Home Couples & Family Psychology Developmental Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships–V. Exploring the Founding Story

Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships–V. Exploring the Founding Story

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This was a defining moment for these two lovers in 1948. Both George and Betty considered themselves to be a couple from this moment on. George began coming to dinner at Betty’s house every Sunday from then on, and they spent every evening together studying.

In the second half of their founding story, George and Betty reaffirm one another’s distinctive value. They both affirmed that they were “made for each other” and that no one else could have met their needs. This was the case for many of the couples we interviewed. From a less romantic perspective this seems patently absurd. There certainly are other people who can meet our needs. There is never just one person for us. Those of us who have been married twice or more, or who have had several successful intimate relationships in our lives know this to be the case, though it is often hard for us to remember that this is the case when an important relationship comes to an end. From a more romantic (and psychological) perspective, there is a very good reason to believe that there is only one person for us and that many years later we can’t even imagine living life without our partner. The reason for our sense of one person for us is that our relationship with this person has had a profound impact on our own sense of self and who we have become as mature adults. There truly is only one person for us, for we have become the person that we are today in part and, in some instances, in large part) because of this relationship.

Betty indicated that she would not have married if George didn’t want her. This probably would not have been the case Betty would have found someone else and would have looked back on her definitive statement about George as just a humorous and perhaps wistfully painful remembrance of her overly—dramatic youth. Yet, the Betty that exists today could not have married anyone other than George. She wouldn’t even exist today, with all of her distinctive characteristics, if it wasn’t for her relationship with George.

In this regard, the sense of fate that is central to many founding stories is quite understandable and points to the importance of these stories in defining not only the character of the couple, but also the character of each of partner. Clearly, the content of these stories tells us much about the nature of the couple’s commitments and interactions.

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