The influence of culture on romantic relationships

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The influence of culture on romantic relationships

Relationships in Western and Non-Western cultures differ greatly due to whether they are voluntary or not and the values they base in the relationship.

In Western cultures people typically choose their own partners on the basis of romantic attraction and individual choice. This is usually before making the decisions such as living together or making long term commitments like marriage. Some may even live together without getting married and the rate of marriages in western cultures has steadily decreased. Furthermore, due to greater social mobility, western cultures are characterised by a greater pool of potential relationships and choice. Western cultures also place a greater importance on the rights and freedoms of the individual and are seen as ‘individualistic’ as they focus on the individual making their own choices.  Therefore, relationships are seen as voluntary by those involved.

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In non-western cultures the groups tend to be the main unit of concern and these are known as ‘collectivist’ cultures. Here individuals are encouraged to be interdependent whereas individualistic in western cultures may promote freedom of choice in relationships. Collectivist cultures greatly shape relationships through family, group or community. Here relationships may in tern be involuntary in many cases where arranged marriages are factored in. With arranged marriages, parents play a significant role in who their children marry. This is based on the assumption that marrying on love would be a disaster and parents know best for their children. This ...

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