Tag Archives: Falling in Love

What is Confluent Love?

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Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

What is an “Unhealthy” Romantic Love?

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Fig. 3.1 “A Couple Having a Fight” by David Castillo Dominici (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

    A true romantic love is said to be a sincere and based on mutual self-giving. People must avoid a one-sided affair where one partner in a romantic relationship is just using the other to satisfy his or her own needs. Sadly, there are people who allow this type of love and allow their partners to manipulate them, most probably because of lack of options. This particularly true for people who desperately look for a romantic partner despite being used by the other. A person who is single with mature age or a young person who is pressured by his or her peer group and relatives to have a boyfriend or girlfriend may cling to an unhealthy or one-sided romantic love. As the following lyrics of the song “I can’t live without you” by the Bad Company illustrate:

The first time you deceived me, it nearly broke my heart
What hurts me most was I’m the last to know
So lately I’ve been thinking, thinking ’bout you
I know deep in my heart you had to go

Last night when I told you, you looked into my eyes
A wicked smile just spread across your face
You know I can’t resist you, no matter what you do
The way you treat me babe, it’s a disgrace [1]

According to the great Winston Churchill, an “[i]mmature love says, I love you because I need you, mature love says, I need you because I love you.” A true and mature romantic relationship does not use the other for selfish reasons. True love allows both partners to grow as persons and does not manipulate or use the other. Here’s an example of a one-sided and unhealthy types of romantic relationship. The lack of option is one important reason why people stay in a one-sided love affair. Obviously, this type of romance is not true love:

     “I don’t really know if I can call it love, but I really care for this guy in my college. I had always been a reserved, socially awkward individual. I never really dated any guy in my school years because I couldn’t even look in the eyes of a man without blushing!… However, I am a changed person today—more confident, smart, straight forward and honest. This guy in my college was the FIRST guy who told me “I am falling for you”. He told me he thought I was beautiful. It took over a month to finally tell him a yes, because I was afraid if he would hurt my feeble heart. The thing about me is that if I love, I love unconditionally….And so we spend a lot of time together and during one of our conversations he told me about his psychological condition—he had split personality, was a socially disconnected individual and couldn’t handle relationships. He told me about how his “falling in love” phase lasted only four hours to a few days… But the more I knew about his flaws, the more I loved him.

      Over time, I empathized so much with him that I ended up mirroring his emotions and his personality… I also realized that the only reason he sticks around with me is because 1) I am regularly at work and is a good student at college. Hence, I can inform him of assignments to be submitted and college holidays. 2) He said he can’t afford a girlfriend at the moment and I am available at a ‘cheaper price’ and mostly free because I don’t demand for anything. 3) I am a girl and he is a guy and he can satisfy his ‘needs’….[2]

      No! This is certainly not the way I wanted a man to love me. But I continued to remain in this one-sided, broken relationship in the craving and greed for the temporary happiness I gained when I was with him. I’ve lost all my self-respect; I have begun to value him more than I value myself. I know this isn’t good, but I just can’t get over him and I just don’t seem to find the true love I have been looking for my entire 19 years.

      Love and intimacy go hand in hand in romantic love. But this must be felt by both partners. Love is the physical, emotional, sexual, intellectual, or social affection one person holds for another, while intimacy is the close relationship of two people where mutual acceptance, nurturance, and trust are shared at some level.

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Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

   But not all romantic relationships can blossom into real love. Because of some psychological issues faced by people in romantic love as well as incompatibilities in terms of personal trait and character between lovers, the initial feeling of love or infatuation can turn into an “unhealthy” romantic relationship. People who experience the following types of love are advised to leave the relationship and move on to search their true and meaningful love.

    The most common types of unhealthy romantic love include obsessive love, unrequited love, and deceptive love.

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Source: Saved from hug2love.com (Pinterest)

References

 [1] http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/badcompany/icantlivewithoutyou.html.

[2] “I am in Love” by Nandana96 in www.experienceproject.com.

