Chapter Nine Review
Today, dating tends to be much less formal. Adolescent boys and girls still go together to events,
but they are much more likely than before to spend time together informally. Dating tends to be
even less formal in European societies than in American society. In non-Western cultures, dating is
American adolescents begin dating earlier today. Dating behavior tends to follow a sequence. First,
same-gender groups go to places where they hope to find other-gender groups. Next, adolescents
take part in social gatherings arranged by adults that include interactions between genders. In the
third step, mixed-gender groups arrange to go to events together. Finally, adolescent couples begin
to date as pairs. Biological maturity has little effect on the timing of beginning to date.
Adolescents report dating for recreation, learning, status, companionship, intimacy, and courtship
although these reasons for dating change as they enter emerging adulthood. What adolescents
look for in a romantic partner also changes with age, at least for boys. Males still follow a proactive
dating script while females follow a reactive script. Dating is generally associated with positive
development in adolescence.
Sternberg proposes that there are three fundamental qualities of love: passion, intimacy, and
commitment. These qualities can be combined into seven different forms of love: liking, infatuation,
empty love, romantic love, companionate love, fatuous love, and consummate love. The absence
of long-term commitment means that there are two principal types of adolescent love: infatuation
and romantic love.
Feelings of passion appear to be a virtually universal characteristic of young people. Romantic love
as the basis for marriage is a fairly new cultural idea—in most cultures throughout most of history
parents have arranged marriages, with little regard for the passionate desires of their adolescents.
People of all ages tend to have romantic relationships with people who are similar to them. Social
scientists attribute this to consensual validation.
Much like parental attachment, romantic partners try to maintain regular proximity to each other,
seek each other out for comfort, and use one another as a “secure base.” Extended separation is
distressful and the loss of the person is deeply painful. Attachment styles between loves have been
found to resemble parent-child attachment styles and may be based on earlier attachments to
parents. Attachments may be more likely to develop in emerging adulthood.
Bradford Brown proposed a model of adolescent love recognizing the role played by peers and