The Myth of Romantic love?


#1

I read an article by this name the other day. And I spoke to some wise mature women who seemed to agree:
- That romantic love is often more "being in love with ones feeling than with the truth about the other person.
- We highly idealize this kind of love in Western societies and thus do not know how to to be satisfied when routine and daily life comes with one's spouse.

I have been dating a wonderful man for a whole year after 3 months of friendship. I always felt something was wrong and a while ago I finally decided to break up and say lets really pray about this. because I felt I could'nt answer adequately to his love. My main problem:
the lack of this pink-cloud experience of romantic being swept off one's feet and being in a state of madness, an atmosphere of such intensity which post-modernity calls falling in love- the lack of this feeling for him is what made me feel uneasy.

I have been in relationships before where I had that crazy-romantic feeling, but now years later I realise its that feeling I miss, and not the persons.. so I think thats rather interesting.
Also, the men I had that feeling with were not stable men that I could actually build a life with or communicate half as well with as with my current friend, who indeed has been my friend more than any other man.
I have heard that the unstable basis of a relationship in itself can contribute to the crazy-falling in love, and indeed I did have the romantic feelings in rather extraordinary circumstances and where there was no future possible for me and those persons.
With my friend now, we met during everyday circumstances, and he has been stable and true to me from day one. But my own lack of "falling in love" has caused me so much anxiety during our relationship..

Some Catholic ladies I know said that my lack of the mad-falling-in-love is maybe a good sign and that the relationship-qualities that I have with my friend are of such kind, that I should be very careful of letting him go: these qualities are great communication, common faith, and also attraction and real friendship.

Do anyone of you have similar experiences.. ? I'd like to hear from women and men who married a person after a time of similar insecurity and who chose to marry or stay with their partner not because of being madly swept off their feet feet but because of deep friendship and appreciation of the other's character and traits.

Thank you whoever answers. I feel like I am at a big cross roads in my life.. My friend still loves me and is hoping.. We are not talking at this time because of my decision, but I still have hope too.. I dont know if my priorities are messed up, or if he is just not the right guy..


#2

I would say that romantic "love" plays some part in getting a couple together in the first place, but it won't take you very far down the road in marriage! The topics you brought up are INFINITELY more important - faith, friendship, loyalty, security, communication. They are the foundation of a wonderful life-long commitment.

That "crazy in love" feeling fades so quickly, no matter how one tries to keep it going. You can see how the Hollywood types must think that is what love really is. :shrug:

If you have so much going for you with this man, please do not throw it away as you search for the chimera of some societal creation of what love is supposed to be! Marriage takes so much character strength that "romance" could never carry you very far down the road. It's a nice thing to have some of, but care, commitment, communication, character...much, MUCH more important.


#3

[quote="GraceDK, post:1, topic:229479"]
I have heard that the unstable basis of a relationship in itself can contribute to the crazy-falling in love, and indeed I did have the romantic feelings in rather extraordinary circumstances and where there was no future possible for me and those persons.

[/quote]

I wholeheartedly agree with this. Anxiety can often be confused with romantic love, and cause people to do stupid things and hang onto people who aren't good for them.

I do have a similar experience, and I am of the same opinion as some of the ladies you mentioned who suggested that your lack of mad-falling-in-love is a good thing.

I was insanely attracted to my ex-boyfriend. All of the in-love feelings that I had always wanted to feel. I was in love with him, he was in love with me, it was intoxicating. The problem was that he wasn't a good person and I didn't even care because I just wanted to continue feeling the way I was feeling. I truly see it now as an addiction. In any case, after several years the whole thing imploded and I met the man I've been with for five years now.

My attraction for him is much less intense but much more steady. I did almost break it off several times because I thought I was supposed to feel the way I had before, and this felt so different. Much less thrilling. I thought I was bored and that it meant I was with the wrong person. Every time I thought "I should break it off", he did something really kind or something happened that made me step back and consider how lucky I was to have this man in my life.

