Tag Archives: Romantic love

The Origin of Romantic Love

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 Photo credit: FreDigitalPhotos.net

    The idea of romantic love and falling in love before marriage started to become a popular trend and practice in Western industrialized societies only in the late eighteenth century with the rise of modernity in Europe. During the Middle Ages, virtually no one married for love. There was, in fact, a medieval saying that “To love one’s wife with one’s emotion is adultery.” People entered into marriage, during this period, primarily to keep property in the hands of the family and to raise children to work in the family farm (Giddens and Girffiths, 2006, p.205).     The concept of courtly love, a medieval European concept of nobile and chivalrous love, generally secret and between members of the nobility, precipitated the rise of romantic love in the 19th century. “Chevaliers, or knights in the Middle Ages, engaged in what were usually non-physical and non-marital relationships with women of nobility of whom they served.” The birth of romantic love coincided more or less with the emergence of the novel as a literary form, and the spread of romantic novels. Love stories in romantic novels played a vital role of popularizing the idea of romantic love (Radway in Giddens and Griffiths, p. 205).  The term “romantic love” is said to have been coined only in the 19th century by the literary critic Gaston Paris to denote a particular constellation of attitudes and patterns of behavior that characterized a body of literature arising in Provence in the 12th century (Paris, 1983 cited in Karandashev, 2015, p.4).

        Romantic love is a deep physical and emotional attraction. It generally involves a mix of emotional and sexual desire: emotional highs, exhilaration, passion, and elation. It is a type of feeling that is passionate, fanciful, expressive, and pleasurable from an emotional attraction towards another person (Karandashev, 2015, p.4). Lantz (1982) defined romantic love as “a love based on personal-emotional attraction, with a strong erotic component which is often repressed because of moral conflict.” Its main features include idealization of the loved one, the notion of a one and only, and the idea that true love overcomes all obstacles. This is different from conjugal love in marriage which is developed over extend periods of time and is based on feelings of appreciation, loyalty and admiration, stemming from the sharing of common experiences (Lantz, 1982, p. 349).

       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.

12 signs to move on

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What is an Unrequited Love?

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Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

The Way I Love You (A Letter To My Loved One)[1]

Dearly beloved,

When i first met you,
I knew you were special.
Something clicked inside me,
that knew this was the beginning
of something surreal.

For as long as I can remember,
I have dreams of fairytales
and love stories;
but they have never come close
to our story.

You have made me see
that life has so much to offer.
You encourage me to aspire
to be my best.

Without you,
I would have been stuck in
a cobweb,
of questions about
my self worth.

Now I can look in the mirror
and tell myself
that I am beautiful,
my future is bright with your presense.

Emotions run wild
My heart longs for you
Without you, my existance
is worth nothing.

My heart aches when you are gone.
When we are seperated
my soul feels tortured.

People speak of soulmates,
you are this and my bestfriend.
You are the keeper of my heart.
Dont lose the key.

Love always,
Emily.

Unrequited love is seriously distracting!

“My thoughts continually turn to him; every song reminds me of his face. I fantasize about us being together. Sometimes I awaken and know I’ve been dreaming about him. It’s an ache that literally hurts my chest. In the hours and days after seeing him, I can’t eat, sleep, or concentrate on work! It’s not just infatuation; it’s real love!” These are the words of a woman in love with a married work colleague” [2].

     This is a type of romantic love that is common among younger lovers who misread verbal and nonverbal cues of their beloved and who have yet to learn about their own love needs and wants.”Unrequited love is the result of one person deeply wanting an intimate relationship with another who simply is not interested and who does not reciprocate.” Unrequited is often the result of mismatch of personal attributes between two people. One person may find the traits of the other attractive but the latter does not find the former’s physical or personal attitudes worth exploring. Sometimes, this happens in a mismatch in physical qualities. The person pursuing may probably be too “ugly” or “beautiful” for the other or vice versa. The public often expects compatibility. If the girl or wife is beautiful, they also expect that the boy or husband is also attractive or least not within the range of what is culturally acceptable as “beautiful”. If they enter into a romantic relationship despite this incompatibility, the one partner may have found a redeeming factor from the unattractive partner probably in terms of social status or wealth. Thus, a beautiful young lady can fall in love with “ugly” old man because of the latter’s wealth and social connections which can provide her with material security and higher social status.

