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Stories We Love By

1. Addiction. Partners show clinging behavior and anxiety about losing one another. In some relationships, one partner is a codependent, living off the other’s addiction. (Heath Ledger and jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain.)

2. Art. Partners are loved for their physical attractiveness. Typically, one partner is the admirer and the other is admired.

3. Business. A relationship is a business proposition. The partners are usually in the business together, but it is also possible for one partner to be “selling” himself or herself to the other. (Jennifer Hudson and Jamie Foxx, her manager, in Dreamgirls.)

4. Collection. Partners are viewed in a detached way, as fitting into some overall scheme. In most cases, one partner is the collector and the other is an object in his or her collection. (Michael Caine/Jude Law in Alfie.)

5. Cookbook. If you follow a succession of recipe-like steps, a relationship is sure to succeed. (Bill Murray and his countless attempts to “get it right” with Andie MacDowell in Groundhog Day.)

6. Fantasy. You expect to be saved by a knight in shining armor or marry a princess and live happily ever after. The knight or prince tends to serve the princess. (Good-hearted working girl Julia Roberts and super-rich Richard Gere in Pretty Woman.)

7. Game. Love is a game or sport. The two partners may both be players, or one may be unwittingly drawn into the other’s game.

8. Gardening. Relationships must be constantly nurtured. If partners “water” their garden—tend to each other carefully—the relationship will succeed.

9. Government. (a) Autocratic. One partner dominates or even controls the other. (b) Democratic. Two partners share power equally.

10. History. Events in a relationship form an indelible record. Great importance is accorded to genealogies, family trees, photo albums, diaries, and the like—anything that puts the relationship into a historical context.

11. Horror. Terror makes relationships interesting. One partner terrorizes; the other is terrorized. (Diane Keaton toward her lovers in Looking for Mr. Goodbar.)

12. House and Home. The core of a relationship is the home, which merits more attention than one’s partner does.

13. Humor. Love is funny and strange. One or both partners joke a lot about the relationship, even if they take it quite seriously. (Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Annie Hall.)

14. Mystery. Love is a mystery. Typically, one person is the detective trying to unravel the mystery presented by the other.

15. Police. You need to keep your partner under surveillance to make sure he or she behaves, or your partner needs to keep you under surveillance. One partner is the police officer; the other, the suspect.

16. Pornography. Love is dirty, and to love is to degrade or be degraded. One partner typically views the other in pornographic terms.

17. Recovery. After the trauma of the past, you can get through practically anything. One person helps the other recover from a past event. (Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle.)

18. Religion. Either love is a set of feelings and activities dictated by religion or love itself is a religion. Either one person is the other’s god or goddess, or both partners are supposed to defer to a higher power. (Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis and Debra Winger as Joy Gresham in Shadowlands.)

19. Sacrifice. To love is to sacrifice one’s own interests for those of one’s partner. (Humphrey Bogart toward Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman toward Paul Henreid, in Casablanca.)

20. Science. Love can be understood, analyzed, and dissected, just like any other natural phenomenon. One partner is the scientist; the other, the studied object.

21. Science Fiction. One partner views the other as an alien—incomprehensible and very strange.

22. Sewing. Love is whatever you make it. Partners stitch away at the relationship, fashioning it according to their own particular design.

23. Theater. Love is scripted, with predictable acts, scenes, and lines. Both partners may be acting, but typically one partner puts on an act for the other. (Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.)

24. Travel. Love is a journey. The two partners travel together through time and space, hoping to stay on the same path.

25. War. Love is a never-ending series of battles. The partners may both be willing combatants, or one may be unwilling. (Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, tussling in It Happened One Night.)

26. Student-teacher. Love is a relationship between experienced and inexperienced parties. One partner teaches the other, although the roles may sometimes reverse. (Salma Hayek as artist Frida Kahlo and Alfred Molina as her mentor and lover Diego Rivera in Frida.)

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