Thursday, September 30, 2004

Passionate love goes deeper than sex

Passionate love goes deeper than sex

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Thursday, September 30, 2004 1:27 AM

Part 1 of 2 parts

Love is such a tricky reality that scientists have studied it well over the years. In spite of the countless thousands of pages written about the nature of love, there is still a lot of controversy about it. Perhaps it is because various cultures see love and define it differently.

Those who arrange marriages in a number of societies surely frown on our concept of courtship. Who marries whom should not, in their view, be decided by youngsters but rather by elders who know better. That would cause a mini-rebellion if such a custom was imposed here. We would be hard-pressed to accept that couples who are married by the choice of their parents love each other.

Regardless, there are scientists who have written about love and sliced it into many different pieces depending on its kind. You might argue with them, but then people always debate when it concerns love.

We often refer to love as “passionate.” That label usually implies a lot of intense feelings and no small measure of sex. These scientists, however, have called passionate love dependent love. Two of them, (Hatfield and Walster) defined passionate love as “a state of intense absorption in another. Sometimes lovers are those who long for their partners and for complete fulfillment. Sometimes lovers are those who are ecstatic at finally having attained their partner’s love and, momentarily, complete fulfillment. It is a state of intense psychological arousal.”

That is “psychological” arousal, not sexual arousal, although sexual arousal would also be present. But the emphasis is not on sexual arousal if it is true passionate love but rather on what’s happening in the heart.

A scientist named Tennov argues that passionate love has the following components. This is what happens when two people FALL in love as opposed to BEING in love. The following elements, remember, describe what happens during the early stages of falling in love.

1. “Lovers find it impossible to work, to study, to do anything but think about the beloved.”
I can agree with this point because I have seen it repeated again and again, and not just with teenagers.

2. “They long to be loved in return.” This is obvious unless the main purpose of falling in love is deception in order to satisfy oneself and take advantage of the other.3. “Their mood fluctuates wildly; they are ecstatic when they hope they might be loved, despairing when they feel they’re not.”

4. “They find it impossible to believe they could ever love again.” This is perhaps one of the saddest consequences of failed passionate loving. The jilted one actually feels that she has lost the capacity to love again and no amount of talking to will succeed in making her believe it isn’t so.

5. “They fantasize about how it would go if their partner declared his or her love for them.” This is a big problem because lovers tend to spend too much time fantasizing and not enough time looking at reality.

More tomorrow.


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