A loving relationship can be an oasis in uncertain times, but nurturing it requires attention, honesty, openness, vulnerability, and gratitude.
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A philosopher looks at our deepest emotions
Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D.
The value of consistency in the romantic realm is murky, as emotions are highly sensitive to change. Hating the one you love is an example for a seemingly inconsistent behavior.
Silence is sometimes golden in intimate relations. However, in profound love, silence is rather noisy, and its sound is rather unpleasant.
How can brief and infrequent experiences such as orgasms be crucial for flourishing romantic relations? The answer relates to the experiences associated with them.
Polyamory is criticized for spreading love too thin and thus hurting the lovers. In reply, one might argue that the heart can expand when you love more. What is the right answer?
If love is not all we need, then it is certainly reasonable for some people to leave the one they love. Sometimes, love and life clash.
Political views are vital in choosing spouses, but their role in hooking up is less clear. We may not want to live with our political enemy, but what’s wrong with sleeping with him?
There are good reasons for not rushing love and persuasive arguments for the value of quickies. Can we both not rush love and still enjoy having quickies?
Both being sexy and being beautiful enhance romantic attraction. Which one is more dominant? And which one is more positively received? The answer is not obvious.
Married people envy singles for their romantic freedom. Do singles envy married people for their serious relationships? A recent Match study indicates surprising trends.
We have a bad habit of focusing on people's superficial, negative qualities. Profound qualities have more meaning in the long run, so their behavioral influence should be greater.
In meritocracy, one is judged according to one’s personal past performance and achievements. Is this the best principle to follow when looking for a suitable romantic partner?
Romantic love is a many-splendored thing. A life without love is a miserable life. However, not everything is glowing in the romantic kingdom.
Attempting to change the beloved and surrendering to the beloved are common practices. Although each has some value, neither is effective in guiding our romantic path.
In order to reduce the pain of a potential romantic rejection, some people cultivate back-up romantic options. How beneficial is this preemptive strike strategy?
It is mistaken to hold that keeping all romantic options open cannot be bad, as you can always select the best. There is a cost to this and too much of a good thing can be harmful.
The prevailing ideal of a perfect love is a major obstacle for establishing enduring, profound love.
Lively’s claim that she loves Reynolds most of the time runs counter to the nature of profound love. She probably desires him sexually most of the time, but loves him all the time.
In “The Road Not Taken,” Frost refers to “the road less traveled” and “the road not taken.” Are the two notions identical? How does this distinction relate to the romantic realm?
Humor, which clashes with the intensity of romantic love, can be valuable in romance. Is humor always good in love? Is it useful for seduction? Should we tell jokes during sex?
Emotional partiality and diversity are essential to romantic love. However, they appear to conflict with each other. Which one has a greater romantic value?
There are probably “50 ways to leave your lover,” but far fewer ways to choose the one who will stay with you for the long term.
Many people's long-term romantic behavior is similar to dead fish floating with the current, slowly drifting with the stream. Is such behavior damaging? Not always, it would seen.
There are good reasons for considering punctuality to be a virtue. Is it also a romantic virtue? There are reasons to think it is not.
We hate to let go of alluring romantic options, so we sometimes put people on hold, awaiting a better moment. Is this proper behavior?
Ideal love is depicted as a very passionate experience. Yet mild love seems a better indicator of enduring love. Can we admit our mild love without insulting our partners?
It seems that when love is not all you need, it is unthinkable to give your soul.
Women’s sexual right to say “yes” should be respected, including their right to freely shape their sexual performances, without incurring any social or emotional censure.
Generosity is very valuable for our well-being and health. Is this also true for sexual generosity?
Loving longer is associated with lower romantic intensity, but it is also related to profound love. Does loving longer increase or decrease love? It all depends on what love is.
Peace-inducing sex is one-sided sex intended to maintain industrial peace within one’s relationship. Is it beneficial? Yes and no.
Aaron Ben-Zeév, Ph.D., former President of the University of Haifa, is a professor of philosophy. His books include The Arc of Love: How Our Romantic Lives Change Over Time.