Is it Natural to Fall in Love?

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Introduction

Have you experienced falling in love? What was it like? Did it feel natural? Is love forever? Here’s the love story of Kenneth:

“Just call me Kenneth. I’m 27 years old, with a swell job at one of the biggest networks in the country. My girlfriend, Clarissa, is very pretty, smart, understanding, religious and very loving. She has all the qualities you’re looking for in a girl and she’s the kind of girl you’d want to spend the rest of your life with.

My problem is that I haven’t really treated her right. Instead of spending time with her, I went out with my friends and co-workers. I flirted with other women in front of her. She never said a word, and remained devoted to me. We lived together for three months when her mother went to the US for a vacation, and she was like a wife to me. She prepared everything for me, from the time I woke up till I went to bed. She wouldn’t let a day pass without telling me she loved me.

There were so many things I couldn’t put into words and so many words I couldn’t put into actions, she submitted herself to me. It made me love her more but it made me take her more for granted, thinking that she was mine forever.

Until last December, Joe. A day before Christmas , she told me she was pregnant. I was startled and speechless, thinking I was going to be a father. But she told me that I was not the father of her child. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even notice the tears pouring down my cheeks. I was hurt. i couldn’t accept that she went to bed with another man.

At that moment, I felt like killing myself. I hated myself for being so selfish and nor appreciating her. I never cherished her.

She called me the other week to tell me that she’s leaving the country to marry the other guy. She told me she was leaving me for good this time and that she loved me very much.

Why is she doing this to me, Joe? I don’t want her to marry him. I want to stop her and marry her even if the child is not mine. I want to take care of her and show her how i truly love her, appreciate her. how can i stop her, Joe? What should I do? I feel like I’m in a quicksand, the more I struggle out of it, the more it eats me up. I’ve been so depressed lately and I couldn’t even concentrate on my job. I feel like I can’t go on anymore.”(https://letstalkaboutluv.wordpress.com/tag/joe-d-mango/)

 

Theories on Love

Is romantic love really a natural thing? Or a socially learned phenomenon, and thus one would not die without it?

One biological theory suggests that falling in love is like “being drunk.” The love hormone can make people fall in love, making them “drunk” with erotic passion and altruism. Scientists who prescribed to this theory identified the hormone associated with falling in love as oxytocin, a hormone produced in one part of the brain called hypothalamus which is said to be playing a significant role in bonding, falling in love, and making friendship. To some social scientists at the School of Psychology at Birmingham University, the love hormone of oxytocin has an intoxicating effect to lovers similar to alcohol. It relaxes people and removes their social inhibition, anxiety, and fear when falling in love with their partners. It increases their pro-social behavior such as generosity, empathy, and trust and makes them feel more relaxed, happy, and confident in their romantic relationship.

The biological approach to romantic love suggests that falling in love is primarily influenced by people’s biological or physiological make-up and not by the social environment is somehow unacceptable to sociologists. To sociologists, falling in love is basically a socially-learned experience and behavior, determined by societal factors and not merely by hormones. The biological and bodily reactions felt by people when they fall in love are triggered and shaped by cultural forces outside the self. In the sociology of emotions, for instance, sociologists believe that people’s emotions are determined by society and culture. Thus, people’s deep feelings and emotions of love are primarily a product of cultural and social conditioning. In the same manner, people’s romantic feelings and expressions are learned and shaped by the local culture and not solely by biology. In many primitive societies, for instance, where arranged marriages and betrothals are common cultural practice, romantic love between the bride and groom is not a prerequisite for marriage. The feeling of falling in love and romance is nonexistent in these societies because there are no romantic things and expectations that can trigger the so-called love hormones and people’s minds are not ideologically conditioned to fall in love. Therefore, the idea that people must fall in love in courtship before marriage is not universal or found in all human societies. In many non-Western societies, couples do not fall in love before marriage. Some couples do not even know each other before the wedding. In these societies, the families and relatives are tasked to find the lifelong partner for their bride or groom and arrange the marriage. In Southern Philippines, a council of Muslim elders decided the marriage between a young and beautiful 20-year old girl and a 60-year old Moro rebel leader who already had 3 wives. The girl neither personally knew nor met him before their wedding. She only knew him through a photo given to her by the council before the ceremony. Thus, there was no falling in love and romantic love between them before marriage. And the marriage seemed to work well and they were blessed with beautiful kids. In Bangladesh, the youngest marriage in the world took place without romance and falling in love. According to 2001 Guinness Book of World Records, the youngest marriage involved an eleven-month-old baby boy and a three-month-old girl. The marriage took place in order to end a twenty-year feud between the children’s families (Delaney, 2012). These two cases illustrate that falling in love is not always required before marriage. It is not a natural or biologically-determined behavior such as drinking or eating which can bring death to the couple without it. People will not die without falling in love and romance. Think of the thousands of celibate Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, and other religious monks and religious who live normal and generous lives despite being unmarried and chaste throughout their life. For sociologists, falling in love and romantic love are social constructions of society that started in the late 18th century in order to preserve the institution of marriage. Because of industrialization, migration, and urbanization, the influence of families and relatives in the arrangement of marriages declined. Thus, society has to create and manage various socialization tools such as romantic music, novels, films, posts, cards, stories, and other romantic things and processes in order to condition people’s minds that to fall in love is natural and a necessity for marriage.

