"I love you much too much, I've known it from the start, but yet my love is such, I can't control my heart" Alma Cogann
"Too much of a good thing is wonderful." Mae West
Love is morally desirable as it entails profound care for another person. It is hard to see how such positive care can be criticized. Nevertheless, people do criticize lovers and especially those whose love appears to be excessive. Can one tell one's beloved that he loves her too much?
Romantic love is described in idealistic terms as something huge, uncompromising, and without limitations. Statements like "The world has changed, everything is different now," "Loving him is wonderful; my whole being expands into unprecedented realms," "I am surrounded by nothing but you" are common among lovers. If "All you need is love," and "You are everything I need," then it is difficult to see how love can be criticized as being excessive.
There is indeed a view claiming that unlike other emotions, love cannot be criticized since it consists of disinterested care for the beloved, which involves promoting only her well-being. According to this view, the value of love is not determined, or at least not entirely determined, by its practical value as a means to achieve certain of the lover's ends; rather, it focuses upon the well-being of the beloved. Accordingly, we would not usually criticize a person who is deeply and happily in love with someone just because we think he could have found a better partner.
However, even if love were concerned solely with disinterested care for the beloved (and this is not obviously so), there is still the question of what constitutes proper caring. Love is not a merely theoretical attitude; it has profound behavioral implications for our life. And if such behavior becomes improper, then the issue of whether one can love too much might arise (contrary to the above view).
Emotions might be harmful when they are excessive. Emotional excess is harmful for the same reasons that other kinds of excess are harmful. As in other emotions, excessiveness in love can impede the lover from seeing a broader perspective. Even normal cases of romantic love tend to create a narrow temporal perspective that focuses on the beloved and is often oblivious to other considerations. Accordingly, it has been argued that it is impossible to love and be wise and that the true opposite of love is justice. Little wonder then that, as Stevie Wonder puts it, "All in love is fair."
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