What Makes Women Sexy? (Part II)

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 Photo credit: shutterstock.com

     Love in the sense of sexual passion is a common feature of societies. But romantic love is different from sexual love. Romantic love is all about emotional communication and the attractiveness of the other. It carries with it the idea of intimacy because one falls in love specifically with the qualities of the other. It tells a forward-looking story or narrative about the lovers and creates a biography, not just for one person, but for two people (Giddens & Pierson, 1998). Sexual love is temporary and focused on physical attraction and beauty of the partners and not on the quality of the romantic relationship and  personal traits and personalities of the lovers. Falling in love is the beginning of love, but not the end in itself. Here is another set of physical traits that make women sexy and attractive to men:

  1. Less Makeup

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 Fig. 2 “Asian Woman Relaxing on the Grass” by Feelart (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

This criterion is cultural. It depends on one’s culture. In remote, rural areas, make up is not necessary. But if one is living in a highly urbanized place or in the corporate world, makeup is necessary. Just avoid too much makeup.  Applying a make-up on the face can enhance the woman’s beauty and attract the attention from men. But too much make-up can be a turn off. Some studies revealed that men tend to be attracted to women who have less makeup.

     3. Nice Butt

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 Fig. 3 “Sensual Woman Wearing Black Corset” by stockimages (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      Based on various studies and one recently done by Cosmopolitan, the sexiest part of female body parts is not the boobs as popularly believed by many people. According to this study, the second female body part that men find the sexiest is the butt. Women can make up for a lack of chest with their butt. Surveys showed that men can be happy with all sorts of shapes and sizes when it comes down to the bottom. An attractive butt is a sign of the woman’s health, vitality and fertility. It can also imply that “a woman has a narrow waist, she’s not pregnant. And if she has broad hips it means that the underlying skeletal morphology is probably such that she’d be able to have a relatively unencumbered childbirth.” Moreover, the fat stored in women’s butts — called gluteofemoral fat — has unique long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids  that are important for babies’ brain development. A nice butt can also indicate the partner’s l good health condition.

      3. Big Chests and Breasts

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 Fig. 4 “Big Breasts on the Work” by Patrisyu (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      Men are generally attracted to big chests and breasts. Revealing cleavage can definitely attract men to their women. “Since a long time back, it has been believed that men are attracted to women who are healthy and are able to reproduce. Breasts are a sign of fertility as they portray the notion that the woman would be able to bear children as well as nourish them.” Men are less drawn to women’s breasts in tropical climates than in cold climates. Men from cultures whose women are always fully clothed in public, tend to be especially ‘appreciative’ of a lady’s bosoms.

     4. Beautiful Lips

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 Fig. 5 “Girl Applying Red Lip Gloss to her Lips” by Stuart Miles (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

     Lips is another female body part that men find sexy. Fuller and plumber looking lips really make a man take a second glance. One study carried by scientists at Manchester University involving the tracking of the eye movement of 50 men as they were presented with images of women revealed that participants spent more time gazing at the women’s lips that other parts of the face. This is particularly true when the women applied lipstick. They spent an average of 7 seconds for the lips, 0.95 second for the eyes, and 0.85 studying the hair. They specifically attracted to women with full lips wearing red lipstick. This study proved that the lips can be one of the most sensual aspects of a woman’s body which can play a crucial role in human sexual attraction.

      5. Beautiful Smile

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 Fig. 6 (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      Men are most attracted to a woman’s smile because it shows that the man is making them happy. Not many men are able to resist a beautiful smile from a woman. Women’s beautiful smile can also charm men, and serve as an invitation to them to establish friendship or romantic relationship with them. A study at the University of British Columbia found that men are more attracted to women who smiled more. But women are less attracted to men who tend to smile and prefer guys who keep a straight face. The song “Words” by the Bee Gees captured the charm of a woman’s  smile to men:

“Smile an everlasting smile,
A smile can bring you near to me
Don’t ever let me find you gone
‘Cause that could bring a tear to me….”

     6. Curvy  Hips

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Fig. 7 “Sexy Woman Ass In Black Thong” by stockimages (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

          A girl or woman with a curved hip is generally seen by men as sexy. There is too much billboards and advertisements showing women with curved hips that has molded the consciousness of the male species that a curvy woman is sexy. ‘A girl who flaunts with a curved hip is just proving to men that she knows how to move, and there’s nothing a guy finds sexier than that. Surveys showed that men prefer women with curvier hips – the more meat the better.