I'm really glad I stuck with him though, because now I really know the difference between being "in love" and truly loving someone. There are occasions where I have the "in love" feeling with my boyfriend, but they come and go. The main difference is that they don't bring me a sense of anxiety, but rather peace. And underneath it all is that kind of self-sacrificing love that I think makes a marriage work. We love each other when it isn't easy, and that makes all the difference. I'd rather have the security and peace of real love, than have the turmoil and anxiety of being "in love".

I really do think that, as you said, we idealize the feelings and then when it's time to come back to earth it's dissatisfying and not exciting. God gave us humans the ability to reason over our desires for a purpose, and as much as I like to feel in love, I'm not about to use it as a criteria for marriage, because most of marriage isn't going to be like that.

So my advice would be to pay attention to what brings you peace. You said that this guy has been stable and true to you from the beginning. He may or may not be the guy you marry, but I wouldn't use a lack of "romantic love" as a factor to take him out of the mix, because you'd be giving up on a great guy in pursuit of something fleeting and transitory.


#4

I don't think that marrying someone when you could have said "I always felt something was wrong" is wise. Maybe it is the "pink cloud" thing, but maybe it is something you can't put your finger on. If you have experienced that kind of discontent from the start of the relationship, do not expect it to go away. You can persevere in marriage with anyone who is willing to persevere in it with you, don't get me wrong. Do this man the favor of holding of until you can give yourself to him whole-heartedly, though. A man deserves that much, especially a fine man.

After all, you aren't meant to marry every man who would make somebody a wonderful husband. You have to wait for the one who would be an outstanding husband for you. Wait until you find the one to whom you can give your whole self, for that is what marriage asks of you.


#5

Woops, I forgot to ask you a very important question:

Have you met his family and how does he interact with them?

This is an immensely important, even critical, aspect of one's relationship with a possible future spouse. A lot of blank spots can be filled in very quickly once the family issues are known.

His relationship with his mother is of course very important but his relationship with his father will tell you what kind of father HE will be.


#6

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:5, topic:229479"]
Woops, I forgot to ask you a very important question:

Have you met his family and how does he interact with them?

This is an immensely important, even critical, aspect of one's relationship with a possible future spouse. A lot of blank spots can be filled in very quickly once the family issues are known.

His relationship with his mother is of course very important but his relationship with his father will tell you what kind of father HE will be.

[/quote]

If the little children and the family pets like him, he's a keeper!


#7

[quote="caeli0, post:6, topic:229479"]
If the little children and the family pets like him, he's a keeper!

[/quote]

The little children and the family pets aren't marrying him.

There are happy marriages without the "zing", but there are many more people who ignored their sense that something wasn't quite right, married anyway, and then had to live with "something not quite right" for the rest of their lives.

If the OP decides that the zing isn't important, or that she has no sense that anything important is missing, that is fine. If she senses that something is not right, it is a mistake to ignore that. That wonderful friend of her deserves better than that, too.


#8

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:5, topic:229479"]
His relationship with his mother is of course very important but his relationship with his father will tell you what kind of father HE will be.

[/quote]

Although history does tend to repeat itsself, this is not always true. Some men react to bad fathers by being the opposite.

I know this is true from my own life. Although he died before I was born, by all accounts my Great-Grandfather was not a very good family man. He was a drunk, gambler, adulterer, etc. As a teenager my grandpa would often get phone calls from the sheriff to pick his dad up from the bar. Needless to say, he didn't have a great relationship with his dad.

My grandfather is the complete opposite of his dad. He is a wonderful family man who has always put his family first and never fell into the vices that ruined his father. This carried on through my dad who is also a great father and family man. I intend to be the same way when I have children in the next few years.

All I am saying is that you can't always judge the man by his relationship with his family! People can buck trends.


#9

[quote="EasterJoy, post:7, topic:229479"]
The little children and the family pets aren't marrying him.

There are happy marriages without the "zing", but there are many more people who ignored their sense that something wasn't quite right, married anyway, and then had to live with "something not quite right" for the rest of their lives.

If the OP decides that the zing isn't important, or that she has no sense that anything important is missing, that is fine. If she senses that something is not right, it is a mistake to ignore that. That wonderful friend of her deserves better than that, too.

