What do today's young people think is important in their relationships?
Romantic love, say three CLA sociologists writing in the August 2009 Journal of Marriage and Family--as well as other traditional values like faithfulness and commitment. This is the case, they assure us, despite the prevalence of cohabitation, divorce, and debates about same-sex marriage.
In their survey of 18- to 28-year olds, Professors Ann Meier and Kathleen Hull and Ph.D. candidate Timothy Ortyl did find modest but significant differences between men and women, however. Straight women valued faithfulness and lifelong commitment more than straight men did. And gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals had relationship values similar to those of heterosexual men.
"The pervasiveness of the romantic love ideal across gender and sexual identity groups," says Ortyl, "really speaks to how culturally ingrained it is."