chapter  6
13 Pages

Loving him for who he is

The microsociology of power

This chapter develops an analytical framework that explains paradoxical claim in microsociological terms, taking the interactions in heterosexual couple relations as object of analysis. It focuses on the tension inherent in contemporary heterosexual love between, norms of equality and freedom of choice and persisting inequality. The chapter presents an assessment of Carin Holmberg's study on heterosexual coupledom, with a specific focus on her analysis of the couple interactions in terms of asymmetrical role-taking. It also develops a conceptualization of the link between gender identity and the gendered tendencies of loving, by examining the mediating role of expectations and gratitude and highlighting the importance of distinguishing between the subjective experience of love and the objective practice of love. The chapter shows how the tension between being 'loved' for conforming to femininity and being loved for one's own sake produces different kinds of risks and possibilities, depending on which strategy women choose as a means of satisfying their need for love.