      There was one girl in one college who is madly in love with a guy who does not respond to her initiatives. She sent him gifts and often met him and offered him friendship and warm care. She even went to the extent of becoming a stalker, following him wherever he went. But this one-sided affair did not materialize into a romantic relationship. The guy further ignored this girl and transferred to another school and residence just to avoid her. Unrequited is, indeed, painful to the person falling in love. This could have been avoided if he or she would stop after few attempts to invite the other to enter into a romantic relationship. Of course, this is not easy. The main reason why a person cannot just stop initiating his or her courtship despite being avoided by the other is infatuation, i.e., the strong and irrational feeling of caring and longing for intimacy with the other by the person falling in love with. Infatuation is not easy to stop. Only time can heal it and by distancing oneself completely from things or people who can remind him or her of the person one is falling with.

      But this is not always the case. There are some situations where persistence in courtship pays. Depending on their upbringing with regard to loving and cultural taste, there are some girls who love to be pursued, either as a test to know who among the suitors is serious in his proposal. Others are probably conservative or religious that they go beyond physical traits of their suitors and look for good spiritual values they expect from their partners.

6  Ways to Get Past the Pain of Unrequited Love (F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W)

     1. There’s no way to get around it: Rejection hurts. Your heart has been broken, and there’s a real physical sensation of pain.

    2. Know that you aren’t alone. According to social psychologist and my PT colleague Roy Baumeister, 98% of us have suffered from unrequited love at one time or another.

  1. Try to see if falling for someone who doesn’t love you back is a pattern in your life. According psychologist Phillip Shaver, falling in love with someone who will reject you can be a repeated pattern for some people. This may be particularly true if you had repeated experiences in childhood with what is called “insecure attachment.”

  2. Ask yourself if you would rather not have loved the person at all. Is it true, what Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem says?:”I hold it true, whate’er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; ‘Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.”

  1. This might not help you much, but there is evidence that unrequited love hurts the person who is loved as well as the one who is doing the loving. In a study of more than 200 incidents of unrequited love, Baumeister found that rejecters suffered from guilt and anxiety and often reported feeling like they were victims.

  2. Finally, give up the quest for closure. Everyone agrees that one of the hardest parts of unrequited love is accepting that it is not ever going to be what you want it to be. You may keep looking for evidence that it’s over, but what you may really want is proof that it could happen [3].

References

[1] https://www.redbubble.com/people/emmahleee/writing/3472479-the-way-i-love-you-a-letter-to-my-loved-one

[2] http://www.uncommonhelp.me/articles/how-to-handle-the-pain-of-unrequited-love/

[3] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-couch/201502/6-ways-get-past-the-pain-unrequited-love

What is Love Obsession Stalking?

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Fig. 3.5 “Woman Refusing Apologies from her Boyfriend” by David Castillo Dominici (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

       Love stalking is one of the most unhealthy types of romantic love. It is often associated with mental or psychological disorder. In one of the most comprehensive studies of stalking, Rosemary Purcell, Michele Pathé and Paul Mullen from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health and Monash University, in Australia, surveyed 3700 adult men and women and found almost one in four had been stalked.

     A study published in the ‘Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry’ found that women were twice as likely as men to report having been stalked at some time in their lives. As younger people were significantly more likely than older to report having been stalked, the authors wondered if this was evidence that stalking was significantly increasing in modern times [1]”.

     Love obsession stalking is done by people who develop a love obsession or fixation on another person with whom they have no personal relationship. The target may be only a casual acquaintance or even a complete stranger. The stalker begins to make contact with the victim in a variety of ways that may initially seem harmless, but their continued presence generates fear and terror for the victim. “Peeping Toms” should not be taken lightly, and can pose a very real threat to their victims. This category represents about 20-25 percent (20-25%) of all stalking cases. Stalkers in this category include those who develop fixations on regular, ordinary people- including classmates, their instructors, casual acquaintances or people they pass on campus.

