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 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 a 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.

What is a Platonic Love?

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THE NATURE OF PLATONIC LOVE

Platonic love (often lower-cased as platonic) is a term used for a type of love that is non-sexual. It is named after Plato,  although this philosopher never actually used it himself. Instead, it comes from Plato’s dialogue, the “Symposium,” which discusses the different types of Eros (love).

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Platonic love is a bond between a couple that involves no lust or carnality; often a deep pure love. Its symbol is usually the white rose. A simple example of platonic relationships is a deep, non-sexual friendship between two heterosexual people of the opposite sexes. A platonic relationship is one without romantic or sexual intentions. It can be considered as a “romantic friendship” i.e.,  a close, physically intimate but not sexually intimate – friendship.

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Platonic love in its modern sense is an affectionate relationship into which the sexual element does not enter, especially in cases where one might easily assume otherwise. It is a deep, non-sexual friendship between two heterosexual people of the opposite sex. Platonic love is ‘close affection between two persons, attracted to each other, but without sexual intimacy’ [1].

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It is a purely spiritual and emotional and presumably free from physical desire. St. Claire and St. Francis of Assisi  who are known as two great Catholic saints in the Catholic Church were said to be close friends spiritually as followers of Christ without sexual intimacy. Their type of intimacy and friendship were based on a common love for God; thus, they can be considered Platonic and not romantic. “The love between friends is platonic love. Platonic describes a relationship that is purely spiritual and not physical. So, if a guy and a girl hang out all the time but aren’t boyfriend and girlfriend, they’d describe their friendship as platonic” [2].

FROM PLATONIC LOVE AND ROMANTIC LOVE: IS THIS POSSIBLE?

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Yes, but once platonic becomes romantic, it’s difficult to return to its original platonic state. Best friends can fall in love romantically depending on the situations and personal goals of the partners. However, platonic love has no intention of entering into an exclusive erotic relationship nor entering into marriage, while romantic love aims to achieve an exclusive relationship, with lovers “going steady” and  to “tie the know” in the altar of matrimony.

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Despite these differences, platonic and romantic love also have similarities. Attraction, intimacy, respect, support and pleasure are just as important in platonic relationships as they are in romantic relationships. Closeness matters in romantic as well as in platonic relationships.

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But whether it’s platonic or romantic, the most important thing is the love couples share for one another. In the words of Plato: “Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the Gods.”

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References

[1] Gooch, 1989, p.360 cited in Karandeshev, 2015, p.4.

[2] https://www.wikihow.com/Understand-Platonic-Love-and-Friendship.

7 Top Traits Women Want in Men

top 10 hot guys GIF

1. With Sense of Humor

the west wing attractive men GIF

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 a 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

watch it high school GIF

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

sure dale cooper GIF by Twin Peaks on Showtime

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

wolf of wall street money GIF

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

neil patrick harris bubly water GIF

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

te amo love GIF by Mother’s Day

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

me1000 GIF

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

angry george clooney GIF

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 a 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.

Does Age Matter in a Romantic Relationship?

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“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter” (Mark Twain).

INTRODUCTION

The saying that “Age doesn’t matter” is a popular expression among people for those who fall in love with a wide age gap. They say that love is blind. So, it’s okay to be blind by the age of one’s crush or lover. Experts on romantic love acknowledge that falling in love is indeed a strong positive energy that makes a person less aware of the consequences of having a big age gap in the romantic relationship. One can be so enamored with the other person’s beauty, popularity, personality, social status, or wealth, that he or she forgets that the other person is either too old or too young for him/her! I already encountered some people who fell in love or even got married despite a wide age difference. When I was a boy, our 20-year old nanny was having a secret love affair with our 60-year old neighbor who was a widower with married children. It was indeed embarrassing during their wedding ceremony as the officiating priest had mistaken the groom as the parent of the bride and one of the young best men as the groom! Despite the age gap, they manage to have 3 children before the old man died.

AGE AS A SOCIAL NORM IN SOCIETY

Age really does matter in a relationship despite romanticism of some people that it doesn’t affect romantic relationships. In sociology, age is an informal and unwritten social norm. Society has some standards on what age bracket is appropriate for a particular type of relationship, depending on the local culture. Whether one likes it or not, society has a way of classifying people engaging a particular type of social interaction. Defying this informal norm in a romantic relationship can lead to unintended informal and psychological sanction from the public, such as ridicule, suspicion, rumor, gossip, digital bashing in the social media, or even public shaming by people who strongly oppose the relationship. Try to hold hands and show romantic affection with an older man or woman while walking in a public park and you’ll never miss seeing people whispering or giggling in disbelief, or staring at you as if something is terribly wrong, especially when you’re in a rural setting! Generally, women like their men to be a little older and more experienced and mature in life. But if the age gap is quite wide, many people would probably start to think that it is not romantic love or true love that motivates the attraction but something else, maybe the wealth of the older partner.

Age as an informal norm in society is not, however, an absolute rule! One can see couples with a big age difference. Among the Hollywood celebrities, the famous actor Michael Douglas and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones were married despite their age difference. These Oscar winners tied their knot in 2000 when Catherine was 31 years old and Michael was 56.

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Michael, 56 years old, with wife Catherine, 31 (Photo credit: hollywood.com)

In the Philippines, the famous folk singer Freddie Aguilar fell in love with a 16-year old girl and managed to marry her in Islamic rites. Under the Shariah law, a 16-year old can contract a valid marriage but not under the current 1987 Family Code of the country for Christians. Apparently, both decided to change religion to tie the knot.

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Freddie, 60 years old, with his 16-year old wife (Photo credit: Poklat.com)

Another famous noontime TV host and comedian married a younger woman more than twice his age. The 61-year old veteran Filipino comedian Vic Sotto married the 27-year old TV host Pauleen Luna in a private wedding.

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Pauleen Luna, 27 years old and Vic Sotto, 61 (Photo Credit: gmanetwork.com)

If it is not an arranged marriage sanctioned by culture, people can be suspicious of the motive if they see romantic couples with a wide age gap. They often suspect wealth and/or social status as the main motive why the younger partner “falls in love” with the older guy. This suspicion can have a grain of truth. Normally, people are first attracted to others through their physicality. People project and communicate to the world through their bodies. Appearance matters during the initial encounter of partners in romantic love. Many surveys showed that the person’s eyes as the sexiest or most attractive body part during infatuation. They say that the eyes are the window of the person’s soul. The woman’s big breasts and butts associated with femininity and fertility are also attractive to men, while a tall height, a flat and strong abdomen and chest are attractive physical traits for women. But old people generally cannot boast their physical assets to attract younger people to enter into a romantic relationship with them. Thus, people become cynical about seeing a young and old couple romantically linked with each other.

Physicality, however, can take a backseat if the young and old partners become intimate and learn more about the cultural or non-physical aspects of the relationship such as knowing the other’s attitude, personality, social status, and value system. So people can be suspicious if a poor young woman falls in love with an old rich man as the latter’s youthful physicality has already been deteriorated by age. If he is not extremely handsome and sexy despite his age, it is understandable for them to conclude that it is not the physical appearance but probably the person’s wealth and social status that motivate her to love the other. Age then matters in discerning whether the relationship is truly a romantic love that can lead to marital love or just what the sociologist Anthony Giddens calls as “confluent love” or a contingent form of love without commitment, a love that is based on mutual and temporal satisfaction of the romantic partners–“enjoying the relationship while it lasts.”

In the next blog, we’ll discuss why a wide age gap can be a problem in the interaction and adjustment of the couple as they stay longer in the romantic relationship and marriage. This will also show that age matters in romantic or marital interaction! Cheers!