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A Study of Men and Women from Different Sides of Earth to Determine If Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus in Their Beliefs About Love and Romantic Relationships

Abstract

This study contributes to the literature on gender differences (and similarities) in relationship beliefs by comparing men and women on several relationship beliefs, by comparing men and women from two different cultures (North America and China), and also by examining gender differences in more than 1 subculture within the American sample. In the American sample (n = 693; 73.3% White, 11.7% Black, 8.5% Hispanic/Latino; 80% of middle or higher social class), men, as compared to women, were more willing to marry without love, scored higher on the idealization component of a romanticism scale, were more ludic and agapic but less erotic and pragmatic in their love styles, and were less likely to view emotional satisfaction as important to the maintenance of marriage. Although men were also more agapic than women in the Chinese sample (n = 735; Asian ethnicity), the other gender differences found in the Chinese sample were different from those found in the North American sample: Chinese men were more romantic (particularly in the belief that love can overcome any obstacle) and storgic than Chinese women, but less likely to believe in destiny or fate concerning love. Chinese men were also more likely than Chinese women to view physical pleasure as important for maintaining marriage. Overall, culture explained more variance than did gender in love beliefs. In general, the Chinese had both a more idealistic and a more practical approach to love than did the Americans. Gender differences and similarities did not vary across subcultures within the American culture, although main effects for race/ethnicity and social class were found for a few relationship beliefs.

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Sprecher, S., Toro-Morn, M. A Study of Men and Women from Different Sides of Earth to Determine If Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus in Their Beliefs About Love and Romantic Relationships. Sex Roles 46, 131–147 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1019780801500

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1019780801500

  • love
  • romantic beliefs
  • cross-cultural differences