[/quote]

Well, as has been pointed out, the zing will fade out in any case.

Waiting for it too long uses up one's best biological years.

The mythology behind romantic love is relatively recent in history; human beings have gotten together to form families for a million years without it.

ICXC NIKA.


#10

[quote="GEddie, post:9, topic:229479"]
Well, as has been pointed out, the zing will fade out in any case.

Waiting for it too long uses up one's best biological years.

The mythology behind romantic love is relatively recent in history; human beings have gotten together to form families for a million years without it.

ICXC NIKA.

[/quote]

.................................................................................................................................

I supposed its how individual humans perceive Romantic Love at a mundane level is why it seemingly fails.

No one here has spoken about the Romance of the Souls of Husband and Wife becoming One in Body, One in Mind, and One in Soul. A Marriage of Spiritual Mystery in Christ.
Without Sacrifice in Marriage where one lives totally for the other, romance falls away into nothingness. Should not human marriage try to emulate Christ's Sacrificial Death and Love on the Cross like the Romantic Bridegroom in search to save His Bride.

In Saint John of the Cross writings he intricately describes the rigorous ascetic practices of the mystical life and his experiences of divine union with God. This perfection of divine union is characte rized by a marriage between the individual soul, who is always the bride, and Christ, who is the beloved Bridegroom. This "bridal mysticism" is central to St. John's teachings. Given this fact, why does St. John emphasize the crucifixion in his extraordinarily vivid drawing? a-movie-to-see.com/religion-philosophy/Drawing-for-Christ-of-St-John-of-the-Cross-on-special-paper-459.htm

St. John wrote detailed and didactic treatises, but he also utilized aesthetic forms for ex pressing his religious experiences. He produced poetry that communicated divine matters in a way prose could not; indeed, all his longer treatises are commentaries on his poetry. And like his poetry, this drawing obviously was derived from inner religious experience, for its style and composition are unique. But he chose not to express this vision in poetry. Apparently, the subject of this vision was better communicated through a visual representation than through any verbal expression. In addition, this representation was not meant to be a public image or even an icon, for he had given the drawing to a holy nun in his religious order. It was the pure and simple expression of a secret vision, which was to be shared only with his spiritual associates.

If we are to complete the interpretation of St John of the Cross drawing of the crucifix, we must turn to St. John's works. In St. John's prose and poetry, the interpretation of the crucifixion drawing is powerfully aided specifically by several stanzas from the seventh of his "Romances." In the following lines, Christ is speaking to the Father:

   I will go and tell the world,

   spreading the word

   of your beauty and sweetness

   and of your sovereignty.

   I will go seek my bride

   and take upon myself

   her weariness and labors

   in which she suffers so;

   and that she may have life

   I will die for her

   and lifting her out of that deep,

   I will restore her to you.

   The essential message of St. John's drawing of the crucifix is revealed by these verses. As these verses plainly express, Christ (the Bridegroom) wants to relieve the soul (the bride) of her suffering by taking it upon himself, and in doing so, restores the soul to the Father.

#11

Thanks everyone..

I guess its a thing that I must work out alone with Jesus.

The variety of posts reflect the different options I have considered myself..
the problem is that I am so confused..
see, I felt at home and at peace in the past with guys who were not marriage material and whom I knew I had no future with. Now I meet a guy who is gold (not to say he is perfect.. but he has some qualities that I always wanted in a spouse and he loves me faithfully and maturely and communicates with me and understands me.. ) and I feel uneasy with him.. some kind of anxiety mostly at night.. and I don't know why..

So the problem is I don't trust myself.
If I hade made wise choices in the past while followeing my feelings I would perhaps be more sure now and be able to fully commit or say good bye.

I felt anxious with him... and I didn't feel anxious when i should have, with men that were definately not marriage material.
Oh gosh I am so confused.. thinking about counseling.. but I wish more to meet a prophet because who can help me if not the Lord?

I try this time to be alone and pray, but do you think I can truly make a better choice by not seeing him?.. As for everyone who says that he deserves my utmost commitment ad love too, yes indeed.. that thought is what made me have the courage to take a step back.

