“Why do people prioritise romantic love,” I often see aromantic people ask, “as if all other forms of love are inferior?”
As if romantic love were ever a plain choice and not a sledgehammer of narcotics and stimulants triggered by arbitrary factors – or perhaps that is new relationship energy (NRE) and not the same as that true romantic love that can develop between life-long partners.
Or perhaps that is wrong again. Is the deep and abiding love between life-long partners based purely on affection and familiarity – attachment, if you will, and friendship – and nothing actually to do with romantic love?
Romantic love is such an intangible thing. At its best, it’s drowning in someone’s eyes, endorphins flooding the bloodstream; it’s holding on to someone and wanting never to let go; it’s finding everything about someone beautiful and fascinating; it’s about being willing to do absolutely anything, no matter how embarrassing or dangerous, just to get one smile from the beloved.
At the beginning, romantic love is powerful. The euphoria can last for hours, or days, or months, but as the years go by it diminishes to a mere echo. Instead of a conflagration, it is a flame. Tended well, fed regularly with chocolates and flowers and I love yous, it becomes a hearth fire, but these coded romantic gestures are not the conflagration that is yearned for.
When even sex is coded as romantic, then sexual desire is taken as proof of romantic love – and lack of sexual desire taken as proof that love is no longer.
Romantic love is irrational. It can’t be controlled. That’s why it’s called ‘falling in love’ – because it’s a loss of control. And because it can’t be controlled, what’s to stop the beloved falling for someone else?
If falling in love is like the discovery of sunshine after darkness what could be worse than having your beloved banish you once again to darkness?
No wonder romantic love is so possessive, and so fraught with insecurity and jealousy.
It isn’t love at all.
Maybe other people are like me and find romantic love the most wonderful thing in the world.
But I think that love in its broadest sense is the most powerful, and truly wonderful, thing in the world.
I suppose my point is first that many of the things we consider romantic – gifts of flowers and chocolates, declarations of love, even certain expressions of sexual desire – are not intrinsically romantic but we choose to interpret them that way as we look for evidence of romantic love. We can only ever be certain of our own feelings for others, not of others’ feelings for us.
But also, much of what we consider to be romantic love is really about affection, trust and friendship, things that are not specifically romantic. Romantic love is more about that chemical connection between people, a sense of specialness and even loss of identity. “We are two souls made one, soul mates for all eternity, and I would die for you and you for me…” It’s euphoric and addictive and utterly unrealistic, and doesn’t necessarily lead to what’s really needed: enduring trust and friendship.
I agree on this:
I suppose my point is first that many of the things we consider romantic – gifts of flowers and chocolates, declarations of love, even certain expressions of sexual desire – are not intrinsically romantic
and this — this is what I like:
affection, trust and friendship, things that are not specifically romantic.
People can experience 2 souls made one, though. It may not be common, though.