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A Brief History of Romantic Love and Why It Kind of Sucks

"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.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

A Brief History of Romantic Love and Why It Kind of Sucks

A Brief History of Romantic Love and Why It Kind of Sucks

https://markmanson.net/romantic-love

markmanson.net

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Key Ideas

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.

Love is complicated

People often overestimate love’s ability to overcome whatever issues or problems present in their relationships.

Love can sometimes be unpleasant or painful. It requires self-discipline, understanding and a certain amount of sustained effort over the course of years. It comes with a requirement for personal responsibility.

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The faulty logic

We usually consider moving into marriage in an attempt to preserve and prolong the happy romantic feelings that characterize the early stages of almost all relationships.
But in most cases, ther...

Unrealistic expectations

The gap between expectation and reality is the cause for many of life’s disappointments.
We like to create detailed fantasies of how our lives are going to be. But when we expect our reality to match a fantasy but life turns out nothing like it, we feel disappointed.

Asking the right questions

"Are you the right person for me?" is the wrong question to ask, because nothing outside of ourselves can fix us or bring us happiness.
A more constructive question to ask would be "Can I accommodate your imperfections with humor and grace?"

Falling in love

To us, being loved in a relationship is perhaps the highest ideal. It gives our lives meaning and purpose. Being loved validates our sense of self-esteem and soothes our fears of loneliness.

Whom We Find Attractive

Our self-esteem, mental and emotional health, positive and negative life experiences, and family relations all influence whom we’re attracted to. 

The Ideal Stage of Romance

There is an amount of healthy idealization that helps us fall in love.

However, if we’re depressed or have low self-esteem, we’re more likely to idealize a prospective partner and overlook signs of trouble, such as unreliability or addiction, or accept disrespectful or abusive behavior. A lack of a support system or loneliness might also blind us to potential faults.

It is far better to first deal with these concerns before entering into a relationship.

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The forms of love

Love is not just found in romantic love directed at one person.

Love includes the depth of close friendships, the sense of belonging in a community, the intensity of an artistic practice...

It takes a village to feel loved

In history, marriage was a pragmatic institution. A sense of identity was more embedded in community, and not solely in marriage.

The shift to individualism and choice has meant that we feel the need to find our identity in an all-encompassing romantic partnership. We are asking from one person what once an entire village used to provide.

Recognising that one person can't be your everything can help you find a broader definition of love.

The love of friendship

Sharing your experiences with others is an essential ingredient to feeling connected.

This conncection doesn't have to come in the form of a partner or having friends around you all the time. Rather, it is the quality of your close relationships that has an impact on your well being.

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