are you saying it’s a fantasy to all except the exceptionally few who are attractive enough to nab their ideal (in the context of the “because we can’t get the most attractive partner we must construct this bridge to fill in the gaps” comment)? what aspects of romantic love are you labeling as fantasy?
It’s the difference between “Love at first sight” which is 90% what visual appeal a person has, and “Building a relationship”, where one seeks to date, and “get to know” and spend time together. That “love” is being constructed. A lot of it is already constructed for us by society.
Men ask and display confidence, give gifts and display provider signals, women dress up and act feminine, displaying fertility symbols (makeup etc). Then each convince themselves that they are “falling in love” via becoming increasingly deliberately blind to each other’s faults.
It’s like a template with emotional check points.
Whilst straight up desire has a single instant checkpoint.
ok this makes sense. i think i was confused because society rarely disentangles raw desire from this slow emotional signaling construct; both are discussed as “romantic love”, both are seen as foundations of relationships, and both can occur concurrently in a relationship. but often times it is one or the other
what you wrote struck a chord with me as i’m navigating this in a relationship right now. a couple years ago i ended one of those infatuated/attraction relationships because it was lacking connection and emotional depth, and my partner was not interested in deeper intimacy. despite their clear distance and lots of glaring misalignments, i was pretty obsessed with them for a while
now i am in a relationship with that depth of intimacy, going through all the steps you described as the foundations of romance; my partner is demonstrating themselves to be dependable, available, thoughtful. and i enjoy them and our ease of communication immensely. but i notice how i crave that infatuated spark, which i am not experiencing, and even though i love my partner, i still long for it
i can see the spark functioned in an addictive way - bred anxiety and pain and insecurity, made me want to do anything to make them stay because they were like a drug to me. and it blinded me to the reality of our differences, because it felt so good. i don’t know if i actually want that again. but i feel the urgent pull of it, and i am afraid that perhaps the intimacy i am building with this person now is something of a sham, because were i to feel the infatuation again, i may very well run off and chase it
i talked about non-monogamy with my partner and they seem open to some version of it eventually. which is a little bit “keeping my options open” to feel that druggy infatuation again - and my partner expresses deep love for me and commitment to me, so this seems like a half-hearted engagement in our dynamic on my part, an emotional betrayal. i feel torn between urges and emotions and i don’t really like feeling beholden to either
That’s point of sharing each other’s experiences and thoughts on these rarely examined topics.
I am probably off the mark in what I am saying, as far as actualism goes. I do however like the seperating of these feelings into what is a powerful instinctual passion level inherited in one’s DNA, and what is handed to us as a construct. Cheers @Kub933
It’s a good point that the “spark” can fade, it’s no guarantee of success.
I’ve experienced the one sided infactuated combined with romantic love (with me being the infactuated) and it took a long time to die down after it was over. A very powerful combination.
I felt good seeing what I saw, even though I imagine that it’s not all correct. They can mix somehow. And each person will experience these differently. I have a woman friend who gets infactuated with short, bald men. She is my height 5’11"(180cm) and quite masculine.
The thing I’m seeing with addictions is it’s simply and literally down to nothing but my choice. Do I go the addiction route or a different way? There’s literally nothing else to it. Any emotional struggle or conflict about it is essentially a sham, me trying to convince myself it’s not my choice and making it into a bigger thing than it is.
It’s just a matter of … do you want it (the object of addiction)? If the answer is yes then you will pursue it. If the answer is no you won’t. And you can figure out what the answer is based on what you find yourself doing .
Also it’s not a one-time choice. You choose it each time. And nothing says you can’t change that choice.
If you put love under a microscope you can begin to see that this whole construct we call love consists of things such as :
The image you have of your partner (usually seen through a rose coloured lens and not a clear appraisal of the person).
Beliefs about what you mean to them and what they mean to you (these will constantly shift depending on how you feel and where you place yourself within the relationship).
Plans, schemes, fantasies about ‘your future’ together.
Stories about your past together, how you met, what brought you together, how you might be special for each other etc.
The expectations, rules, regulations that you feel you need to operate under and equally the ones she ‘ought’ to operate under as you are in a loving relationship.
Your shared values.
Somewhat of an acting out of what you and your partner believe love is meant to be (conditioned through various forms of media and what we observe all around in the world from a young age).
And lots more, this list is more of an idea to get started!
What you might see is that there is some slight variation around the edges in how love plays itself out but at core it plays out the same way across all people within a culture, it is a universal experience.
Now the question is, what makes love so predictable? Why are couples who are ‘in love’ acting somewhat the same, why is it that it is never original, authentic, unique?
The more this is looked into the more it becomes clear that all couples are to an extent ‘acting out’ of the same script (of what love is believed to be in the particular culture they find themselves in). I.e what they learned love to be and what they are now blindly repeating, of course love has a very powerful affective backing so it is not merely an act. It is a very deeply entrenched way of relating, one that does not work however.
The other thing which relates to the points above is you might find that all those stories about yourself and your parter that you hold are not a clear appraisal of the facts of the situation but rather they have an affective tinge to them, they are coloured and as such distorted by love and the feelings it involves.
Hence why it is possible to love someone and see them as a god one day and say after learning that they cheated see them as the most despicable creature on earth, yet the same person has been there all along.
Oh shoot and I forgot to mention the most prominent aspect of that ‘script’, also perhaps most damaging one!
You might find that being in love at core requires and reinforces the belief in the gender identities and the roles that they must fulfil, this reinforces the already existing power structure within a society, typically with the man holding somewhat of a position of authority and the woman being the gate keeper of Love. This structure leads to conflict and away from intimacy.