The notion of "the perfect partner" is central to our perception of romantic love. What do you do when your partner is not perfect? I examine this issue by referring to three major types of romantic compromises and illustrate their presence in the actual, true story of Anna.
The feeling of being romantically compromised is common to many people, but the issue of what to do in this situation is unclear. I distinguish here between two major types of romantic compromises—one concerns the overall value of the partner, and one the nature of love—and then discuss types of behavior typical to each of them.
In some cases blocking the wish to be with one's lover can greatly increase your own desirability. Two ways of doing this are "Playing hard to get" and "The 'in due course' policy." In both cases, the advice of "Don't block everything and don't give everything" is sound.
Our extensive use of imagination raises interesting questions concerning its morality. If imagination were in no sense real to us, it would hardly be improper to imagine improper deeds. Imagination, however, is powerful precisely because it is considered to be in some sense real.
If a married woman is having an affair, how should she react upon finding that her lover is having another affair? Should she continue the relationship with her lover and in so in what conditions? The story of Yael may clarify the romantic complexity of this situation.
Devotion to someone we love is an essential virtue in romantic relationships. But can we say that all kinds of devotion are positive? I believe that one does not want to be hopelessly devoted to any person.
Unrequited love is one of the saddest loving experiences. However, some people prefer it over a complete lack of love. Consider two situations: (a) you are in love with your partner but the partner does not love you (as much), or (b) your partner is in love with you but you are not in love (as much) with the partner. Which option will you choose?
Relevance is a key factor underlying the intensity of our emotions. Something which is relevant to our self-esteem generates intense emotions. Relevance is also important in romantic love. The issue of whether partners consider each other to be relevant to their self-esteem and goals is significant in falling in love and in maintaining it.
People want to know more about their online lovers. However, one of the seductive characteristics of the net is that you have less information about each other. Should then lovers replace online communication with regular offline communication? The answer is no.
Ideals have an important function in our life—they inspire us to improve our situation. But often these ideals are merely unattainable: far beyond our capabilities and often lacking in practicality. What should we do when we cannot find the ideal love we have been dreaming of for most of our lives?
Love is discriminatory in the sense that it focuses on one object. However, people have a natural tendency to keep their romantic (and other) options open. Can these two seemingly contradictory features coexist? Can we love while leaving our romantic doors open?
A promise is a kind of declaration in which you say that you will do or refrain from doing something in the future. Can we predict the future?Is it proper to make romantic promises? Can we promise to love each other for the rest of our life? Can we promise to be faithful?
Can money buy us love? It seems that there is no simple answer to this question. If love is like religion, then it cannot be bought nor can it be negotiated. If romantic interaction is similar to a commercial transaction, then love can be bought and can be negotiated (and compromised). Love seems to be similar to both, but identical to neither.
Love is often considered to be the most profound expression of freedom-you let your heart lead the way to what you really want. But often love is considered to be a kind of restrictive chain that prevents you from doing what you really want to do. Why should someone want to be unchained from love, the greatest pleasure on earth?
Romantic compromises involve dissatisfaction from the present, persistent hope for having a better alternative and fear for taking the steps for fulfilling this hope. Can people cope with such a complex mixture?
The cyberspace era could be considered as the best and worst of times for lovers. This is indeed both a happy and a difficult time for lovers-happy in that available, willing potential lovers are all around; difficult in that maintaining a loving committed relationship is harder than before as alternative romantic options are easier to explore and to realize.
Happy-for is an emotion that describes the state of happiness we feel for someone else when they achieve a success. Does such an emotion exist at all? Does my partner's success make me feel happy or does it upset me? Sadly enough, the latter is often the case among people in general and couples as well.
Disgust is a strong sense of aversion to something that we perceive as capable of contaminating us: either in physical terms, referring to bodily infection, or in more symbolic terms, referring to violating the boundaries of the self. In light of its intense negativity, disgust cannot be part of love.
In most circumstances, it is unpleasant to be considered second best; in romantic relationship it is even more devastating. Given that we all know that it is often so hard to attain the ideal, why is it so difficult to be considered second best? Why are we so frustrated by a partner that we consider to be a second best choice?
What does it mean not to get enough of the beloved? Does it mean that the relationship entails a scarcity of love or an abundance of love? And if the latter, how can the spring of love be endless?
Romantic behavior sometimes involves actions that generate negative consequences. Two major means for defending such wrong deeds are excuses and considering the action to be a compromise. I examine these by considering two types of circumstances: The extramarital affair and marrying without love.
Many love songs speak about the lover's wish to be with the beloved "always" or "all the time." This wish can express two different desires: (a) wanting to be with the beloved for the rest of one's life, and (b) wanting to be with the beloved every day as much as possible. The second wish, which underlies deep love, is more rare and profound.
It is easy to understand why someone who doesn't love another person might break the heart of this person-when we do not love those who love us, we are likely to hurt them. However, the above song refers to hurting the one we do love. How can one both love and hurt the same person?
The egalitarian claim that it is desirable for everyone to have the same as other people (in terms of opportunities, money, and other goods) is central to our notion of morality. In my view, in the romantic realm the value of this claim is questionable. We should speak about a good enough partner, rather than the perfect person.
The need for sacrifices and compromises is often mentioned in discussions of romantic relationships. Are the two the same and if not, which of the two is most needed in romantic relationships? According to Romantic Ideology, love is frequently described as involving sacrifices and resisting compromises. In reality, the situation is typically the opposite-relationships require fewer sacrifices and more compromises.
Romantic love is not egalitarian; rather, it is discriminatory because it entails the following aspects: (a) the beloved is accorded a unique status, and (b) certain people, such as the handsome and the rich, who enjoy a privileged status. Cyberspace is more egalitarian in both senses; it enables each person to maintain several relationships at the same time and it reduces the advantages of the handsome and the rich.