Ted Fischer
Professor of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University
01:41

Love Is Hard Work

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The Vanderbilt anthropologist describes how ultimately chemistry might fade. But when that happens, compromises can keep a relationship going.

Ted Fischer

Edward (Ted) Fischer is the Director of Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University.

Fischer studies cultural anthropology, specializing in matters of economics and moralities. Most of his fieldwork has been in Guatemala (with the Maya) but he has also worked in and written on Germany and the United States. His books include “Cultural Logics and Global Economies,” “Maya Cultural Activism,” and “Broccoli and Desire.” With Peter Benson he is now working on a project titled “Markets and Moralities.” He also has a video series out from The Teaching Co. titled “Peoples and Cultures of the World.”

He received his PhD, in anthropology at Tulane University and his undergraduate degree from University of Alabama at Birmingham after studying at Birmingham-Southern College.

Transcript

Question: What happens over time to a relationship?

Ted Fischer: I hope my wife doesn’t see this, but I -- there is some sort of chemistry with other individuals, of course, but again, I think, it’s not something fate puts upon us.  We create that.  We may be at a certain point in our lives where we really want to fall in love even if we don’t consciously realize that.  There are certainly fits that are better than others and some people like to partner with people who they fight with.  Some people like to partner with people who they never fight with.  There are all sorts of variations.  So I think there are better fits than others.  And sometimes people fall in love at first sight and marry, and make it work, and it works wonderfully.  But I don’t think it has to be that way.  I think that we can, again going back to this notion of that we make love, we make what we consider to be love as a society, but also as individuals, and we can make it work.  And in fact, I would say, I don’t know, I’m sort of going out on a limb here, but I would say that sort of the high divorce rate now and the transients of marriage or not even of marriage, long-term partnerships is partly due to where overly romantic notions of what love should be like.  Yeah, there are these moments of euphoria and hopefully they last longer than not.  But love is also really hard work.  It’s compromising.  It is creating this life together with another person.


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