     7. Nice Stomach

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Fig. 8 “Elegant Woman Posing In Black Lingerie” Stock Photo (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

       The men surveyed were all attracted to the softness of the skin in the torso area and most of them said they love some abdomen and muscle definition, but not too much—they want to see a little feminine curve there.

     Please follow this blog for more scientific insights on romance and romantic love. Next post: Why Color Red Makes People Sexy?

What Makes Women Sexually Attractive to Men? (Part 1)

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Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

Introduction

    Men fall in love with women for some reasons. It is not accidental. The first meeting may be accidental, but developing strong feelings for the other is based on their socialization or upbringing in the past. True love does not happen during the first encounter or date. It develops through time, after one partner realizes the personality, values, attitudes, and outlook in life of the other. But it can begin with the first sight of the other. But the attraction is not primarily biological but social. A man can easily fall with a woman if it reminds him of some traits or experiences he encountered in the past. To some researchers,  a man can fall in love with a woman if one or some of the following traits or acts are present during the first encounter.

     1. Bone Structure that Resembles that of their Mother.

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     This is known as “sexual imprinting” coined by researchers. Mothers’ presence and child care during formative years have a strong effect for men. The physical structure and image of the mother has a strong influence to men’s choice on the type of women they would fall in love with. Women who resemble in personal and physical traits with their male partners’ mothers can most likely get the attention from men they fall in love with. With regard to physical attributes, some research suggest that men would most likely fall in love with women whose bone structure resembles that of their mothers. Of course, this theory presupposes that this type of men had good nurturing experience with their mothers during childhood and formative years. If not, then men would fall in love with women whose bone structure resembles with that of their surrogate mothers or women who took good care of them during childhood. The bone structure of the women during the first encounter or date would immediately remind the male partners of their mother’s image and physical presence. Most Japanese men love to be pampered by their mothers as part of their culture. Thus, they would most likely fall in love with women whose physical presence, such as similarity of bone structure, can remind them of their nurturing mothers.

  1. Low Waist-to-Hip Ratio

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Fig 1. “Woman with Jewelry and Long Hair” by Marin (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Low waist-to-hip ratio (in which the waist is significantly narrower that the hips) as more attractive than those with wider waists. Researchers at University of Texas found that women with a good waist-to-hip ratio may subconsciously signal that a woman has good health and reproductive ability.

  1. Youthful Features

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Fig 2. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

    A study from the journal Current Anthropology found that men from five different cultures showed a preference for females with youthful features like large eyes, a small nose, and full lips. The findings showed that men subconsciously seek out partners who are most likely to reproduce. Youthful features of women are related to their level of fertility and capacity to produce offspring.

    Not all men, however, are attracted to youthful partners. This depends of the socialization and family experience of the partner. Men or women who are very close to their nurturing fathers or mothers tend to be attracted to more mature features of their partners. These are the kind of people who are looking for a “father or mother figure” in their romantic relationships to remind them of their nurturing experience during childhood and adolescence.

   4. Long or Moderately Long Hair

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  Fig 3. “Close-up Shot of Beauty Woman in Designer Blue Top” by  Photostock (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      Women with moderately long hair or anything close to shoulder length as that looks feminine. However, there are men who fall in love with women with short hair. A person’s hair contributes a lot to the final appearance of the person. The hair has an aesthetic function. That’s why the beauty parlor business is attractive to women. A woman’s hair is often thought of as a defining feature of her femininity. Depending on the man’s wish list, a beautiful hair is an important women’s asset to get men’s attention. A long straight hair is usually attractive to men, although there are some guys who prefer a short one. Women do a lot of things on their hair to alter their looks and convey their personality to men.

