Playfulness And Love, The Key To A Strong Relationship?

Relationships, love and the key to a long term happy relationship- what would we do to figure it all out? Luckily there are scientists who are asking the same question. The science of the mind, love and how our actions affect our relationships shows that playfulness contributes to a well- functioning happy relationship.

A study conducted on 77 couples in love showed that what was previously thought to be one personality trait dubbed ‘ludus’ by John Lee in 1993, is actually two. Ludos, meaning the playfulness associated with the ‘game of love’ came from Lee’s typology of loving, and is one of many traits he thought was important in a romantic relationship.

These included eros meaning looking for someone who looks like what you dreamed they would look like. Storge is the search for a long term partner and slowly developing feelings. Agape refers to how good a fit the other person is with their education, job, religion and age and Mania includes the intense feelings like jealousy, obsessiveness and the need of reassurance of being loved.

In the past, the ludic lover has been linked to some rather dishonorable traits such as secrecy, dishonesty, selfishness, danger, and immaturity as shown in a study by Taraban and Hendrick (1995). But it is about time the trait of playfulness moved into the 21st century.

The playful lover is, in fact, different to the ludic lover. Rather than only being concerned with their own satisfaction and happiness, the playful lover uses their playful trait to ‘support and strengthen their relationship.’

Anne and Wong (2002) suggest that partners in romantic relationships use play and playfulness to enhance relationship satisfaction in contrast to those oriented toward ludus who prefer multiple partners, short relationship interest and a non- commitment attitude to relationships.

So what are desirable traits in a partner and how does being playful help?

Chick (2001) proposed that playfulness in men was a sign of non aggressive behaviour when they search for a life partner and at the same time, signaled health in women. By far these traits are more desirable in a potential partner than the partners who look for short term, no commitment relationships.

Written by Rachael Mole, who can be found as @rachaelmole on Instagram

Reference- American Journal of Play, Spring 2018, Vol.10 Issue 3, p265-289. 25p.