Emotion and Aging by Carstensen

By Carstensen

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In essence, standards guide us in how we should be governing our lives with respect to our relationships to one another and to the world. The long-standing belief held by many men has been that a woman belongs at home and should be present with the family and that a man’s job is to serve as the breadwinner. This standard is one that has caused a great deal of dissension in relationships, particularly in contemporary society. Consequently, an individual who holds standards about boundaries or roles in marriages and families may be expected to evaluate events in terms of these standards.

This concept focuses on how couples and family members deal with each other and how that is reflected in their attachment history. Attachment theory can be traced to the pioneering studies of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Bowlby (1979) believed that human attachment patterns noted in infant–caregiver interactions went on to play a vital role in human development “from the cradle to the grave” (p. 129). Bowlby (1979) was also the first to discuss individual differences in attachment system functioning in the context of romantic and marital relationships.

Ken, however, wanted more from Jenna and would become frustrated with her. Jenna also stated that, during their lovemaking, they were able to have sexual relations and be intimate to a point, but it was short lived because Jenna felt guarded about getting too deeply “into it” with Ken. Despite all of the difficulties that she described to me, Jenna said that she loved Ken very much and felt that he was the first person she had ever wanted to marry. However, although they were engaged, they both worried about Jenna’s ever being able to loosen up enough emotionally to fully engage in a lasting intimate relationship.

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Emotion and Aging by Carstensen
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