When is the Birth of Romantic Love in Society?

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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 the property in the hands of the family and to raise children to work in the family farm (Giddens and Girffiths, 2006, p.205).

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The concept of courtly love, a medieval European concept of nobility 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 the nobility of whom they served.”

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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 in 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).

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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 extended periods of time and is based on feelings of appreciation, loyalty, and admiration, stemming from the sharing of common experiences (Lantz, 1982, p. 349).

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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.

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7 Top Myths on Love

1. Love is Natural.

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Love is not natural and biological but socially-learned in society. In the sociology of emotions, sociologists believe that people’s emotions are determined by society and culture. Thus, people’s deep feelings and emotions of love are primarily a product of cultural and social conditioning. In the same manner, people’s romantic feelings and expressions are learned and shaped by the local culture and not solely by biology. In many primitive societies, for instance, where arranged marriages and betrothals are common cultural practice, romantic love between the bride and groom is not a prerequisite for marriage.

2. First Love is the Deepest Love.

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People tend to over-romanticize first love. They put lots of emotional value to their first kiss, sexual experience, and first love. And while first experiences are important milestones, they generally aren’t the most significant. Most first loves are not serious. Not many people marry their first loves. The deepest hurt people experience are usually with those they seriously consider to live a life-long partnership, probably in marriage. The person who chose to build his/her life with someone for marital commitment is infinitely more important than the first person he/she fell in love with (Harris, nd.).

3. Love Will Make You Feel Complete.

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This is another myth. Only the person can make his/her life complete and meaningful. You’re the only one who can make yourself feel whole and fulfilled. Your partner can only assist you to achieve your life goals. If you’re waiting around for someone to complete you, you’re wasting your time. It’s not going to happen, and that’s an unfair expectation to put on someone who could otherwise make you very happy (Harris n.d.).

4. Love can Happen at First Sight

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“There’s no love at first sight, only lust at first sight. Sure, that lust can turn into love, but most people need time to get to know each other before they can be sure they want to commit (Harris, n.d.).” True love happens only when partners cohabit for a long time in marriage and accept each other’s faults. The first stage of love is infatuation where feelings of attraction are very strong. But these emotions can be fleeting. They can easily vanish when partners discover their real personalities, attitudes, and social background.

5. Love is an irrational emotion that you either are “in” or not “in.”

Not so, according to philosopher Berit Brogaard, author of On Romantic Love: Simple Truths about Complex Emotion. In fact, love admits of degrees: You can love a little, a lot, or not at all. Sometimes your feelings are quite rational; at others, they’re utterly irrational (Perry 2015).

6. You can’t make yourself fall out of love.

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But you can. Emotions are subject to a kind of rational control. You can use strategies to help you fall out of a love that’s wrong for you (Perry 2015)

7. Love is unpredictable.

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Don’t believe it, writes Gottman. Many replicable studies have demonstrated that love is quite predictable. In his own lab, he has been able to predict divorce over a six-year period with better than 90% accuracy. Much of that predictability is based on how couples handle conflict, and how many positive vs. negative comments they make to each other (Perry 2015).

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References

Perry, S. K. (8 Feb 2015). 10 Myths About Love, Exploded: 3 leading researchers on why old beliefs could leave you lonely. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/creating-in-flow/201502/10-myths-about-love-exploded.

Harris, H. (n.d.). 10 Myths About Love You Need To Stop Believing If You Don’t Want To Be Disappointed. Retrieved from https://www.bolde.com/10-myths-love-need-stop-believing/.

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Women Take Note: Top 5 Attitudes that Turn Off Men

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Many women may not be aware that there are things that turn off men. Of course, this can be cultural. It depends on the type of social expectations and gender roles between sexes in a particular culture. But those who reside in urban centers with middle-class orientation, the following attitudes and behaviors can generally turn off men:

1. Nagging

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One of the top-most turn-offs for guys is the distressing and nagging attitude of women. Generally, what guys don’t like is the on-going complaints and issues raised by them. When you start finding faults in your guy and rise issues in everything he does, he will eventually get frustrated by you and the relationship (slism.com).

2. Bad Hygiene

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Bad hygiene is among the top turn-offs for guys. Guys dislike bad hygiene. They avoid the company of women with a bad aroma. If you don’t clean your body, hair, and skin properly, then for sure you are turning your guy off with your unbearable odor. Always remember that guys crave for fresh breath and a sweet smell of skin and clear hair (slism.com).

3. Too Much Talking

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An excessive and never-ending talking also turn a guy off. No doubt, guys love to listen, but they hate when all they have to do is to listen all the time. This creates an imbalance in conversation when a guy is not given enough time to make his talking. A talkative lady is considered egoistic by her guy. And if she keeps on repeating this kind of conversational attitude, her guy will surely draw away sooner (slism.com).

