Ask The Readers: What Is Romantic Love?
May 17, 2009 by Akemi Gaines
I had such a great time reading the responses to my 4 Questions For My Readers. You guys are so wise and helpful! So now I’d like to ask for your input again.
In Creating The New World, Part 1 Love, I defined Love as “the awareness that we are valuable for our individual uniqueness and yet we are all part of the whole”. It’s about unconditional acceptance and blessing of who a person is. At the same time, it’s based on the awareness of our interconnectedness.
In the same article, I also discussed the future of romantic relationship and marriage. But I skipped the definition of romantic love.
What is romantic love?
Because I’m so perplexed. So many people seem to be crazy about getting into romantic love, and keeping their love “alive”, yet I’ve not seen a good definition of romantic love. It seems people take it for granted what it means.
I’ve been thinking about this ever since I wrote that article. What is romantic love? What is the difference between romantic love and Love, as I discussed in that article? Is there a difference?
How do I feel about love myself? Well, I love pretty much everyone. (Until, perhaps, someone attacks me. Which seldom happens as I am spiritually protected. And if I do get attacked, I’ll see if I can forgive.) (Oh, but I admit I had a hard time loving George Bush.) I’m emotionally, mentally, and spiritually poly- or pan-amorous. Or, at least I’d like to be, and if there are still some kinks (as a physical being, we all have some twists and challenges, which make life more interesting), I’ll see if I can let them go.
On the practical level, however, I have only certain amount of mental energy in each 24 hour day that tends to go to certain individuals. In other words, I’m personally more interested in a handful of individuals than others. So romantic love is love plus intense personal interest?
At the same time, I feel physical attraction to only certain people. To make things even more complicated, the person I’m personally interested in is not always the same I get turned on with. So romantic love is love plus physical attraction? Or, romantic love is love plus intense personal interest plus physical attraction?
Is commitment necessary in romantic love?
I’ve heard people say something like, “I’ve decided to love him / her for life.” That is wonderful, and I respect the sense of responsibility this person exhibits. I assume this means the person is committed to their partner in the same way they are committed to their own lives.
I, Akemi, is bound in my physical body and to my physical history. Whether I like it or not, I’m committed to follow through until it’s time for me to go. I — my body, my thoughts, my emotions and spiritual beliefs, along with all my external situations and conditions — change with time, but I will follow through. This is what I mean by “committed to one’s own life”.
If your commitment to your partner is this much, I really think it’s great. One lifetime’s uncertainty is quite a bit to take, and you are willing to take another’s in addition to your own. Honestly, I’ve never felt good to take this much of responsibilities. I want my lovers to be on their own and be happy with or without me. For me, this is love.
So I don’t think commitment is a necessary ingredients in romantic love. I also don’t think shared time and experiences are necessary part of romantic love. It’s a good part of relationship, but not romantic love. Dante saw Beatrice only twice.
What constitutes romantic love?
But this is just how I feel. What is your idea of romantic love? I identify at least three ingredients that seem to be necessary for romantic love: love, personal interest, physical attraction. Are there anything else? Are all the three necessary? How are they related to one another?
I appreciate your opinion very much. Please share in the comment below. Thank you. (Photo by Lutz-R. Frank)