Darling, Are You Proud of Me?

Do you realize that you should be proud of me?

Posted Jan 29, 2010

"It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than to lose that someone you love with your useless pride." Unknown
"Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man." C. S. Lewis
"When you're as great as I am, it's hard to be humble." Muhammad Ali

What is the connection between romantic love and pride? It seems that although not all instances of pride involve love, basically all instances of romantic love involve pride. The nature and profoundness of love is expressed in the nature and profoundness of pride. Lovers are very proud of their beloved.

The relationship between love and jealousy is somewhat similar, but is manifested in a negative way. Jealousy does not necessarily involve love, but genuine romantic love may give rise to jealousy.

We can distinguish between pridefulness, which is the emotion resulting from the belief that one is a superior and better person, and pride, which is the emotion arising from the belief that one has done a good thing. Whereas pridefulness has a negative impact upon romantic relationship, pride is an important and often useful part of it. Pride of your lover is of greater moral value than pride in yourself as it is directed at another person.

Two major elements are essential to pride: (a) Evaluating something as positive, and (b) Considering oneself as somehow connected to that positive thing. Pride is a function of both elements, the positive evaluation of that thing and the connection to it, and an increase in one can compensate for a lower degree of the other. The complete absence of one of these two elements usually eliminates pride.

We are more proud of a successful event for which we are responsible than of a successful event that occurred through pure luck. Thus, a disabled person might be proud of managing to perform an action that many able-bodied people can do with ease. In this case, the pride comes not so much from performing the action per se, but from overcoming a personal handicap.

The connection to oneself can be of various types: one such type is when I am responsible for the event; another is when I am associated with a person who is a celebrity or is very prominent. The type of connection may sometimes be somewhat peculiar. Thus, one can be proud of being born in the same town as a famous politician. (I know of someone who even took pride in telling everyone that once he and the Defense Minister had urinated at the same time in a public toilet.)

Genuine lovers are proud of their beloveds as they evaluate their characteristics in a very positive manner and consider themselves to be very connected to the beloved. Consider the following comment that Alex, a married man, made about his lover: "I would like everybody to know what a treasure I own. I am so in love, I am so proud, I am so immensely happy, because she is my wonderful love." The following statement by a man who killed his wife (he claims that he did so out of love) illustrates a similar attitude: "I wanted to show that in love, I was more than Romeo and Juliet. That isn't love for me. Love is something that didn't exist before, that no one ever did before." (see here)

Lovers often feel proud when they see their beloved in action. One man said, "I am so proud of my partner when we are at receptions together; many men are around her wishing to make love to her. But as I know that she loves only me, all their attempts are sure to be futile." Similarly, a married woman said, "If anyone ogles my hubby, I would be so proud and although I might feel a slight pang of jealousy, I would find it funny (it means I have something worth having, like a Prada handbag)." Another married woman who has an older lover said, "I would be so proud to show him off on my arm in public; although some people might turn their heads in surprise, I am pursuing intelligence rather than looks and am so proud of him."

In having an attractive wife, men often feel as if they have overtaken other people in the race for a better social status; hence, such wives are regarded as "Trophy wives." (Generally, acquiring an attractive mate enhances a man's status more than a woman's.) Such men do not necessarily love their women, but often consider them to be a mean to enhance their selfish ego.

The nature of pride in one's partner can reveal a lot about the nature of romantic love between the two lovers. If the pride is merely in our partner's external appearance, so also is the nature of our love toward that partner-it is merely that of attractiveness with no positive evaluation of her other characteristics. A lack of pride in our partner might indicate either our lack of positive evaluation of our partner or that we lack a feeling of closeness with that partner.

As the nature of love can change as the romantic relationship continues, so the nature of pride toward the partner might change. In any case, pride in our partner can be quite a useful litmus paper for examining the nature of love. It is worth doing the test.

The above considerations can be encapsulated in the following statement that a lover might express: "Darling, are you proud when you look at me while I am sleeping? Do you see a great similarity between me and Angelina Jolie? Do you realize, my love, that you should be proud of me, as no other man has the good fortune to sleep beside such a beautiful woman?"