4. Excessive Obsession

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Infatuation is another feminine trait that is found to be as critical as above mentioned turn-offs. Normally, girls think that what turns men off is the hesitation of women in moving ahead with them. However, they do not realize that men also hate when girls get obsessed with them and demand for suddenly living together under the same roof and getting married. Every guy likes attention and progress in the relationship, but with a gradual pace. But when girls are infatuated beyond the limit, the guys get eventually frightened away (slism).

5. Discussing Ex-Boyfriends

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One of the biggest turn-offs for guys is undoubtedly discussing your ex-boyfriend stories and personality with your present guy. It totally shocks him when he finds you still discussing your past relationships in front of him. This will make him think that either your current relationship has got flaws, or you are unable to get the ex-guy out of your mind. This will totally deteriorate your relation with your guy (slism.com).

Reference

Slism.com (n.d.). 12 Surprising turn Offs for guys That Most Girls Know Nothing About. Retrieved from https://slism.com/girlstalk/12-surprising-turn-offs-for-guys-that-most-girls-know-nothing-about.html

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7 Top Traits Women Want in Men

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1. With Sense of Humor

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A sense of humor makes men attractive to women. Being able to laugh at the stresses of this world is a must, according to 77 percent of the women in one study. Men get bonus points if they can make women laugh. Humor tells a woman that you can laugh at the many difficulties that life throws at you.

Moreover, some studies showed that women typically choose better-looking guys for flings, not long-term relationships. Men with strong sense of humor may not necessarily be attractive. They also showed that women love men who make them smile and laugh, especially during times of stress and problems.

2. Intelligent

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A worldly, interesting man is a man 55 percent of women like to show off. Men who are problem solvers make women feel secure, and men who are always improving are never boring.

3. Confident

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A man who feels secure in his own skin makes the woman he’s with feel secure, according to 41 percent of women in one research study. By showing men can handle unfamiliar people or situations, they tell women in their life that they need not fear, either.

4. With High Earning Potential

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One in five women surveyed in one study said a man’s success in his career contributes to his sexiness. If you’ve demonstrated talent, goal achievement, and follow-through, you give women confidence that you will be a good provider.

5. With Great Ambition

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Men with great ambition in life is attractive to women. The ambition of achieving higher social status and social class in society can impress women who want their men to be successful. “Not ambition in the sense that you knock other people down to build yourself up, but in the fact that you will work hard to get what you want and help others to do the same thing” (Jordan).

6. Passionate About Life

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Women love men who are passionate in whatever they do in life. They also love men who live in the moment and enjoy life every day. It’s not about the destination, but about the journey in life that women expect from their male partners.

7. Brave

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Women are attracted to brave men who can face difficult situations with confidence.  Being brave, alert in emergency situations, is very attractive to women and indicates that they can protect them from all types of danger.

8. Famous

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If men are famous, then by definition a lot of people know them. If a lot of people know them, they are therefore important. Being important is very attractive to women. Popularity and achievement are attractive for female partners. Women want their men to be achievers, innovative, and leaders in their chosen fields.

Being famous men implies more social connection, prestige, and honor for their women. Popularity is an indicator of social status, one of the main sources of power in society, together with social class.

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Calo, C. (n.d.). the 100 Top Things that Attract Women to Men.Way Too Social. Retrieved from https://www.waytoosocial.com/top-100-things-that-attract-women-to-men/.

Jones, L. (17 April 2018). Top 20 Traits Women Want in a Man. Men’shealth. Retrieved from https://www.menshealth.com/sex-women/a19535604/top-20-traits-she-wants/.

Jordan, S. (n.d.). 7 Qualities Women Find Attractive in Men. Lifehack. Retrieved from https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/7-qualities-women-find-attractive-men.html.

 

Male Physical Traits Women Find Very Attractive according to Research

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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 a 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%.

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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 office mate 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.

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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.

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Physical attractiveness has always been a top criterion in choosing a dating partner. Based on many research studies, the following physical traits are generally attractive to women:

1. Taller than the Female Partner

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 a stronger physical strength and more capable of protecting their romantic partners.

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“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 than the 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, the 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.

 2. Athletic Body

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 Researchers have found out that of all the body shapes, women tend 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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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 the 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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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.

        5. Deeper Voice

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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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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.  With Alpha Male Features

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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.

        8. Attractive  Eyes

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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 to those of their father’s.

      9. Nice Butt

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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, a strength of character, good personal values, and the capacity to commit one’s self to marriage.

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