Can One Control to Love and be Loved?

If falling in love and romantic love are socially learned behavior, then people should have some control over them. With sufficient knowledge about what men and women look for in their partners, romantic people, for instance, can change or enhance their looks and appearance. With the advent of modern medicine, cosmetic surgery, and other physical enhancing technology, they can change and improve their looks and appearance to make them attractive to their crushes or partners. They can also manage and improve their personal impressions in social interaction and dating by taking up personality-enhancing courses to make themselves romantically desirable and attractive to others. Through sufficient knowledge on the dynamics of romantic love and falling in love, they can, furthermore, discern which of their suitors are deserving of their true love and which of their romantic relationships is deceptive, obsessive, or authentic and leading towards marital commitment. Finally, they can structure and schedule their social functions to make themselves visible and desirable to people whom they want to establish romantic relationships. It is not true that real love and romance are written in the stars and determined by fate. More often, true love can be found and realized through  scientific knowledge on romantic love and marriage, mature and realistic decision-making process, and proper social positioning and management of the social tools of romantic love.

Love Quotes 

“True love only comes once in a lifetime, so take it as it comes along and enjoy every bit of it while it is still burning strong

This is the true measure of love: When we strongly believe that there is no one else who could give as much love to our partners, nobody from their past, present or future

When you look into the eyes of your love, you see forever, you see warmth and safety, you see two hearts beating together for each other, for the rest of your lives….”(https://letstalkaboutluv.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/love-quotes-from-joe-d-mango/).

 

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What is Confluent Love?

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Confluent love has no commitment or intention to enter into marriage. It is passing and it is good while it lasts.

“It was three years ago when I became friends with a guy I met through a mutual friend. It was hard not to like him. He was sweet, charming and thoughtful. He became the friend I would call when I couldn’t sleep at three in the morning. I woke up one morning and realized I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

I had no illusions about the relationship because I knew he had a girlfriend from the start. I knew I was special to him, but did he love me? I was much too afraid to know the answer. I just held on to what we had, just happy to be with him, knowing deep in my heart that it wouldn’t last and yet hoping against hope that it would.

And then one day he told me his girlfriend was pregnant. I felt like someone had put a knife through my heart and twisted it in really deep. I knew at that moment that I had to let him go. I didn’t want him to see that the happiest day of his life was the saddest day of mine. But though I was slowly dying inside, a part of me
was happy because I knew he was happy. Walking away from him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but I never looked back, afraid that if I did I wouldn’t have the strength to let him go.

It’s been a year now since we last spoke. Even though we made a vow to stay good friends, there was also an unspoken understanding between us that I needed time away from him to give me a chance to heal. There are days when I still miss him badly and I wonder if I can ever really let him go. I know one day I will love again. But for now I just take it one day at a time knowing that if I make it through the day, then tomorrow will be easier” (The happiest and saddest day, By Joe d’Mango).

Sincerely,

Gabrielle

What is Confluent Love?

Confluent love is a type of romantic relationship which is attuned to the present postmodern times. In his book, “The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Societies,” the British sociologist Anthony Giddens (1992) describes confluent love as a type of love which is based on pure relationship. And  pure relationship is a “social relation…entered into for its own sake; and which is continued only in so far as it is thought by both parties to deliver enough satisfaction for each individual to stay within it” (Cornville & Rogers, 1998, p. 97). ‘Unlike romantic love, confluent love is not necessarily monogamous, in the sense of sexual exclusiveness. What holds the pure relationship together is the acceptance on the part of each partner, ‘until further notice’, that each gains sufficient benefit from the relation to make its continuance worthwhile (Giddens, 2011). Romantic love is a type of relationship which is often viewed as ‘forever after’ monogamous love. This type of love prepares people for the lifelong commitment of marital love after courtship and engagement.

Confluent love is different from romantic or marital love. In consensual love, the partners agree to have sexual relations with others whom they have no intention of marrying or, if they marry, do not necessarily see the marriage as having permanence (Kendal, 2014). The essence of confluent love is its contingency. It is not a “till-death-do-us-part” kind of relationship. It lasts as long as the lovers find the relationship mutually fulfilling. Thus, a one-night stand, a regular orgy of couples, or a temporary live-in arrangement or cohabitation with no intention of marrying, are some expressions of confluent love. Furthermore, confluent love, unlike romantic love, is not always monogamous. Sometimes it allows polygamous, bisexual or homosexual relationship. In this sense, confluent love does not conform to the criteria of true love as defined by the Bible and Church teachings. It has no religious dimension. It ends when both or all parties involved feel that the relationship is no longer working and satisfying. “The emergent morality of confluent love recognizes the rights of individual to happiness and appropriateness of ending relationships that are no longer experienced as fulfilling” (Goodwin & Cramer, 2009, p. 48). This emerging concept of love and commitment, facilitated by the liquidity of the world by the process of globalization and secularization, contravenes the religious understanding of marital love as sacred and a lifetime commitment.