Romantic love is often characterized as involving a great deal of sensitivity, excitement, and closeness. However, our cyber society often provides an overabundance of these features. Hence, a few opposite principles are proposed: (a) Indifference is the new romantic sensitivity; (b) Calmness is the new romantic excitement; and (c) Distance is the new romantic closeness.
Hedonic adaptation and feeling dissatisfied are two major tendencies that prevent us from being too happy. Do they also prevent us from being too much in love? Are we doomed to fail in love, just as we are generally fated not to be very happy?
The right to love is considered to be an essential human right; however, one exception that often prevails is in cases of Alzheimer’s patients. The case of Henry Rayhons, who was charged with sexually abusing his wife Donna, is such a striking example; Can people who are unable to recognize their own children give their sound sexual consent?
Sensitivity is often praised as one of the most important pillars of a good romantic relationship. Although this is indeed the case, too much romantic sensitivity can overburden a relationship. How then can we find the optimal balance of sensitivity in the complex romantic realm?
Being physically close to your lover is central to romantic love. Indeed, temporal and geographical closeness typically increases emotional closeness, and this often makes distance seem intolerable. Some kind of distance, however, must remain even between two lovers. What is the nature of such distance, and is it indeed intolerable?
All human experiences, including romantic ones, can be boring. The remedy for boredom is often change and novelty. Should we then change our romantic partners in order to fan our romantic flames? Although change is indeed essential to emotional intensity, there are several types of changes, and emotional intensity is far from being the whole story when it comes to romance.
Curiosity is usually regarded as a virtue, since it widens our horizons and develops our capacities. However, our natural romantic curiosity is contrary to the natural need to deepen the romantic connection. Distinguishing between two types of romantic curiosity may solve this enigma.
Many people have claimed that timing is everything in life and love. I believe that timing, which is mainly a one-off task, is valuable in bringing two people together; however, time, rather than timing, is more essential in maintaining and enhancing profound love.
About 40 percent of all female murder victims die at the hands of a former or present male partner. Nearly all male murderers claim that (a) they committed the murder out of love, and (b) it was a result of loving too much. I believe we should accept (a) and reject (b).
Loneliness, which is a major epidemic in our society, is also an acute problem in romantic relationships. Although people enjoy an abundance of romantic options, most of them still feel lonely. How is such a paradox possible?
If love consists of a comprehensive positive evaluation of the beloved, how can we love a criminal? Do we romantically love only good people? How important is the moral character of the partner? Is Britney Spears really in love? These questions have no easy answers.
One aspect in choosing a romantic partner is the weight we give to bad and good qualities. Although we tend to focus more on the partner's bad qualities at the stage of choosing a partner, it seems that in the long run, good qualities become more important and eventually outweigh the bad qualities.
The tendencies both to adapt to a stable, average level of happiness and to feel dissatisfied are central in romance. Such tendencies underlie romantic compromises and enable people to live at an average degree of romantic intensity, and to maintain their love while their circumstances of life are reasonable. So why are these tendencies so often subject to criticism?
Emotions are typically associated with great dynamic excitement; conversely, calmness is usually regarded as passive and unemotional. However, I claim that at the basis of profound love there is calm, dynamic excitement. Is such a combination possible?
The issue of which bodily organ underlies romantic experiences is no longer in dispute today: We know that it is the brain, rather than the heart. An interesting twist in this dispute is the recently popular view that love is not located within the individual's body, but resides within the connections between the two lovers. Does this view make sense?
The role of time in future romantic experiences consists of two basic opposing attitudes: (a) eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die, and (b) the wish to be with the beloved "forever and for always." Which of these attitudes should we take?
Romantic love has often been considered as a type of addiction. There is no doubt that love involves constant thinking about, and activities with, the beloved. Is such persistent preoccupation with one person always detrimental?
Knowledge is often considered to be essential for love. Hence, romantic ignorance is constantly criticized. However, empirical evidence suggests that positive illusions are beneficial for romantic love. This raises the question of what constructive role ignorance plays in love. I believe that romantic ignorance is beneficial in some circumstances.
The notion that "love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage" is still widespread, though the arguments against it are gaining strength. Addressing such arguments requires clarifying what we mean by profound love.
Telling your beloved that "you belong to me" is common among lovers, but it is politically incorrect these days: each person is autonomous and should not belong to another person. Needless to say, no one literally belongs to anyone else. But can we speak about belonging in the psychological sense? I believe we can and should.
Lovers want to be with each other, but in what kind of relationship do they aspire to be? Would they prefer to be in one profound loving relationship all their lives or would they prefer many short intense romantic relationships? The answer is not clear.
Can we love someone before meeting them? I believe we can, in the same way that we might "know" that we will not love someone even before we've met her or him. Our love is often based upon our romantic intuitions, which have developed before we met someone. Is such intuition helpful?
Geographical proximity has long been considered as crucial for promoting romantic relationships. However, a research indicates otherwise: long-distance relationships often have equal or greater value in maintaining romantic relationships. Can we say then that (geographical) distance is the new (romantic) closeness? Is living apart together better than living together?
Intuitive implicit knowledge has been criticized for inappropriately overriding reliable intellectual knowledge. A recent study indicates the opposite: marriage is often the triumph of intelligence over more reliable intuitive knowledge. Listening to your unspoken heart, whether it expresses negative or positive intuitions, often leads you to a more satisfied marriage.
Jealousy is typically directed at the future—it involves the fear of losing your mate in the future to someone else. The loss is an imaginary possibility that has not yet materialized, but the agent suspects that it is highly probable. Can an agent be retrospectively jealous of his beloved's past behavior, which occurred before he knew the beloved?
Love at first sight is not easy to explain. Some people even deny that it is possible claiming it is merely sexual attraction. Indeed, how can we fall profoundly in love after one quick glance? How can such a glance make us believe that we want to spend the rest of our life in the arms of a stranger we have just seen for the first time?