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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Love relationships and gender differences over time Scicluna-Calleja, Alexandra


Research shows that the initial honeymoon phase of a marriage dissolves after some time and differences between the couple begin to hamper the harmony in the relationship. One of these differences is that attributed to gender. This study attempts to study these phases of the relationship. It approaches this issue from an inductive standpoint to counterbalance the deductive quality that pervades most literature in this field. A mixed qualitative and quantitative design was selected in a multiple case study format. An open style interview preceded and followed a Q-sorting exercise. Ten individuals (five couples) who have been married between five and ten years were studied. For several reasons, including the need to widen the cultural base of the research field, the study was conducted in Malta, a Mediterranean culture. The information provided by each participant (called coresearcher here to indicate the empowerment accorded to them in the research), was organized by re-casting it into a narrative form. The accuracy of the narrative was additionally validated by the respective co-researcher and an independent reviewer. The purpose was to construct individual and common stories of the marriage f r om the perspective of difference and harmony. Comparisons between individuals and gender revealed common factors, indicating the generic path of these relationships, and individual factors based on previous history, personality, gender and culture Individual life thanes, the dialectic pattern of relating, and phases i n the relationships were identified. Finally, the results were compared to previous research on love, relational development, gender differences, and attachment. The model of the dialectic was found to be a useful tool for understanding relationships and integrating research. Finally, the implications of this study on counselling, and possibilities for further research were discussed.

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