      The vast majority of love obsession stalkers suffer from a mental disorder. Regardless of the specific disorder, nearly all display some delusional thought patterns and behaviors. Since most are unable to develop normal personal relationships through conventional means, they have a life of fantasy relationships with persons they hardly know, if at all. They then attempt to act out their fictional plots in the real world.

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      Love obsession stalkers can be treated if the person afflicted by it, realizes what he or she is doing is wrong and needs help. “Help can be found in a good friend or a good counsellor, who can bring them back to their senses and put them back on track. However, they can only show you the way. It is you who must realize the futility of the obsession and let go from within [2].

       “Before you can overcome a love obsession you first have to recognize that you are indeed obsessed with the person who you believe you love. Love is engaging and gratifying, while obsession is overwhelming and draining. Love allows you to be seen for who you are and still be accepted, obsession causes you to see character traits that are not there and makes you think you have found perfection. Love allows a relationship to grow and strengthen, obsession creates an intense feeling to form a premature commitment. When you love you become a lover, when you obsess you can become a stalker” [3].

 

Reference

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-raj-persaud/valentines-day-love-stalking_b_2676822.html

[2] “What Motives a Stalker” in http://www.wgac.colostate.edu/types-of-stalkers.

[3] http://datingtips.match.com/overcome-love-obsessions-13203757.html

What is an Obsessive Love?

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Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

      Obsessive love begins with intense emotions, flattery, and attention, but slowly turns into an unhealthy possessiveness of the partner. Initially, it’s easy to confuse obsessive love for healthy love. In the beginning of romantic relationships, it’s natural for one partner to be the sole focus of the thoughts of the other, but they become unhealthy and obsessive when one is too possessive and controlling of one partner by the other–when he or she is no longer living a normal life [1].

Obsessive Love as Unhealthy Love

     Obsessive love is an unhealthy type of romantic love where conflict and dramatic extremes in the relationship are both the goal and the theme of the couple’s love. Obsessive lovers are often violent or overly aggressive at different levels. These people cannot establish an intimate and stable relationship with their partners. They most likely need professional counseling and would be better off if they broke up immediately with their partners to avoid further hurt and injury. People who are obsessed with love are not capable of self-giving in the relationship. Most often, these people are possessive and concern only with their own needs without considerations of the personal needs of their partners. There is also domination of the obsessive lovers over their weaker partners. And this can lead to verbal and physical abuse if the weak partner allows the “unhealthy” relationship to continue [2].

Obsessive Love as a Clinical Disorder

      “Obsessive love relationship is probably the worst manifestation of the feeling of love or when you mistake obsession for love…At times people who are obsessed with their feelings tend to consider their obsession towards their object of desire as their love. Obsession is a state of mental and clinical disorder due to which people get highly self-centered and feel rather insecure towards the other person…They would rather attempt at tying down the other person instead of understanding their emotions and needs. In case of non-reciprocation from the other side the obsessed person is more hell bent on compelling and getting attention from the object of his obsession…In cases of complete mental illness, the patient mostly complains of hallucinating about vulgar and disgusting images of the person they are obsessed with…In most cases, the obsessed people love to either harm the other person physically or mentally. The obsessed person desperately wants to make his or her presence felt in the other person’s life by physical abuse [3].”

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“Stalking is a sign of obsessive love” (image courtesy of Shutterstock)

Signs of that the Partner is an Obsessor

  1. Barrages you with intense and constant attention;
  2. Demands unreasonable amounts of your time Ignores other aspects of their   life for you;
  1. Ignores other aspects of their life for you;
  2. Shows jealously towards anyone and any activity that competes for your  attention;
  3. Follows you or checks up on you when you’re not together;
  4. Stalking;
  5. Physically ignores personal space to show others that you’re taken [4].

