that when we experience close bonds with another person and lose them it has the same effect

While I’m sure the author’s argument has truth, there are some social issues tied up in our relationships that he did not touch on at all. For instance the fact that attachment to one primary caregiver is very much a Westernized mind set. In many parts of the world a child is the responsibility of the whole community and not just one person. Also, in our society there is a huge importance placed on being in a relationship. You get tax breaks, you always have a date for the holidays, and when bombarded with the countless images of monogamous couples in our media there is a sense of inclusion otherwise not had.

In Euro-American societies I think there has been a sort of brain washing of children to believe that in order to be happy in life we all have to achieve this cookie cutter existence, which includes a good job, a partner, and offspring. While I think there have been great social advances which now make it acceptable (in most places) to have a same sex partner and chose to have children in a non-traditional way, there is still an emphasis to “settle down” and be with one, and only one person.

Being recently married myself I have seen a whole new world open up. It’s almost as if I have automatically joined a sort of club.  For choosing to go the traditional rout and commit myself to one person, and realistically some kids one day, I received a plethora of positive social reinforcement.  My tax return was better this year, I got tons of presents, not to mention an all expense paid wedding (that is basically a glorified party), and I all the sudden have the approval of other wives. Although it’s pretty easy to see the comedy behind all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds marriage, it is still something I enjoyed, and it’s hard to think that people who chose not to go the traditional rout do not get all the same benefits.


2 Responses

  1. Marriage is such an interesting topic…especially at our age.

    I was reflecting on my reaction to people in our class getting married and/or having children and I realized that despite the circumstances in which both of these actions occur, I am always congratulating! There is never a circumstance where it seems socially acceptable to say, “Oh, that’s too bad that you don’t get to wait until you are financially stable or emotionally mature.” This is regardless of whether or not that is the truth.

    It it most likely my own cultural conditioning but sometimes (not always) the glossing over of the irresponsibility present in either getting married too young or for the wrong reasons or having a child (perhaps by accident) at a less than ideal time irks me!

  2. I found some interesting interviews on contemporary marriage attitudes…there is actually an organization meant to protect unmarried people from discrimination(technically called marital status discrimination)!

    One of the interviews I found ( discusses the financial aspects of marital status discrimination: the wedding gifts (Here’s a tangent: I was reminded of that Sex in the City episode where Carrie’s $500-ish Manolo’s are lost at a friend’s baby shower…long story short, Carrie ends up “registering” to marry herself in order to get her friend to replace the shoes because she has spent a fortune on wedding/baby gifts for the friend and feels that it is not fair that she has never had the same amount of money/gifts lavished upon her because of her marital/non-parental status), the tax incentives, etc.

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