Romantic love has been described as one of the most sublime human experiences; it has also been viewed as an addiction and illness. The apparent paradox between being madly in love and being addicted can be resolved by analyzing the depth of love.
Romantic compromises and extramarital affairs are typically criticized on the grounds that they deviate from prevailing values and indicate difficulties in the marriage. Traditionally, following one’s heart incurs more severe criticism. Is it justified?
Extramarital affairs are usually considered to be morally wrong, and hence the people who engage in them tend to provide various excuses for doing so. Excuses might serve to reduce the agent's culpability.
What is the relationship between romantic love and sexual desire? Is it true that "love ain't nothing but sex misspelled," as Harlan Ellison claimed, or are they two separate emotions? A plausible answer is that the two are not identical but have significant links. What are these links and are they subject to gender differences?
Romantic admiration is perceived to be central in love, as it facilitates pleasurable togetherness. However, when we admire someone, it can place us in an inferior position and this might be painful and harmful. I will begin my analysis of admiration in romantic love by examining Mimi Alford's admiration for President Kennedy, which resulted in a romantic affair.
Romantic love is often characterized as being guided by idealizations, sometimes even by blindness. However, romantic relationships should be based upon reality, as this reality is where both of them will live their lives. Do lovers’ eyes deceive them?
People usually get married after they have fallen in love; however, there are cases in which people get married after their love has faded. Natalie has been divorced twice. She had a similar reason for marrying both of her husbands: she had stopped loving them.
Gender differences are hard to detect, as they depend on many factors. Nevertheless, I will propose here that in general, women are more likely to make romantic compromises at young age, whereas men tend to do so more at an older age.
Respect seems to be different and even contrary to romantic love. Whereas respect implies distance, romantic love involves an intimate closeness and even the sense of identity with the beloved. Nevertheless, many people consider respect to be one of the most important components of love. Do love and respect go together like a horse and carriage?
Why is the phenomenon of yearning for ex-lovers so frequent and powerful? Is such yearning due to desperation or passion? Is it related to the quality of our ex or to a deficiency in our current romantic life? It would seem that various factors are involved.
The romantic heart is typically described as impatient—“It’s now or never. Tomorrow will be too late.” It is assumed that it is not natural to postpone satisfaction in matters concerning love. Contrary to this popular assumption, there are many circumstances in which the romantic heart can be very patient.
Exclusivity is at the heart of romantic love. Like other emotions, love is discriminatory and partial—one cannot love everyone. How is it then that many people claim that they have loved two people at the same time? And how do they deal with this situation?
What types of emotions are characteristic of close relationships and what types are not typical of such relationships? Why do fathers typically not envy or pity their sons, while people typically do feel jealous of their partners? The relevance to one’s self-image is crucial here.
Love, is "a many splendored thing"; but love also involves a lot of suffering—especially in the case of unrequited love. Love can feel like being in paradise as well as being in hell. In both cases, the best suggestion is to keep on going. Why is it that love is so ambivalent, and why do we keep on loving even when it leads to heartbreak?
Emotional reasoning, which prevails in matters of the heart, is different from intellectual reasoning. Are these two types of reasoning condemned to fight each other, or can they be integrated? Should we follow our heart entirely in romantic matters, and are we able to resist it even if we want to?
Andy Gibb and Victoria Principal sung the song that implies that lovers need merely to dream in order to sustain their love. Are dreams of any value in a romantic relationship? Apparently dreams were not sufficient to save Andy and Victoria’s love and Andy’s life. External circumstances were greater than their feelings for each other.
When a child asks his mother whether she loves him as much as she loves her mother, the answer is not obvious. Although claiming that love has different forms which cannot be compared is the more profound answer, the claim that the mother loves her daughter more than her mother seems to better reflect reality in many cases.
Why did the French philosopher Descartes love a girl whose pupils migrated toward her nose? Various reasons are proposed and the most powerful one may be the attraction of imperfection—given that a certain degree of (almost) perfection is present as well.
What is the look of love? How can simple facial expressions express one of the most complex human emotions? People are often not even sure about the presence of emotion when they are asked about it. What is the secret of this meaningful look?
A runway bride is a woman who cancels her wedding very close to the time of the ceremony or who even runs away from the ceremony itself. How can this phenomenon be explained? Why don't these women simply say “No” when the marriage is proposed?
In his motivational “Don’t Settle” speech, Steve Jobs puts forward an ideal that we should aspire to fulfill. Can we follow his advice and not settle on issues of love and work? The answer is not apparent.
In my last post, I discussed the relationship of friendship with (sexual) benefits. Now I will turn to discuss the associated relationship of lovers with (emotional) benefits; the benefits here include caring and friendship that continues between the lovers’ occasional meetings.
The feeling of being in captivity is common to many (some argue, most) people who are in a committed romantic framework. How can people cope with this feeling? Is such captivity so horrible? The answers to these questions are complex.
The role of equality and inequality in sexual activity involves certain ambiguities. I will briefly indicate some connections between equality and sexual activity while indicating that good sex is not always associated with equality.