Research has shown that romantic love can be regulated. We investigated perceptions about love regulation, because these perceptions may impact mental health and influence love regulation application. Two-hundred eighty-six participants completed a series of items online via Qualtrics that assessed perceived ability to up- and down-regulate, exaggerate and suppress the expression of, and start and stop different love types. We also tested individual differences in perceived love regulation ability. Participants thought that they could up- but not down-regulate love in general and that they could up-regulate love in general more than down-regulate it. Participants thought that they could up-regulate infatuation less than attachment and sexual desire. Participants also thought that they could exaggerate and suppress expressions of infatuation, attachment, and sexual desire, but that they could not start and stop infatuation and attachment, or start sexual desire. The more participants habitually used cognitive reappraisal, the more they thought that they could up- and down-regulate infatuation and attachment and up-regulate sexual desire. The more participants were infatuated with their beloved, the more they thought that they could up- but not down-regulate infatuation, attachment, and sexual desire. Finally, participants thought that they could up- and down-regulate happiness more than infatuation. These findings are a first step toward the development of psychoeducation techniques to correct inaccurate love regulation perceptions, which may improve mental health and love regulation in daily life.
Surti K, Langeslag, S.J.E. (2019). Perceived ability to regulate love. PLOS ONE, 14(5), e0216523.