Infatuation is the state of being completely carried away by unreasoning passion
or love; addictive love. Infatuation usually occurs at the beginning of relationship
when sexual attraction is central.
“They do not love that do not show their love.
The course of true love never did run smooth. Love is a familiar.
Love is a devil. There is no evil angel but Love.”
“Come, gentle night; come, loving, black-browed night;
Give me my Romeo; and, when I shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night…”
Our Cultural Attitudes About Love
It always bother me when reading, or watching the news how easy we presuppose that our way, it’s not only the best way, but far vast superior to other cultures ways, like for example love. In our culture we are free to choose our partner in love or at least we believe to be so, a young man, or woman can choose the love partner of their choice, and be happier ever after. This simplistic notion we extol everywhere, movies, novels, etc. And no wonder we take for granted, ignoring that not long ago (relatively speaking on historical time) we didn’t had the same social practices on matters of marriage, and romance as we know it, well in fact they didn’t exist!
Actually up to a a little more than a hundred years ago, most people wouldn’t marry anyone that wasn’t chosen by the family members, or at least approved by them, I dare to say that up to this day even if you have the freedom to fall in love, or marry whoever you want, to bring it to the members of your family for approval, can be a little bit of a challenge, since we all know many other factors, and considerations weight on the balance beside your infatuation for that particular person, this could be economic, religious, education, social class, race, age, political, etc. We all know that love it’s not the only factor that counts for a successful union, however we extol the love factor in our culture through our media, novels, movies, etc. That it appears as the only factor that matters, which it’s of course untrue.
Infatuation or what it pass for love in our culture
Sheri Meyers a family and marriage therapist writes:
“Love — a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker.” — Author Unknown
Ahh… love. Is there anything else that feels quite so sublime?
Your heart’s pounding, you’re flush with excitement and giddy with anticipation. You jump every time your smartphone pings you with a text, hoping it’s from them. You can’t focus on your work. You’ve lost your appetite for food because you’re reminiscing about how delicious it feels to be in their arms.
Nobody “gets” you the way your sweetheart does. The connection you feel with them is out of this world. It’s as if you’ve known each other your entire life. You can barely stand to be apart.
You have no qualms announcing your good news to your friends and family — you’ve finally found “the one”!
Along with the dizzying heights, there are the terrifying lows, too. They forget to call and you’re anxious. They are in a bad mood and you obsess over whether it’s your fault. They express their doubts about the relationship and you’re in agony for days.
In spite of the occasional pain and uncertainty, the sheer magnitude of emotion just proves how much you love each other — or so you believe.
If this isn’t real love, what is? Right?
Actually, not so fast.”
As a relationship therapist, whenever I hear my clients describe their relationship as an all-consuming, exhilarating, obsessive tidal wave of emotion, I know that what they’re describing isn’t real love, but an immature, attachment-based infatuation.
Are you focusing solely on how your partner makes you feel, both good and bad? How empty life feels when you are apart from each other? How you want your partner to change so that you can maintain the high? How you’ve never felt like this before and the relationship is everything you’ve ever wanted? Do you feel more whole now because this person is in your life? Chances are, when you’re obsessing on what you’re feeling, needing and wanting from the relationship, you’re experiencing an immature, attachment-focused infatuation, not real love.
With infatuation, you create unrealistic expectations and beliefs about your partner in order to maintain that incredible high. You expect that because you love each other, the relationship should always feel good and that your needs should naturally be fulfilled. You can’t stand the thought that relationships do take work, don’t always feel perfect or that your partner won’t change in order to please you. When things go awry, you shut down, cling or pull away, and fear that the relationship is over.”
History of Courtly Love
The conception of romantic love was popularized in Western culture by the concept of courtly love. Chevaliers, or knights in the Middle Ages, engaged in what were usually non-physical and non-marital relationships with women of nobility of whom they served. These relations were highly elaborate and ritualized in a complexity that was steeped in a framework of tradition, which stemmed from theories of etiquette derived out of chivalry as a moral code of conduct.
Courtly love and the notion of domnei were often the subjects of troubadours, and could be typically found in artistic endeavors such as lyrical narratives and poetic prose of the time. Since marriage was commonly nothing more than a formal arrangement, courtly love sometimes permitted expressions of emotional closeness which may have been lacking from the union between husband and wife. In terms of courtly love, “lovers” did not necessarily refer to those engaging in sexual acts, but rather, to the act of caring and to emotional intimacy.
The bond between a knight and his Lady, or the woman of typically high stature of whom he served, may have escalated psychologically but seldom ever physically. For knighthood during the Middle Ages, the intrinsic importance of a code of conduct was in large part as a value system of rules codified as a guide to aid a knight in his capacity as champion of the downtrodden, but especially in his service to the Lord.
In the context of dutiful service to a woman of high social standing, ethics designated as a code were effectively established as an institution to provide a firm moral foundation by which to combat the idea that unfit attentions and affections were to ever be tolerated as “a secret game of trysts” behind closed doors. Therefore, a knight trained in the substance of “chivalry” was instructed, with especial emphasis, to serve a lady most honorably, with purity of heart and mind. To that end, he committed himself to the welfare of both Lord and Lady with unwavering discipline and devotion, while at the same time, presuming to uphold core principles set forth in the code by the religion by which he followed.
