“Endless Love” Aaron Ben-Zeev, Aeon, 5 February 2014

Even when love has been profound, the sense of too much compromise can entice us to pursue something new.”

Romantic ideology is still very attractive, but the conception that passion can last has lost its validity. Research shows that sexual desire and intense romantic love abates over time. Love is conciliation, it is either you fly briefly to the highest height or be contented for many years. It is impossible to have both. But new research suggests this may be wrong: a considerable percentage of long-term couples remain deeply in love. Romantic solidity is not merely about duration, it is also about complexity. The complexity of the beloved is a crucial factor in determining whether love will be more or less intense as time goes on. A complex psychological personality is more likely to generate profound romantic love, while even the most intense sexual desire dies away. Sexual desire is enhanced by change and diluted by familiarity. Romantic solidity increases with familiarity if the other person, and the relationship itself, have different sides and is complex. It is in sharing  what is important in our lives that love becomes intense. The difference between romantic profundity and romantic intensity draws its difference from Aristotle’s distinction between eudaimonic well-being (realising one’s potential) and hedonic well being (immersion in fleeting pleasure). Superficial activities are enjoyable even though they do not contribute to our long-term flourishing. On the other hand, profound love entails tapping important capacities in a systematic manner, over a sustained period. Romantic love demands sexual attraction and companionship: without these, there would be no romance at all. Attraction has more weight in the short term, praiseworthiness is more important later on. The more attraction and praiseworthiness decrease, the more people yearn for romantic freedom or another partner. Absolute certainty is unrealistic. Doubts are bound to occur both at the beginning of a relationship and later on. Success needs honesty and compassion: partners who are totally themselves they do not ever want to control the other. For love to be profound, partners’ attributes don´t have to be the best, they just need to be in harmony.

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“Endless Love” Aaron Ben-Zeev, Aeon, 5 February 2014


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