Seven years ago I co-edited a book, The New Psychology of Love, which presented diverse perspectives on the nature of love. The authors of the various book chapters discussed their research about, and perspectives, on love. But the target reader of the book was scholars and graduate students. Undergraduates and laypeople probably would have had difficulty following some of the text.
Love, however, is a topic that is of interest to everyone, not just graduate students and scholars. In fact, there are very few, if any people in the world whose lives haven’t been touched by love in one way or another. Love is what potentially makes our life so happy and special. And love also can make our life painful and even drive us into desperation. There are lots of self-help books on the market that claim to help people find their true love and fulfillment. Sometimes the books seem to imply that love just never could be found without the strategies suggested in the particular book.
What many people do not realize, however, is that love is a topic of serious psychological research. You do not have to go to self-help books with made-up facts to improve your love life. You instead can rely on solid psychological research. I was thrilled to be asked to write a book on love for the Psychology 101 series because this invitation presented me with an opportunity to present some of the theory and empirical research on love that has been offered in psychology.
This book gives readers of all backgrounds and educational backgrounds entertaining and easy-to-read insights into the latest theories on why we fall in love and who we are likely to fall in love with. It explores whether there are cultural differences in love and whether there are different kinds of love, thereby giving rise to the possibility that you can be in love with two different people at the same time. I also explore topics, like online dating, that just recently have become salient. Does online dating really somehow level the playing field? Does it really let people have their personalities shine through before they present their physical selves to their potential future partners? Or does it result in people selling each other a less than honest bill of goods? I conclude the book with a question and answer chapter that explains some of the most common questions people ask psychologists about love. I hope you’ll have as much fun reading the book as I had writing it, and that it will enrich your life in ways you couldn’t even have imagined before.