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SINGLE & FULL: Living a fulfilled life while being single (thumbnail)The factor that determines whether romantic love exists and is valued is women’s sexual freedom.

Let me break it down for you. Cultures that allow premarital sex and female choice in partner selection (rather than the sexual double standard and arranged marriages) place a high value on the importance of romantic love. So say the authors of a recent study in the journal Cross-Cultural Research.

In the study, the authors used a well-known scale to measure romantic love and then compared it to various cultures. The scale looks at love as a system of factors that include the idealization of the potential spouse, especially a spouse with little resources, loyalty to a mate, the absence of arranged marriages, non-obligated gift giving, spare time spent together, a belief that partners are predestined to be together, happiness linked to attachments. In the study, when cultures controlled women’s sexuality, these behaviors and feelings were less common. Female choice is key.

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