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How Romantic Ideas Destroy Your Chance at Love

https://time.com/4354465/romanticism-relationships/

time.com

How Romantic Ideas Destroy Your Chance at Love
Society has set us up with the wrong expectations about what a successful relationship takes, Alain de Botton writes.

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Romanticism

Romanticism

Romanticism emerged as an ideology in Europe in the mid-18th century in the minds of poets, artists and philosophers, and it has now conquered the world. 

It has permeated our culture with many assumptions about how couples are supposed to get together. It teaches us what to value, how to approach conflicts and what to get excited about.

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Romanticism is deeply hopeful

It tells us that marriage can have all the excitement of a love affair and the feelings of love should prevail over a life-time. 

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Romanticism proposes 

... that true love end loneliness. It promised that the right partner would understand us fully without words.

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Romanticism believes feelings rule

For most of recorded history, people had fallen into relationships and married for logical pragmatic sorts of reasons.

Romanticism believes choosing a partner should be about letting oneself be guided by feelings, rather than practical considerations.

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Romanticism rejects practicalities

Romanticism has influenced us to dislike the idea of entering into a relationship for practical or financial reasons.

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Romanticism believes true love trumps all

Romanticism believes that true love should accept everything about someone.

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Romanticism has been a disaster for love

The salvation of love lies in overcoming a succession of errors within Romanticism.

  • Discussing money up-front is not a betrayal of love.
  • Realize that we are rather flawed, and our partner is too.
  • We will never find everything in another person, nor they in us.
  • We need to make efforts to understand one another.
  • Discussing practicalities are not trivial.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The cultural backdrop

For most of recorded history, people got married for logical pragmatic sorts of reasons.

Since around 1750, we have been living in an era in the history of love that we can call Romanticism w...

The Romantic template

  • Romanticism tells us that a long-term marriage can have all the excitement of a love affair.
  • Romanticism proposed that true love must mean an end to all loneliness.
  • Romanticism believed that choosing a partner should be about letting oneself be guided by feelings, rather than practical considerations.
  • Romanticism believes that true love is synonymous with accepting everything about someone.

The Romantic script is delusional

It's normative points include:

  • we should meet a person of extraordinary inner and outer beauty and immediately feel a special attraction to them, and they to us
  • we should understand one another intuitively
  • we don’t need an education in love
  • we should have no secrets and spend constant time together
  • we should raise a family without any loss of intensity
  • our lover must be our soulmate, best friend, co-parent, co-chauffeur, accountant, household manager and spiritual guide

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Our ideas of love

The differences in how people have loved throughout history suggest that our style of loving is to a significant extent determined by what the prevailing environment dictates.

It is through ...

What is lacking in art

... are crucial elements of wisdom, realism and maturity. Our love stories excite us to expect things of love that are neither very possible nor very practical.

We learn to judge ourselves by the hopes and expectations fostered by a misleading artistic medium.

How love stories affect us

Emma Bovary in Madame Bovary (1856) spent her childhood immersed in Romantic fiction. As a result, she’s expecting that her husband will be someone who understands her soul perfectly.

When she does get married to the kind, thoughtful but human. But she is quickly bored by the routines of married life. She is convinced that her life has gone profoundly wrong for one central reason: because it’s so different from what the novels she knows told her it would be.

Plato on love

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato argued that the highest form of love was brotherly love or platonic love.

The industrial age changed romance

For most of human history, there was no time for romance. Marriages were arranged by families and were a purely economic arrangement designed to promote the survival and prosperity of both extended families.

It wasn’t until the industrial age that things began to change. They didn't have to rely so heavily on family connections any more. Consequently, the economic and political components of marriage ceased to make sense.

"Happily ever after" ideal

The economic realities of the 19th century mixed with the idea from the Enlightenment about the pursuit of happiness. The result was the Age of Romanticism.

People became economically independent and love (or emotions) became valued in society. These ideals of love have been heavily promoted and marketed during the 20th century.