In UP, traditional love still rules
By Mariel Kierulf Asiddao-Philippine Daily Inquirer
WHILE V-Day for many is SAD (Single Awareness Day), don’t fret if you’re NBSB or NGSB (No Boyfriend Since Birth or No Girlfriend Since Birth); you are not alone.
In fact, if you are from UP, you are in the majority.
In a recent study done by the UP Communication Research Society about perceptions of, attitudes toward, and practices of romantic love among UP Diliman students, three out of four students identified themselves as single. Majority—41 percent, have never been in a relationship, while 36 percent are single but have been in a relationship.
The rest are in open or exclusive relationships, or engaged.
The survey, which sampled 312 students from 16 colleges within the university, can be generalized for the student population of UP Diliman, though further studies are encouraged in other colleges and universities to look at college students’ perceptions, attitudes and practices toward romance.
The respondents were asked to describe love using 15 pairs of words on a semantic differential scale. According to them, romantic love is attainable, fun and mature. However, it is not clear if one has to be mature to achieve it. Even then, while romantic love can be mature, it is not boring, but fun and enjoyable.
The survey looked at the students’ preferences in choosing a partner, and found out that respondents do not take physical appearance as the most important factor in a partner. Good moral character (remember GMRC in high school?) is at the top of the list, followed by personality and intelligence.
Gender or sexual orientation is also a top factor in partner preference, as is the family. A potential partner should have the makings of a good spouse as well as a good family background. The consent of each others’ families is also important.
Physical appearance is, of course, also important, though the respondents look at the overall appearance and not just attraction to a partner.
Results also show that students are more open to dating people outside their own social circles. Race is the least important factor, as well as the possibility that potential partners might come from other schools outside UP and from other nationalities. Political views and skin color, presumably because of race, also rank lowest.
Constant communication is the most important expression of love in relationships, according to the respondents. So, while people may be busy, it is important to keep in touch with each other. Respondents see their significant others also as confidants; sharing secrets is important in a relationship.
Celebrating special occasions together and going out on dates follow as important expressions of love in a relationship.
Meanwhile, displays of affection, sexually intimate acts and sexual intercourse rank lowest in expressions of love. While UP students are thought to be liberal, or more liberal than the average student, the study showed that they are still traditional in terms of relationships. They do not seem to give much importance to sexual intercourse.
Commitment, intimacy, passion
According to Robert Sternberg, the psychologist who developed the triangular theory of love, the three components of love are passion, commitment and intimacy. Among the three, commitment is seen by UP students as the most important element in relationships, specifically getting through relationship problems and making the relationship last.
Intimacy, or feelings of connectedness and closeness in relationships, is manifested through the experience of happiness when being with their significant other and receiving emotional support, as well as through complete and reciprocal trust.
The respondents ranked passion as the least important among the components of love. This refers to physical attraction and sexual consummation in relationships. Not surprising, as physical attributes and sexual intimacy do not rank as high in partner preferences and in expressions of love in the study. However, the nurturance aspect of passion is ranked high in importance, though this is nurturing in the emotional and not the physical sense.
As ‘nagmamahal’ and as ‘minamahal’
As giver of love, the respondents are most willing to give emotional support and trust to their significant others or would-be significant others. They are also willing to give affection as well as gifts to show their love.
Respondents are also willing to give academic support through helping with school work and projects, or even just encouragement from academic stress.
Meanwhile, they are least willing to give sex or sacrifice their virginity in a relationship. They are also not willing to give financial support to their current or would-be significant others.
As receiver of love, on the other hand, UP students expect in return what they would give to their partners or would-be partners. They expect to receive trust, emotional support and affection in return.
However, they do not expect sex from their partners and their partners’ virginity while in a romantic relationship. They also do not expect their partners to give them financial support, which can imply that UP students wish to have financial independence from their significant others.
The results of the study imply that, contrary to the widespread perception, UP students are still traditional in terms of relationships. While they can be liberal in terms of their views and opinions, relationships are still traditional to them. Sexual acts and sexual intimacy are not deemed as important to make relationships last.
UP students prefer what is within the person—his or her personality, character, intelligence—than what is outside, such as nationality, skin color and race. That means they are also more open to dating people outside their own social circles.