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D. Do You Believe in One True Love?

Narrator: This is Science Today. Are you a hopeless romantic who believes in that one true love? Well, a University of California, Berkeley sociologist says having such a belief may provide the basis for a permanent commitment in marriage. According to Anne Swidler, having an attachment to the idea that there really is one true love may help reconcile two very contradictory lines of thought in romantic relationships.

Swidler: We want to have our love relationships be freely chosen. We want to commit ourselves as an expression of our pure desires. And we want our relationships to last forever.

Narrator: But Swidler says the freedom to choose and the commitment that lasts forever are in principle, potentially contradictory things.

Swidler: In a sense, our attachment to the idea that there really is one true love - you need an idea like that in order to believe that you could make a completely free choice that really would endure forever.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.