Monitoring Your Spouse and Sternberg’s Love Story Theory
Robert Sternberg proposed a new theory of love (another for him) in 1999 when he wrote Love is a Story. This new theory asserts that people try to fulfill the roles in stories. There are 26 of these stories. Success in life and love depends on finding an individual to fulfill that role; obviously, a successful relationship is not found by forcing role fulfillment on a man or woman. I will delve into my praise and criticism of Sternberg’s theory another time, as for now I would like to show how one of the stories plays out in modern times with controlling partners, modern technology, and new marital arrangements.
It is becoming ever more advised that romantic partners actively and openly monitor one another, although many specifically try to fulfill the Police story, in which one individual is the Officer, and the other is the Suspect. One partner is the authoritative figure, always vigilant, looking for relationship infractions. The other is the suspect, constantly under the scrutiny of being a relationship criminal.
The following is an adaptation from Love Is A Story, by Robert J. Sternberg
1.I believe that you need to keep a close eye on your partner.
2.I believe it is foolish to trust your partner completely.
3.I would never trust my partner to work closely with a person of the opposite sex.
1.My partner often calls me several times a day to ask exactly what I am doing.
2.My partner needs to know everything that I do.
3.My partner gets very upset if I don’t let him or her know exactly where I have been.
I bring this up because of the aforementioned urge of society to constantly be on-guard, ensuring that a partner walks a straight line. The Police story is one of the least successful marital Love Stories, concerning relationship fulfillment and length. I advise individuals that operating in this mindset takes them out of the role of The Lover, and puts them into a Batman-like role. Keep in mind that any energy spent towards one role is unavailable to be spent on others, that is, less energy is available to nurture a romantic relationship. There are some issues that come with the Police role, they are:
Operating in this mindset feeds on itself, as this individual remains ever-vigilant, guarding against the marital affair. The problem is that truly harmless actions or intent receive scrutiny and invalidation. The Suspect is ultimately handicapped, because of the Policeman’s paranoia. This comes to my thoughts on what to do instead. Well, we have to highlight the obvious truth: any person is capable of cheating, and hiding it well. We are now in an age of incredible technology. This technology increases the ability to spy on one’s partner (again at the cost of continued paranoia) but also the increased ability to cover one’s tracks. Just look at the TSA’s 95% failure rate (1), when a secretive test was performed to see how many banned weapons the undercover agents could get through security. The specific individuals tasked to discover and remove harmful weapons, like grenades, from being able to be taken onto planes are those that had a 95% failure rate.
The purpose of life is to reach ultimate fulfillment, that is, incredible happiness. We don’t get to that point by allowing ourselves to remain indoctrinated, making us play out self-defeating relationship roles. Even if a Policeman found a willing Suspect, both individuals are still deprived the passionate and intimate romantic love that several of these love stories bring with them. Individuals are well-advised to choose their characters wisely (see Archetypes, Masks, Characters chapter of The Fire of Knowledge). The characters or roles come with certain feelings and receptions by others. We can use our active imagination to make appropriate choice and usage of them so as to bring about successful romantic relationships, for our partner’s benefit AND ours. Just imagine the facial expressions and inherent feelings of both the Policeman and the Suspect. Can you even imagine a smile on their faces? Does this visualization represent romance or love? Does this seem like an ideal marital arrangement, one that will endure the coming decades? No.
Whatever you do, don’t actively spy on your partner; it just isn’t worth it, for you or them. Instead, you are advised to invest actively love into your relationship. I understand the urge to eliminate any relationship crime from occurring, but the Police are there for capture and punishment. If you want an affair-proof relationship, then create a passionate, romantic and intimate environment inclusive of trust. The affair-proof relationship is not one in which partners are physically unable to cheat, but more physically capable to do so but choose not to. In fact, I would rather be in a relationship in which my partner can cheat, but doesn’t even imagine doing so. The alternative is being in this Police-Suspect relationship in which the Suspect dreams of being free, trusted, loved and respected. That arrangement increases the desire to commit adultery.
Thank You For Reading,
Relationship Teacher – Anthony John Bartlett