  1. Beautiful Eyes

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  Fig 4. “A Portrait of Attractive Asian Woman” by Tiverylucky (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      The eyes are the windows of the soul. Nothing attracts a man other than beautiful eyes, pair of blue, hazel or brown eyes are actually the killer, provides calm, comfort and warmth to the males. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the chest or bust as the number one female part that men find most attractive but the eyes. According to Cosmopolitan, men ranked the eyes as the top body part because no matter how different the taste can be—about hair, chest butt, legs, feet—every man can be disarmed with a sexy glance. The eyes are aid to be the window of the soul. The lyrics of the monster hit “For the First Time” by Kenny Loggins captures the importance of women’s eyes for men who fall in time on the first encounter:

“For The First Time”

Are those your eyes, is that your smile
I’ve been lookin at you forever
But I never saw you before
Are these your hands holdin’ mine
Now I wonder how I could of been so blind

For the first time I am looking in your eyes
For the first time I’m seein’ who you are
I can’t believe how much I see
When you’re lookin back at me
Now I understand why love is…
Love is… for the first time..

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Part II of this post will explore how the color red, make-up, and other things can make women attractive. Follow this blog for more update on its Romantic Love Series. Thanks for your support and cheers!

Male Physical Traits Attractive to Women

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Photo: “Lovers” by photostock (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

On Physical Traits

     Romantic love often begins with physicality. People are embodied beings and communicate with the world through their bodies. In cultures where marriages are arranged, physicality is not a major problem in the selection of partners. But in urban and advanced societies with strong emphasis on romantic love and falling in love before marriage, physical looks play an important role in the selection of partners. Research has shown that it only takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes for a person to fall in love at first sight or fancy someone. And what usually attracts the person during this moment is not what the other says, but what his or her presence projects through body language (55%) and the tone and speed of the voice (38%). The content of what the person says is only 7%.

      There has to be some sort of physical basis before two strangers fall in love. People have some minimum standards of beauty which he or she learned through social learning. This is usually attuned to his or her cultural upbringing and taste. Thus, “loving one’s own” is a common pattern in falling in love. People with similar culture, race, ethnicity, social class, religion, geographical location, and social categories usually more disposed to fall in love with each than those with more dissimilarities and cultural incompatibilities. Cultural similarities reduce a lot of social barriers that make the love relationship easier to maintain. A study published in the journal  Psychological Science found that men who live in cultures where food and money are scarce tend to find heavier women more attractive than thinner ones. These men may see the extra pounds as a status symbol; a buxom figure signals having the means to purchase plenty of food.

      People with similar cultural background share similar standards of beauty and are, therefore, more likely to fall in love than complete cultural strangers. Of course, with the advent of digital technology and the Internet, people’s standards of physical beauty may become hybrid or mixed, especially to those who are heavy users of the multi-cultural world wide web. Cultural diffusion through the Internet can change people’s standards of beauty and love and can make them accepting of foreign standards of falling in love.

      It’s probable that a person “falls in love for the first time” because of the physical presence of the other as resembling somebody, whether real or imagined, whom he or she idolizes or had a crush, whether a celebrity, a friend, former classmate or officemate or anybody he or she had been attracted to. The person’s wish list of an ideal romantic partner immediately become active during the first encounter and “falls in love” with somebody he or she has not been known acquainted with. Although popularly considered as “love at first sight”, experts and moralists do not generally consider this as love but infatuation and only a first step towards true love. Using biological theory, Helen Fisher of Rutgers University also considers “love at first sight” as only the first of the 3 stages of love: lust, attraction and attachment. For her, the first stage of love is only lust. This is the amazing moment when two people are driven by the sex hormones of testosterone and estrogen. In the second stage, the couple is truly love-struck and can think of little else. And in the third and attachment stage, the couple is bonded together long enough to have and raise children.

Based on many research studies, the following physical traits are generally attractive to women:

        1. Taller than their Women

Height matters in falling in love. Women are generally attracted to men who are taller than them. Taller men have a bigger body frame, and thus, have stronger physical strength and more capable of protecting their romantic partners.

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  Fig. 1 “Young Hugging Couple” by Marcolm (Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      “A 2014 research conducted by professors at Rice University and the University of Northern Texas found out that out of around 1000 Yahoo! Personal Dating ads, nearly 50% of women claimed that they’d prefer to date a man who’s taller than they were.” Thus, height still matters. Tall men are usually attractive to women because of the popular belief that they can provide more protection to their female partners that shorter ones. But take note that this doesn’t mean that men should be very tall to be attractive to women. This study only suggests that the male partner must be at least a little taller than the female partner and not shorter. The average height of men and women of a particular culture of countries applies here. Southeast Asian men such as Indonesians, Thais and Filipinos are generally shorter than Caucasian European or American men. So what is the average height for men in a given culture is still socially acceptable as long as male lovers are taller than their female partners. What is generally unacceptable is that the male partner is shorter than the female partner. In this case, it seems the woman is physically stronger and providing protection to her male partner which is considered as a reversal of roles; thus, culturally unacceptable.

