Life worth living: learning about love, life and future with Colombo University students.
Sirisena, Rasika Mihirini
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This thesis focuses on the course through which romantic relationships gain meaning in the lives of students at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Drawing from research conducted with some students from the university in 2007/08, the thesis illustrates the process of investing in relationships, arguing that romantic relationships feature significantly in their imagination of 'a life that is worthy of living.' The story that is related in this thesis demonstrates that, in the lives of the research participants, romantic relationships provide a cocoon for self-development. Arising out of a need that they described as youthful, the research participants pointed out that romantic relationships are all but a passing phase. While providing a space in which one could fulfil their youthful desires, romantic relationships became a part of the larger plan of life by paving the way for the birth of 'real' love. Being a king of love that lasts, real love provides a formidable base for marital bonds. The stories the search participants told of their love lives suggested that 'real loves' are born when one invests oneself in it, pouring in time, effort, trust and commitment. It is the investment of trust and commitment that makes these bonds last, thus making it a kind of a bond on which a successful marriage could be founded. Investing in building trust and commitment is likened to investing oneself in the relationship, because in doing so, the research participants pointed out that they emerge as men and women of particular natures. The investment of oneself in the relationship is a process that revolves around giving and taking. Drawing out three aspects through which the research participants embedded themselves in romantic relationships, the thesis highlights the relational aspect of self, pointing out that one's life's worthiness could be tied to the people who are around them.