      Obsessive love is said to be delusional and a sign of mental health problem. It can start with a strong or extreme feeling of infatuation and develop into an obsession. This type of love is unrealistic and demanding. It occurs in about 0.1% of adults. “Individuals who suffer from delusional jealousy often interpret minor experiences like a coworker saying hello to their spouse or romantic partner looking at a passerby as positive proof that their loved one is being unfaithful. Male alcoholics have been found to be particularly vulnerable to developing delusional jealousy. Females are more likely to develop obsessive love toward people they know rather than toward a stranger [5].”

stalking2

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Healthy Love

    An obsessive love is not true love. It is an unhealthy love. “A healthy love relationship usually evolves over time such that it no longer involves the near desperate intensity and fervor of infatuation. Healthy love tends to mature over the years to include commitment, friendship, and a solid respect for the other person as an individual and of their needs. Healthy relationships allow both people to feel loved, cared for, and respected and allow for each person’s individuality and the pursuit of their own professional lives, recreational activities, and friendships outside of the love relationship[6].”

References

[1] “6 signs your partner is dangerously obsessed with you,” Retrieved 1 June 2017, http://citifmonline.com/2014/06/23/6-signs-your-partner-is-dangerously-obsessed-with-you/#sthash.RHdpuDtg.dpuf

[2] Hammond, R., Cheney, P. and Pearsey, R. “Sociology of the Family” in http://www.freesociologybooks.com.

[3] “Obsessive Love Relationship” in http://www.mydearvalentine.com/relationships/obsessive-love-relationship.html.

[4] supra, note 1.

[5] “The Difference Between Healthy and Obsessive Love” at http://www.medicinenet.com/confusing_love_with_obsession/views.htm

[6] Ibid.

 

 

“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 situation is 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 an unhealthy type 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’….

      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 [2].

      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.

Picture1

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.

33b54c0f61a064eebe2650c67dd67c33

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 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.

Picture1

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.

33b54c0f61a064eebe2650c67dd67c33

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 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.

mom and baby

     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!

No One “Wish List” for the Right Partner

 

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Figure 1: Choosing the right partner is cultural. The ideal partner is defined by one’s local culture. (“Pre Wedding” by  arztsamui [Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net])

Choosing the right partner is closely connected with one’s cultural taste and socialization in life. Every individual has his/her own “wish list” of traits they hope to find from their suitors, boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses or lovers. In sociology, every person undergoes a socialization process or social upbringing in order to become a productive human being in a particular society. A person’s “wish List” of an ideal romantic partner is influenced by his/her socialization to romantic love, particularly by his/her exposure to love, from childhood up to the moment s/he starts to fall in love. A person who is socially isolated and rarely exposed to romanticism, for instance, would be less interested in romance than one who is addicted to romantic film, novel, music and other romantic materials. And since the process of social learning is a lifelong process, this wish list is also evolving as the person matures with age and moves up in social stature. Young people, for instance, usually have a wish list of an ideal boyfriend and girlfriend, which is more focused on looks or physical traits, while older adults are more focused on financial stability, compatibility, commitment, and social standing of the partner. Without some sort of a strong spiritual and cultural belief or tradition that binds the love relationship, people can fall out of love with their partners and file a divorce  because of some changes of their wish list through time. According to Benjamin Disraeli, the “first magic of love is our ignorance that it can ever end.”  A young man who married his sexy sweetheart may fall out of love during midlife when he observed that his wife has become obese or physically unattractive due to work or motherhood and may look for another partner who is  younger and  more attractive than his wife.

Despite the change of one’s wish list due to changes in age and life situations, it is also possible that a person still maintains some desirable psychological traits of an ideal romantic partner in life. Some research studies show that a person’s positive or negative experience with their parents or family life can determine his or her ideal qualities of an ideal partner. Thus, a girl who is close to her own nurturing father may be looking for a partner or father figure who also possesses this type of personality trait. As Charles A. Stoddard would put it: “We love in others what we lack ourselves, and would be everything but what we are.”

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.

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.”