      But people must not make this height requirement absolute as there are couples who are happy with shorter male partners. For older people, what matters more in a relationship are intimacy, companionship, social status of the partner, and financial security rather than the height and other physical attributes of their partners. By age, the youth and young adults seem to value this requirement of height than older people.

  1. Athletic Body

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  Fig. 2 “Portrait Muscular Male” by domdeen (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

       Researchers have found out of all the body shapes, women in general seem to prefer a “V-shaped” athletic body of their men. Respondents say a strong and well-defined musculature on the upper body and a narrow and slim waist. “Because body type is a reliable indicator of health and fertility, men are more attracted to women with a lower waist-to-hip (WHR) ratio and an average body mass index (BMI), neither thin nor plump, because these are associated with youth and sexual maturity.”

   3. Slower Movements

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  Fig. 3 “Young Romantic Couple” by imagerymajestic (Image courtesy of DigitalFreePhotos.net)

       Researchers have found that men who have slower movements and speech are often perceived as more at ease and confident, and thus, more attractive. This particularly true in first date or where the partners are still cautious with one another. The male can give a good impression if he is slower in his verbal and nonverbal communication that allows the female partner to be at ease in the social interaction. “Stay calm and lean back in the beginning to persuade your partner that you are safe, trustworthy, and likable. Lean in and get more energetic once you’ve earned their trust, to motivate them to become excited about the prospect of seeing you again.” Slower movements can also indicate good manners, confidence, gentleness, and good breeding.

    4. Smaller Belly

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Fig. 4 “Portrait Muscular Male Torso” by Domdeen (Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

A large amount of abdominal fat can indicate lower levels of testosterone and lower sex drive and fertility. It’s absolutely no surprise that women love that washboard stomach. The ripples are the epitome of what a man is defined by. Some women didn’t necessarily require rock hard ab, but a flat stomach is important just the same.

  1. Deeper Voices

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 Fig. 5 “Young Businessman Talking to Client” by stockimages (Image courtesy  of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      Men with deeper voices are more likely to appear attractive or make an impression than those with higher voices. Deeper voices are generally associated with masculinity and power while higher voices are associated with femininity and weaker strength. According to a group of researchers from University College London, women perceive men with a deeper voice as a sign of a larger and stronger physicality.

       6. Symmetrical Face

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Fig. 2.7 “Portrait of Handsome Model” by imagerymajestic (Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

An Austrian study found out that women prefer male faces that are symmetrical with evenly spaced eyes (which are often considered a sign of good health).

       7. Alpha Male Features

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 Fig. 2.8  “Smiling Man With Towel” by imagerymajestic (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

      Heterosexual females tend to be physically or sexually attracted to men with traditionally masculine features such as a muscular frame, a square jaw, big nose and small yes. These physical traits often signify higher levels of testosterone, and are more common in “alpha males”, males with a set of personality traits that include directness, decisiveness, and intensity.

  1. Attractive  Eyes

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  Fig. 2.9 “Smiling Young Couples” by imagerymajestic (Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

       Many women attracted to men’s eyes. The Eyes is the window to the person’s soul. The sincerity and character of the person can sometimes be glimpsed through the expression of his eyes. An eye movement can give a lot of clues to women with regard to the kind of men they are dating with.

      Moreover, researchers speculated that human beings are naturally drawn to what’s most familiar, and eye and hair color indicates familiarity and thus induces attraction. Women are usually attracted to men whose eye color is similar with those of their father’s.

      9. Nice Butt

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Fig.2.9.1 “Back Pose of Smart Young Guy” by stockimages (Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

         In one survey in the United Kingdom with 1000 respondents, women find the male body parts, according to rank, as the sexiest which can turn them on. Women are generally attracted to athletic men with nice butts. Some respondents wrote that they love those “half-moon” butts, while others preferred the “slightly curvaceous” ones. Men with honed hips are also attractive to women.