I feel like I need a miracle from God..


#12

GraceDK,

I don't think you are physcially/sexually attracted to him. That's what the 'butterflies' are all about. Of course, the high of physcial/sexual attraction fades, but it never goes away. After 17 years, i'm still attracted to my husband and genuinely enjoy sleeping with him. When i first saw him, his was fit, blonde, and had intense blue eyes. I thought, I'm going after that.

I had been in a relationship with a guy to whom i wasn't sexually attracted. My boyfriend prior to him, well let's it was HOT and an emotional holocause. I blamed the intense sexual attraction, so when Guy#2 pursued me, i thought, why not? We broke up on amicalble terms, but sex with him was like drinking a flat soda. So, NOt. There. Never would have been either.

If you at the point in your life where sex isn't so important to you, then go for it! However, i don't think HE would feel the same way though, knowing you weren't sexually into him.


#13

I'd recommend not getting married till you know in your heart you've found "the one." To marry a wonderful guy whom you don't feel real passion for would be a terrible injustice to the guy. Men need women who are passionately in love with them; they don't want to marry a "buddy." Set him free to find the woman who can fall madly in love with him.

Just keep on praying that God will send the perfect one for you.


#14

Those are some very wise women indeed. I agree with this 100%. When you are experiencing that "love" feeling and literally feel like your floating and you're happy and can just sing and dance all day, well...I feel that "pink-cloud" moment really does cloud your judgement about that other person. Its that feeling that you really love, not so much the person.
With that pink-cloud, you ignore factors about that person because you are not thinking rationally. Of course at the moment you will never agree with this because you would still be under the haze of the pink-cloud. It's only months or even years later when you have that AHA moment and really see the situation for what it was. That "love" feeling will fade, and then what? You will probably see what everyone else has been telling you all along. We've all been there, and while its a beautiful and wonderul feeling, it also makes one very vulnerable and irrational. :doh2:


#15

[quote="lovemyboys, post:13, topic:229479"]
I'd recommend not getting married till you know in your heart you've found "the one." To marry a wonderful guy whom you don't feel real passion for would be a terrible injustice to the guy. Men need women who are passionately in love with them; they don't want to marry a "buddy." Set him free to find the woman who can fall madly in love with him.

Just keep on praying that God will send the perfect one for you.

[/quote]

yes, I suppose that would be the right thing to do.

:(


#16

[quote="lovemyboys, post:13, topic:229479"]
I'd recommend not getting married till you know in your heart you've found "the one." To marry a wonderful guy whom you don't feel real passion for would be a terrible injustice to the guy. Men need women who are passionately in love with them; they don't want to marry a "buddy." Set him free to find the woman who can fall madly in love with him.

Just keep on praying that God will send the perfect one for you.

[/quote]

"madly in love" is simply infatuation, it is nothing more. Now infatuation is important, especially for men, since it gets the ball rolling so to speak. But I don't think men need women to be infatuated with them. They need loved.

And there is no such thing as "the one". Love is an act of will. There are many, many people out there who could be spouses for anyone. As long as both people know how it works and what it is all about.

The ideas that there is "the one" that we are destined for and that we should always feel like we are "madly in love" are the ideas that create so many divorces.


#17

[quote="lovemyboys, post:13, topic:229479"]
I'd recommend not getting married till you know in your heart you've found "the one." To marry a wonderful guy whom you don't feel real passion for would be a terrible injustice to the guy. Men need women who are passionately in love with them; they don't want to marry a "buddy." Set him free to find the woman who can fall madly in love with him.

Just keep on praying that God will send the perfect one for you.

[/quote]

I agree that someone shouldn't get married until they are sure about the other person. But the degree of emphasis someone should place on "passionate love" I think is debatable. I'm not married yet, so I can't say this for sure, but I'm guessing that those little moments where you fall in love with your spouse- watching him hold your baby, seeing him help your aging parents, thoughtful things he does- matter a whole lot more than any kind of "passionate" sexual attraction. I just think being madly, wildly in love isn't always a good indicator of a healthy relationship.