Religious meditations upon the Virgin Mary were partially responsible for the development of chivalry as an ethic and lifestyle: the concept of the honor of a lady and knightly devotion to her, coupled with an obligatory respect for all women, factored prominently as central to the very identity of medieval knighthood. As knights were increasingly emulated, eventual changes were reflected in the inner-workings of feudal society. Members of the aristocracy were schooled in the principles of chivalry, which facilitated important changes in attitudes regarding the value of women.
Behaviorally, the manner in which a knight was to regard himself towards a lady, was with a transcendence of premeditated thought; his virtue ingrained within his character. A chevalier was to conduct himself always graciously, bestowing upon her the utmost courtesy and attentiveness. He was to echo shades of this to all women, regardless of class, age, or status. Over time, the concept of chivalry and the notion of the courtly gentleman became synonymous with the ideal of how love and romance should exist between the sexes. Through the timeless popularization in art and literature of tales of knights and princesses, kings and queens, a formative and long standing (sub)consciousness helped to shape relationships between men and women.
De amore or The Art of Courtly Love, as it is known in English, was written in the 12th century. The text is widely misread as permissive of extramarital affairs. However, it is useful to differentiate the physical from without: romantic love as separate and apart from courtly love when interpreting such topics as: “Marriage is no real excuse for not loving”, “He who is not jealous cannot love”, “No one can be bound by a double love”, and “When made public love rarely endures”.
Some believe that romantic love evolved independently in multiple cultures. For example, in an article presented by Henry Grunebaum, he argues “therapists mistakenly believe that romantic love is a phenomenon unique to Western cultures and first expressed by the troubadours of the Middle Ages.”
The more current and Western traditional terminology meaning “court as lover” or the general idea of “romantic love” is believed to have originated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, primarily from that of the French culture. This idea is what has spurred the connection between the words “romantic” and “lover,” thus coining English phrases for romantic love such as “loving like the Romans do.” The precise origins of such a connection are unknown, however. Although the word “romance” or the equivalents thereof may not have the same connotation in other cultures, the general idea of “romantic love” appears to have crossed cultures and been accepted as a concept at one point in time or another.
Love Marriage Versus Arranged Marriage?
Arranged marriages last longer than love marriages! Here is the reason. For two persons to get along in a close relationship, they have a greater chance of succeeding if they are alike. In arranged marriages – still practiced in Japan and India- the elders in a family look for a partner, seeking one of similar background, religion and ethnicity. In love marriages, the assumption that “love conquers all” is patently false, for love will eventually fade and then you will be faced with a person dissimilar and often opposed to your lifestyle. This makes the getting along more difficult, resulting in sequential marriages. This does not bode well for kids, for they need both parents to raise them.
Arranged marriages, offer more protection and security to the women as the parents decide the family. Parents make use of their maturity and decision while choosing suitable spouses for their children. The decision of parents sometimes helps to make the right choice. But it doesn’t mean that arranged marriages are ideal marriages.
A good marriage is based on love, respect, trust, commitment, compatibility, loyalty, common views and opinions, and being willing to constantly work on your marriage. And you have to be good to each other, as well as good for each other. Think of a marriage as a living, breathing being, which needs constant nurturing. You can’t neglect it, nor can you abuse it, and expect it to work.
The above it’s well known for those who study dating, or in the dating industry, I will add my two cents in to the pot, if you get in to a boxing match, you better know what you are doing, I mean you got to study under an expert, train frequently and with dedication, and be ready to go through punishment and pain, lots of it! You may find the analogy hideous, but it’s naive in the part for most couples to go in to marriage just for the initial infatuation, and for our misguided ideas about romantic love.
Unfortunately our culture it’s not good at prevention, we get lots of help, but only after the fact! Kind like our medicine, it’s only after they roll you out of the operation room that a new life it’s possible for you through diet, and exercise, and stop eating all that junk food that is high in carbs, sugars, fats, and low in nutrients, but that nevertheless it’s easily available everywhere 24/7! Just like romance movies or novels with happy endings, but you never hear of a class in college named: “How to pick a partner for life” or “Before marriage, you should be prepared” Or see many romantic movies where our happy couple end in disappointment, instead we go instilling the idea that infatuation, so call romance is the way to go, and we toss aside any other consideration, and to make things worse we publicly deride Cultures were our way is not their way, and look at them with a highbrow, compassionate attitude: “Oh my God, the poor things, veils, arranged marriages, so barbarous!”
Of course all this can be easily rebuffed saying there is nothing to impede you to go in to marriage with your eyes wide open, and not to drink from our fairytale social culture waters, and be practical, but in the meantime you go through a cultural barrage as a young person of romantic ideals, that are nothing but hogwash, were the only warning sign for those alert are the tabloids at the check out counter at the market!
As to what is real love?
Well, for the sake of brevity, we will talk about in a future post.