    Despite all these attractive physical traits, true love is beyond physicality. It also includes mutual self-giving, strength of character, good personal values, and the capacity to commit one’s self to marriage.

 

What is a True Love?

 

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Fig. 1. “Attractive Young Couple In Love” by Serge Bertasius Photography (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

 

Introduction

Judge whether this short love note indicates true love or not:

(From the column “Joe the Mango’s LoveNotes” [unedited])

Dear Joe,

I find it hard to believe that broken dreams could become a part of my life. I’m truly sad for the simple reason that my life isn’t really doing fine. Once in a while, I look back to the past , trying to figure out what went wrong. At 22, I think I’ve had enough disappointments and frustration in life.

Remembering my school days, it seemed that everything was simple and easier then, the “home-school” routine may prove boring but I understand that’s part of growing up. Somehow, I realized learning is a life- long process, for there are bigger lessons in life to learn.

May 1995, I got my first job as a banker. Amidst my pressure-filled work days , I never thought love could come my way. It did but to my disappointment I eventually lost it. After all that’s been said and done, I’m still holding on to the memories.

I met Alfred and already liked him the first time I saw him. Even then, he showed signs of interests for me. Though we had no real relationship, I know he had done his part trying to get close to me. Out of foolishness, I was not able to express my real feelings for him. I pretended I didn’t care. Maybe I was afraid to take a chance, thinking what we felt was only temporary, considering most of our colleagues were against us. There were times when I intentionally avoided him. But I realized I was in love with him.

I thought that when I met Alfred, the right time had come. I was happy knowing that what I felt for Alfred was something real. Sad to say, nothing seemed right between us.

Each day was disappointing . We kept on fooling around and there were times when I thought of giving up everything, including my job. I never wanted to see him again and stop playing a game I know I’ll never win.

But I couldn’t let go. It took sometime for me to accept he’s not here anymore, that he will never come back to me.

How I wish I had let him known how much he meant to me. I wonder if he’s happy , now that he’s free. Somehow I can’t stop thinking there could be another chance for us to meet again. I’ll be waiting for that time.

How can I really face everyday that comes when my mind and heart still lament over the past? To forget the past is to forget Alfred. Joe, I really hope your words of advice can help me clear my mind.

Sincerely yours,
Laarni

Distinguish Infatuation from True Love

In order to appreciate the reality of true love, it is better that people must first distinguish between infatuation and real love. Infatuation is the earliest stage of falling in love or what people would commonly call as “love at first sight”. Infatuation is the intense feelings associated with falling in love. However, it starts and ends quickly. In infatuation, a person instantly falls in love with someone he or she knows nothing about. Thus, when he or she discovers after an initial encounter that his or her first date is different from what he or she expects, the intense feeling immediately evaporates and he or she moves on to find another partner. Relationship coach Chana Leviton characterized infatuation as a powerful connection to someone that leaves a person feeling out of control and possessed by his or her feelings. It strikes the person without warning by someone he or she may not have nothing in common or even dislike. Infatuation is irrational and unrealistic. Since the initial interaction with the person is too short to allow deeper acquaintance, the feelings of attraction in infatuation are superficial and based on false assumptions about the true character of the partner. Of course, there are cases that infatuation can also lead to true love. But more often it can result in frustration and separation after the initial encounter.

Since infatuation is a fleeting experience and feeling of falling in love, many social scientists do not consider this as “real” love. Moralists call infatuation as lust and not love in a sense that it is more sexual and self-centered. “Real” love is said to take time and is realistic. Infatuation is a fleeting feeling of intense attraction with no knowledge of real personality and character between partners. It can, at times, become a starting point for true love if the partner decides to continue their romantic relationship despite the initial discovery of incompatibilities, but in itself, infatuation can hardly be called a real mutual self-giving between partners.

