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mattbrowne's avatar

Romantic love and companionate love - How many times in your life did you fall in love?

Asked by mattbrowne (31628points) August 5th, 2009

From Wikipedia:

Romantic love is a relative term, that distinguishes moments and situations within interpersonal relationships. There is often, initially, more emphasis on the emotions (especially those of love, intimacy, compassion, appreciation, and general “liking”) rather than physical pleasure. But romantic love in the abstract sense of the term, is traditionally referred to as involving a mix of emotional and sexual desire for another as a person.

If one thinks of romantic love not as simply erotic freedom and expression, but as a breaking of that expression from a prescribed custom, romantic love is modern. There may have been a tension in primitive societies between marriage and the erotic, but this was mostly expressed in taboos regarding the menstrual cycle and birth.

Scientists use brain scans to show that love is the product of a chemical reaction in the brain. Norepinephrine and dopamine, among other chemicals, are responsible for excitement and bliss in humans as well as non-human animals. They conclude that these reactions have a genetic basis, and therefore love is a natural drive as powerful as hunger.

Other researchers have focused on opposing forces in human love. Overestimation of love can lead to disillusionment; the desire to possess the partner results in the partner wanting to escape; and the taboos against sex result in unfulfillment. Disillusionment plus the desire to escape plus unfulfillment result in a secret hostility, which causes the other partner to feel alienated. Secret hostility in one and secret alienation in the other cause the partners to secretly hate each other. This secret hate often leads one or the other or both to seek love objects outside the marriage or relationship.

People are drawn together by a force called “romantic attraction,” which is a combination of genetic and cultural factors. This force may be weak or strong, and may be felt to different degrees by each of the two love partners. The other factor is “emotional maturity,” which is the degree to which a person is capable of providing good treatment in a love relationship. Thus an immature person is more likely to overestimate love, become disillusioned, and have an affair, whereas a mature person is more likely to see the relationship in realistic terms, and act constructively to work out problems.

Research by the University of Pavia suggests that romantic love lasts for about a year, and then it is replaced by a more stable form of love called companionate love. In companionate love, changes occur from the early stage of love to when the relationship becomes more established and romantic feelings seem to end. However research by the Stony Brook University in New York suggests that some couples keep romantic feelings alive for much longer.

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11 Answers

Anjohl's avatar

Well, my argument, as completely unscientific as it is, is that you never know if you are in love, since the “next time” always seems more intense and more “real” than the last.

So, some would argue that you only fall in love a maximum of once. But, this kindof has a Mitochondrical Eve logic to it that might sound cold. That being said, I think that people can LOVE someone, maybe even think they are IN LOVE with someone, without ever knowing that they could have “done better”. That’s life.

qualitycontrol's avatar

once so far…we’ve been together for 1 year exactly and we just moved in together. Our romance factor is through the roof! I’m sure it’ll die when the kids come haha…Interesting post, I hope the romantic feelings never end though!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Recently I’ve been thinking along the lines of what @Anjohl said above – every time I thought I was in love…well it doesn’t compare to now, but I still have to give those experiences due credit…I felt I loved the first male-identified person I slept with…Some years later I felt I loved my first husband, then this girl Heidi…that’s 3 so far…Later on, when I left my husband and was in a polyamorous arrangement, I loved them both and one of them is now my husband…so I guess the total would be 5…and I think I came close to love with two others, but circumstances got in the way…

filmfann's avatar

I have been in love 4 times. Each time was weaker than the previous. Each one ended badly, with the exception of the last (though I am close to 2 of my ex’s now). Each time I was sure I was done with love.

CMaz's avatar

I would say 10ish times. Until I really fell in love. At that point I discovered that I have loved 10 times. But fell in love once.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

twice, and both were based on lust at first, and then settled into romantic love. I’ve lusted after several people in the past (and even recently) but then, it wasn’t love from the brain, it was a lust for sex. the little head was doing the thinking

mattbrowne's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra – Nothing wrong with lust first, and love emerging later…

casheroo's avatar

4 times.
I do know what @Simone_De_Beauvoir is talking about though. It’s all different love, different degrees. I don’t know if I was disillusioned at at. I don’t think someone can tell me I didn’t really love someone, because what I felt at that moment was real and raw.
I’d definitely say the love with my husband is much different than any love I’ve ever experienced.

Facade's avatar

Once. Still am in love.

wundayatta's avatar

At least four times, if you count the times I fell in love and it ended up lasting a year or more. More if you count all the times I fell in love to get a high. It’s a crazy high, though. If the love is returned, it’s wonderful, but if it isn’t, you are still trapped in your feelings and things just get so much worse. It’s an ideal pastime for manic-depressives! ~

Companionate love is hard to maintain. It takes so much communication, and it is so easy for things to get in the way of that communication. In my case, mostly fears of loss of my partner because I ask for things that I feel like no one, even someone who loved me, would give me. I grew up being unsure of love, though, so it’s hard for me to believe that anyone could really love me over the long term.

Quick highs and the roller coaster of romantic love, however, makes you crazy. The long, dull fear of separation also makes you crazy. I guess I am singularly ill equipped to be in any kind of relationship at all. Fortunately, I keep on trying to get better at it, and I seem to be making a little headway against my craziness.

Aster's avatar

Whole bunch but don’t feel like counting right now!

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