Inspired living

The role of passion in relationships

Couple Kissing Gently while Enjoying a glass of Wine


Monogamous relationships are one of the characteristics of modern human relationships.

However, one of the problems inherent in monogamous relationships is the conflict between staying with one partner and seeking another attractive partner. This is known as the commitment problem.

The problems lies in not knowing if your partner wants to stay with you even if you are committed to the relationship and this can make continued commitment difficult for both parties.

The solution to this problem lies in passion according to a previous research – an emotion which binds individuals to another person and to remains exclusively committed to that person.

The results showed that statistically Americans are more passionate than the Japanese and it can be explained by the relations mobility of the society they lived in.

Thus when an individual recognises passion in their partner they are more likely to stay committed to that relationship.

But is being passionate influenced by the society we live?

Researchers from Hokkaido University hypothesised that passion is an adaptive emotion which serves to bond two individuals and would be more prevalent in societies that have the freedom to choose and replace their partners easily.

For this study, the researchers conducted a comparative analysis of Americans living in a society with greater freedom to choose and replace partners ( high relational mobility) and Japanese living in a society where relationships tend to be more stable and hard to change (low relational mobility).

The researchers surveyed 154 heterosexual Americans which comprised of 78 men and 76 women, and 103 heterosexual Japanese people composing of 65 men and 38 women). They were recruited through online crowdsourcing.

Participants also completed the 15-item Passionate Love Scale to measure the intensity of passion they felt toward their current partner.

The researchers then asked the participants how likely they would be to adopt various commitment behaviours when forming a relationship with a specific mate.

They were presented with six commitment behaviours.

The participants were asked to evaluate the likelihood that they would adopt each behaviour when trying to establish a romantic relationship with a target person.

All participants rated six items to address their perception of relation mobility of people around them.

The results showed that statistically Americans are more passionate than the Japanese and it can be explained by the relations mobility of the society they lived in.

The more passionate a person is was the more likely they were to lavish attention and affection on their partner while ignoring other potential partners.

This study highlights the differences in adaptive behaviours in two opposing societies.

When there is greater freedom for people to choose and replace their partners, people are exposed to the risk of losing their partners to someone else or cheating. As a result it prompts them to be more passionate towards their partner which implies a strategic kind of behaviour while they proactively ignore potential partners to assure the current partner.

It’s important for humans to win and keep a good mating partner which is a basic adaptive issue.

That’s why you should be more passionate towards your partner and give them more attention as they have a greater freedom to choose. After all long-lived relationships are good for your health and wellbeing.

Source: Evolutionary Psychology


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!