“Real” love, on the one hand, has a positive effect on the person’s personality. Infatuation, on the other hand, has a disorganizing negative effect to the person falling in love. It can leave him or her unable to sleep, eat or concentrate. It can make him/her “possessive” and prone to bouts of jealousy. Real love, on the contrary, makes the person energetic, creative, and purposeful. It makes him or her trustful of the other and feel secure. So the real indicator whether the initial experience of falling in love is a mere infatuation or a real beginning of a true love seems to the type of effect or impact of the initial encounter of the partners in their daily life. If the general effect of the falling in love at the beginning is negative, i.e., the person loses control of his or her life of the intense feeling, then it is most likely an infatuation. But if the general effect is positive, i.e., the initial feeling of love makes the partners more inspired to reach their life goals, happy, and productive in their daily routine, then it is most likely the falling in love is not just an infatuation but probably the beginning of true romance, love, and commitment.

Romantic partners who share similar traits and level of attractiveness are more likely to end together for a longer period than those who look significantly different. Many social researchers believe that there is a pattern on how people choose their mates or romantic relationships. The matching hypothesis indicate that people who are more attracted to others who share a similar attraction level with them.

couple

Fig. 2 True love takes time and has a positive effect on personality (“Couple with their Girl Child Looking Upwards” by stockimages [Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net])

 

Common Signs of Falling in Love

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Figure:“Daydreaming” by chokphoto (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

A person who falls in love usually thinks that his or her beloved is unique and super special. This belief is accompanied by the inability to feel romantic passion for others. Since each person has a unique social upbringing and cultural orientation, manifestations and signs of falling in love may differ from one individual to another. But those who live in urban societies, the feeling of falling in love is generally associated with the following behavioral manifestations:

    1.Tend to see their beloved as “perfect”

People who fall in love tend to be blinded on the negative traits of their beloved. They tend to focus on the positive qualities of their beloved, while overlooking his or her negative traits. They also focus on trivial events and objects that remind them of their loved one, daydreaming about these precious little moments and mementos.

   2. Experience emotional and physiological instability.

People who just fall in love with another person usually experience some sleepless nights thinking about their loved ones and emotional instability.
Some studies show that falling in love can often lead to emotional and physiological instability. The person in love often bounces between exhilaration, euphoria, increased energy, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, trembling, a racing heart and accelerated breathing, as well as anxiety, panic and feelings of despair when his or her relationship suffers even the smallest setback. These mood swings are said to parallel with those of the behavior of drug addicts.

  1. Spend much time thinking about beloved.

From the moment the person wakes up in the morning to the moment he or she goes to sleep at night, the person who falls in love often thinks of the beloved. He or she spends more time entertaining intrusive thoughts about the other. “Those who are in love report that they spend, on average, more than 85 percent of their waking hours musing over their “love object.”

  1. Feel a strong empathy for the other.

The awareness and concentration of the person who falls in love revolve around the beloved.  People who are in love generally feel a powerful sense of empathy toward their beloved, feeling the other person’s pain as their own and being willing to sacrifice anything for the other person. There is a sense of unity between the person who falls in love and his or her beloved. The pain and happiness of one is also the pain and happiness of the other. But this sense of unity between two married persons is different from the sense of unity in falling in love during the first date. Marital union is founded on reality, i.e., on the real knowledge of the character and personality of the partners, while in romance and infatuation, the union is usually  based on fantasy and imagination.

  1. Feel emotionally dependent on the relationship.

People in love regularly exhibit signs of emotional dependency on their relationship, including possessiveness, jealousy, fear of rejection, and separation anxiety.

  1. Daydream of spending their life with the beloved forever.

People who fall in love tend to spend much time thinking that one day they could spend the rest of their life with the beloved. They long for emotional union with their beloved, seeking out ways to get closer and daydreaming about their future together.

  1. Smile more often while thinking about the beloved.

People who are in love tend to smile while thinking about their beloved alone. They experience weird, giddy feelings of happiness, even when they’re not physically present to that special person. They tend to smile more than the usual, especially if something can remind them of their beloved such as a romantic text, post, email, e-card, etc.

The strong feeling of falling in love with another person during the first encounter or date could not be considered as real or true love. It is an initial stage of personal acquaintance between partners, and an infantile and precarious phase in the long process of attaining true love. This stage is often called as infatuation. Young people tend  to consider infatuation as true love.  But there is a big difference between infatuation and real or authentic love. The former is unstable and fleeting, while the latter is stable, mature, and long lasting: ‘Till Death do as part.” As Churchill would say: “True love is falling in love many times with the same person.”