Fatal Attraction Defined
Psychology Of Interpersonal Behavior- Section 3110
Professor Dana Donohue
December 4, 2009
One of the reasons that so many marriages today end up in divorce today has to do with the interpersonal personal relationship principle known as fatal attraction. When most people think of fatal attraction, they right away think of the popular definition represented in the movie “Fatal Attraction”. This paper will define the principle of fatal attraction from an interpersonal relationship perspective. Along with a definition of fatal attraction, I will explore some of the causes of fatal attraction. I will discuss my experiences with fatal attractions. Peer reviewed articles together with my own personal experiences will be used to further expound on the definition of fatal attraction. I have illustrated the effect that fatal attraction has had on my own interpersonal relationship. I will also show how in a relationship other principles of interpersonal relationships are influenced by fatal attraction. This paper will also provide an example of how a fatal attraction can take an emotional and psychological toll not on a relationship but also in an individual.
Interpersonal Relationship Principle Of Fatal Attraction Defined From a psychological and sociological perspective, the term fatal attraction means something quite different than its’ pop culture definition. The psychological and sociological definition is when a quality that an individual comes to dislike in a partner is an exaggerated version of the same quality that was initially attractive. A fatal attraction occurs when an intimate partner is seen as having too much of an attractive quality. Fatal attractions are a common occurrence in intimate relationships. It is also a common cause of disenchantment in many relationships. In my 15-year marriage, both my ex-husband and myself had the misfortune of experiencing a fatal attraction. Upon first meeting my ex-husband, I could not help being attracted to his assertiveness. It wasn’t long after we were married that this quality that I was so attracted to morphed into stifling control. As for him, I think he liked my being naïve and somewhat needy, then disliked and even ended up resenting me for being unsophisticated and being too dependent on him. “Because of the problems differences pose for couples, romantic attractions to differences in a partner are expected to be particularly susceptible to fatal attrac-tions. An attraction to another can be "different" in two ways: (1) different from self (i.e., dissimilarity) or (2) different from average (i.e., unusual or extreme)” (Felmlee, 2001, p. 266). I found this to be a factor in my fatal attraction experience. The assertiveness that I was so attracted to in my ex-husband, I now see stemmed from my own low self-esteem and low self-regard. I found myself being so comforted by his having a plan for his life. As for him, I think that he too had some self-esteem issues. For a while, my interdependency on him allowed him to feel needed. That same high regard I had for him also bolstered his self-esteem. This attraction of opposites became very problematic in our relationship. It seems that upon us meeting our personality differences were the cement that bound us together, but as the relationship continued it became the foundation that all of our relationship dysfunctions grew from. “Differences between partners in demographic characteristics, personality, or attitudes are all likely to be associated with different preferences and values, which in turn may heighten the chances for disagreements and misunderstandings” (Femlee, 1998, p. 237). `One of the things that have learned from being in a relationship where for both of us fatal attraction was a factor, is that with the passing of time, these negative personality traits seemed to only breed more...