What Is this thing called Love?
It refers to emotional closeness between partners, a relationship in contrast to a relationship. It is generally believed that in order to have intimacy in a marriage a prerequisite is to be in love with one’s partner. Consequently, an examination of the concept of romantic love, and ideas related to it, will shed a certain amount of light on sexual behaviour in a long-term relationship.
Unlike many of the world’s cultures, our culture links sexual behaviour, particularly within the institution of marriage, to romantic love. Romantic Love is a mental and emotional state characterized by moments of joy and the idealization of one’s partner. In her book Love and Limerence, the psychologist Dorothy Tennov uses the term Limerence to identify the distinctive pattern of thought and emotions associated with being in love. These include daydreaming about the beloved one, the desire to have love returned, and the wish to spend a lot of time in the other person’s presence. We use phrases such as “falling in love” to suggest that the state of being in love is somewhat involuntary.
The concept of romantic love is an outgrowth of the Middle Ages tradition of chivalry, a set of ideas and customs associated with knighthood. The knight was expected to pay courtly love to a noblewoman. This involved writing poems and jousting in tournaments with the fair lady’s handkerchief tied to a lance. The lady was often unattainable, and sexual desire was unrequited. The present-day concept of courting a woman is obviously derived from the day when knighthood was in flower.
It is only in relatively recent centuries, and primarily in the Western world, that the concept of romantic love has been tied to actual marriage. The problem is that romantic love has a certain tendency to fade after a marriage settles down and children become member of the family. True, there may be romantic moments, but one cannot expect a steady sate of limerence to endure day after day for years. Romantic love is replaced with Conjugal love, a state of deep affection, mutual respect, and shared responsibilities. The partner is loved and there is intimacy. And it is necessary to be more or less satisfied with conjugal love if is to have a stable marriage.
An increased understanding of the above point can be attained by referring to the idealization-frustration-demoralization syndrome.
The Idealization-Frustration-Demoralization (IFD) Syndrome is a common interpersonal pattern, often destructive to marriages. The
First stage, idealization, is characterized by a tendency to project on the partner, or potential partner, special attributes such as unusually good looks, great intelligence, outstanding creative ability, and so forth. She is a sort of Cinderella; he is a sort of Prince Charming. The stage of Idealization is clearly linked to romantic love.
The Second stage of the IFD syndrome, Frustration, emerges when the unrealistic expectations set up by the first stage cannot be met. One person lets the other one down in both big and small ways. Little by illusions fall away and the partner is seen clearly, psychological warts and all.
The Third stage, demoralization, is characterized by the conviction that the relationship is hopeless, that even valiant effort to improve the relationship are doomed to failure. It is at this point that one member of a couple may seek an affair, a separation, or a divorce.
Johnson’s basic message is clear. People should enter relationships with their eyes wide open. They should avoid idealization and an excessive attachment to the concept of romantic love. Granted, given our culture, a certain amount of romance is appropriate. However, idealization with its unrealistic expectations sets up the members of a couple for a fall.
This Article is Take From Psychology
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Written by Arshad. A