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Love Around Us

The Role of Love in Education, Parenting, and Romantic Relationships

Edited By Kaarina Määttä and Satu Uusiautti

Love is the most important resource of every human being’s life. The authors examine what kind of roles love might have in different phases of life. They discuss how love makes life more meaningful and enjoyable. However, there are still love-related themes that are not so easy to discuss or accept. This book provides research-based analyses about the different roles of love including forms that have aroused contradictory feelings and prejudices, such as falling in love in the old age and love in people with intellectual disability are discussed. The book serves as a textbook for studies in psychology, education, and other fields in human sciences.

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Chapter 8. Falling in Love in Later Life (Kaarina Määttä / Satu Uusiautti)

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Kaarina Määttä & Satu Uusiautti

Chapter 8 Falling in Love in Later Life

Abstract: How does falling in love in later life appear to seniors themselves? Seniors’ stories showed that despite their age, love is a crucial part of successful aging. But old taboos may hinder this pursuit of good life.

Introduction

Falling in love in senior age arouses contradictory feelings not just among the lovers themselves but especially among their friends, relatives, and families. Even though we want to consider later life as a peaceful phase filled with love, we may still set some limits for what we perceive as suitable love (Watson, Bell, & Stelle, 2010). While falling in love is seen natural among the young, attitudes and prejudices toward seniors’ love life are surprisingly strict (Pecchioni & Croghan, 2002). Similarly, seniors’ sexuality is a topic that can be considered a taboo—yet a topic that should be more openly addressed (Davis, 2012).

Aging is fundamentally social: the society defines who and at what age people are considered as senior citizens, aged, or old. On the other hand, people create their self-image according to the one that others’ have about them. Seniors notice that they are old based on other people’s words, suggestions, and behavior without having experienced any major personal changes (Rothermund & Branstädter, 2003; Ron 2007; Sherrard, 2008). In their hearts, they might object this label (Thompson, 1992).

The...

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