- Gender and Relationships»
- Relationship Problems & Advice»
- What is Love?
Rational Love - A New Way of Loving
Have you ever thought about rational love? It’s a love that has better chances of lasting forever. Time was when women went into relationships completely ignorant of the joys and perils of sex and were “awakened” and seduced by the strong and able, all-knowing male. It was this sexual ignorance that led to their romantic fantasies and empowered men to played the dominant role in a love relationship.
And then, in the late 60’s and 70’s came the sexual revolution and the women’s movement and suddenly women knew it all. It was the beginning of the end of romantic love.
What is Romance?
Romance is love letters, poems about the beauty of her eyes and lips, candlelight, flowers, her favourite chocolates, sweet nothings whispered against her luxuriant tresses, searing lips pressed against the bodice of her dress as in the ever popular Mills and Boon novels…nothing hasty or physical. Birthdays and anniversaries remembered. But all this from whose viewpoint? The women, of course. Men had no idea of how a woman thought, and the man that had (because he made an effort to find out) was called a gigolo and a ladies’ man.
Says Germaine Greer in her book ‘The Female Eunuch’: “In the romantic world kisses do not come before love, unless they are offered by wicked men who delude innocent girls for a time, for they will soon be rescued by the omnipotent true lover.”
My best friend married her man because they had such a peaceful relationship – barely any arguments at all and yes, she found him intellectually stimulating. But she finally left him and went away to another country with their new baby because she said he was not at all the romantic sort. He never remembered her birthday or their anniversary.
Romance: Born in the West in Medieval Times
Interestingly, the concept of romance did not always exist. It surfaced in the 12th century in the West when feudal lords and ladies began to practise the traditions of courtly love and knights rode forth to save damsels in distress.
Says a psychiatrist : “Romance is a concept possible only in a society like our own, in which the individual is sovereign. Societies that are highly collectivised don’t have any concept of romance whatsoever. Nor do cultures that haven’t yet risen from the subsistence level – for such people romance would be an impossible luxury.”
The End of Romance and Beginning of Rational Love
Today, because people have had all the sex and romance they want, it has lost its attraction as forbidden fruit. They have now woken up to the fact that what they actually want now is commitment – rational love.
They have discovered the hard way that romance does not last and that passion quickly fades. Says a well known psychologist: “Romance often founders because the wrong person is chosen. Rather than correct their choice, people idealise the chosen one, endowing him or her with all kinds of fine attributes. They’re so thrilled to fall in love that they ignore the person’s negative traits. Then when these traits become too obvious to overlook, as they inevitably do, the lover feels betrayed. The next step is to feel that romance itself is the betrayer, and to give up on it entirely.”
When Lovers Try to Change Each Other
A relationship based on idealisation often leads one partner to try and change the other which is usually a futile effort. This causes a lot of hostility and frustration in the relationship. The result is disaster. There is in reality no god or goddess out there who is waiting to be found and who can make you happy forever.
What People in their 30’s Look for Today: Rational Love
By our 30’s, most of us realise that there is no omnipotent god or goddess out there and we are no longer interested in a romantic fling, or that passionate night spent with a stranger. We are looking for someone we can commit to, someone we can have children with and spend the rest of our lives.
Says the psychologist Maxine Schnall, “The beauty of rational love is the depth and continuity of the commitment. Rational love draws its wonder and mystery from a deeper wellspring than sexual passion. Its excitement comes from identification, not with a new partner, but with the newness in the same partner as he or she keeps changing and evolving through the different stages of growth.”
In fact, there are those who insist that a deeper intimacy built over time can lead to the greatest sex of all since you know each other’s sexual secrets and preferences so well. That’s rational love.