#18

[quote="tafan, post:16, topic:229479"]
"madly in love" is simply infatuation, it is nothing more. Now infatuation is important, especially for men, since it gets the ball rolling so to speak. But I don't think men need women to be infatuated with them. They need loved.

And there is no such thing as "the one". Love is an act of will. There are many, many people out there who could be spouses for anyone. As long as both people know how it works and what it is all about.

The ideas that there is "the one" that we are destined for and that we should always feel like we are "madly in love" are the ideas that create so many divorces.

[/quote]

:thumbsup::clapping:

The way the OP describes her relationship with this man makes me frankly envious. The strengths that she already has with this man, such as faith and communication, mean that any problems they do face in the future could be worked through more easily.

I know what she means, though, about following one's heart. When you haven't had good training in healthy emotional connections, the ones you create may be bad for you. In that case it is sometimes healthier to do exactly the OPPOSITE of what your impulses say, since the unfamiliar choice would be the healthier option. IOW, if dysfunction in relationships feels normal and good, being in a healthy relationship is going to feel weird. In that case one would need to persist and see what is on the other side of that anxiety.

I would recommend short-term counseling to explore these issues a little more deeply. If it's a good therapist, the reason for the anxiety should be clear pretty quickly. It could just be that this man challenges the OP to be the kind of mature woman she's never been.


#19

[quote="GraceDK, post:1, topic:229479"]
I'd like to hear from women and men who married a person after a time of similar insecurity and who chose to marry or stay with their partner not because of being madly swept off their feet feet but because of deep friendship and appreciation of the other's character and traits.

[/quote]

Your situation sounds SO MUCH like mine. I ended up marrying him, divorcing him, remarrying him, and loving him more every day. If your boyfriend is as similar to my husband as I think he is, it sounds like the makings of a very beautiful marriage.

[quote="lovemyboys, post:13, topic:229479"]
I'd recommend not getting married till you know in your heart you've found "the one." To marry a wonderful guy whom you don't feel real passion for would be a terrible injustice to the guy. Men need women who are passionately in love with them; they don't want to marry a "buddy." Set him free to find the woman who can fall madly in love with him.

Just keep on praying that God will send the perfect one for you.

[/quote]

I disagree with waiting for "the one." There is no "the one" until your wedding day when you, your husband, and God get together and vow that the man standing next to you is "the one." I agree your boyfriend deserves someone who loves them, but I don't believe that ANYONE can be truly "passionately in love with someone" (abstract concept!) until both partners have committed to the fullness of the marriage vow and actively love (VERB!) their spouse every day.

Once you are married and you make a conscious daily choice to LOVE (verb) that person by acting lovingly toward him, only then will you begin to experience that "in love" feeling.

I felt "in love" many times before marrying my husband (including once with him). Now that we are married and we choose to love each other every day, the "in love" feelings I felt prior to marriage seem downright stupid compared to the "in love" feelings that sneak up on me when I least suspect it.

If you believe you've found a good man who will treat you lovingly, and you believe you are in a place in your life where you are capable of treating him lovingly, you're off to a good start. :)


#20

[quote="Marie682, post:17, topic:229479"]
I agree that someone shouldn't get married until they are sure about the other person. But the degree of emphasis someone should place on "passionate love" I think is debatable. I'm not married yet, so I can't say this for sure, but I'm guessing that those little moments where you fall in love with your spouse- watching him hold your baby, seeing him help your aging parents, thoughtful things he does- matter a whole lot more than any kind of "passionate" sexual attraction. I just think being madly, wildly in love isn't always a good indicator of a healthy relationship.

[/quote]

Yeah, you are exactly right Marie. I can tell you that I love my husband the most when he is good to our sons. More than any little silly butterfly feeling. When he tries harder to be a good dad than his own father ever dreamed of trying, now THAT is a turn-on! Really I love him from the INSIDE OUT, not the outside in. He's not a bad package, either, but it's the soul of the man that I love. When he steps up to protect me, WOW. My heart swells with love for him.

Marriage and especially marriage with kids is so NOT about physical attraction alone. Character and faith matter so much more.

:)


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