How Romanticism Ruined Love - Deepstash

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The cultural backdrop

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 where the marriage of reason was replaced with the marriage of feeling.

Love now unfolds against a cultural backdrop that subtly guides us as to where we should place our emotional emphases, what to value, how to approach conflicts, what to get excited about, when to tolerate, and what we can be legitimately incensed by.

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The Romantic template

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.

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The Romantic script is delusional

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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The post-Romantic attitude

The post-Romantic attitude

Knowing the history of Romanticism should be consoling because it suggests that the problems we have with relationships don’t stem from our ineptitude, inadequacy or choice of a partner. 

  • It should be normal to discuss money up-front
  • We should realise that we are rather flawed
  • We will never find everything in another person
  • We need to make immense efforts to understand one another
  • Discussing practical concerns is not trivial

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