How Romanticism Ruined Love
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 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 ...
... 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.
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.
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.
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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.
... that true love end loneliness. It promised that the right partner would understand us fully without words.
Whomever we get together with will be radically imperfect in a host of deeply serious ways. We must kill the idea that things would be ideal with any other creature in this galaxy. Ther...
When difficulties strike in relationships, we often fall prey to the idea that we are going out with a foolish human. The sadness must be someone’s fault: and we conclude that the blame has to lie with the partner. At an extreme, we exit the relationship far too early.
We blame our lover in order not to blame love itself, the truer but more elusive target.
The person we love becomes involved in some of the grandest and most complex matters we ever undertake: we ask them to be our lover, our best friend, our confidant, our nurse, our financial adviser, our social partner, and our sex mate.
The job description is so long and so demanding, that no one in the standard employment market could conceivably deliver perfectly on even a fraction of the demands.