By: Abdur Rahim
Men and women crave for love, live for love, kill for love, and die for love. Human romantic love (also known as passionate love or being in love) is regarded as a human universal, said Helen Fisher. We experience romantic love is like a deep emotion and strong feeling between a man and a woman. Romantic love can generate many powerful feelings; it can provide a profound ecstasy, is like an emotional storm, and at the same time it brings a deep suffering when frustration grows between lovers. When a man and woman fall in love they seek intimate contact. Romantic love is the experience of joy in the presence of a loved one, joy in being close to a loved one, and joy in the interaction with a loved one. Romantic love is a powerful means to express our capacity to love and to be loved. It is a way to focus our energy, our curiosity, and our desire for love affair; an adventure. Romantic love is a source of pleasure and inspiration, it’s a blessing of life. Who would doubt in all these? I hope none. The romantic love is a kind of intrinsic and naturalistic feeling that can be expressed as someone said – “In loving you, I see in you a part of me that is also you. I also see in you something that is really me. And there is you, a person of many qualities I imagine, a person I am drawn to”. In Shakespeare’s words, “……….as from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie; that is my home of love……” “………..I have not art to recon my groans; but that I love the best, O most best! Believe it.”
Tagore expressed love in the poem; “Unending Love” as:
“I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever………………………………………..”
In so many ways we can express romantic love; most of them are driven by emotion and desire for sure. The fact is, all don’t show the rosy picture as such. There are myths and misconceptions about the romantic love. Such as, romantic love will be the root of all happiness; the feelings can be so intense that it’s hard to imagine that they could be an illusion that dissipates over time; passionate and exciting romantic love can be irresistible; or to say that when I find the right partner, I will be complete (it’s like fairy-tales that end up with the imagination like, “a fair young girl and her prince living happily ever after” kind of thing). One of the misconceptions of romantic love is that the falling in love is ‘love’ per se. According to Thomas Moore, “Romantic love is an illusion. Most of us discover this truth at the end of a love affair or when the sweet emotions of love lead us into marriage and then turn down their flames”. What is the truth? Experiences tell the stories. It’s like beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
I’m not going to talk about the myths, misconceptions, and illusion of love in this short articles. However, to touch upon these matters, I would say this much that, falling in love is a kind of subjective feeling, and most likely is associated with sexual implication. We fall in romantic love and say, “I love her” or “I love him”, only when we are consciously or unconsciously sexually motivated (although lovers don’t like to admit or shy-fully hide the sexual element of love). In romantic love, not only a high mental emotion evolves but also the lover craves for physical union with the beloved. Like addicted people, who suffer when they can’t get their drug, the lover intensely suffers when he/she is apart from the beloved. Social barriers and familial pressure as well heighten the strong desire; longing for physical union. Another important matter is that the experience of romantic love is a temporary phenomenon; the very essence of romantic love (the fantasy and gracious feeling of romanticism) eventually fades. Yet, fantasy of romantic love never goes away from the mind of the lover who thinks romantic love is real and long-lasting. But building their lives with only the fantasy of romantic love leads to depression, emotional trauma, heart-breaking aching pain and anguish, abuse, divorce, and many other problems, as our experiences suggest. Many of us might eventually become convinced that romantic love is an illusion. Although it is a fact that loving without illusions lacks the high emotional aspect of romantic love. But, we are also aware of the fact that truth is better than fiction, which is the basis for lasting relationships. It is, therefore, important that we establish our relationships based on real information about each other and genuine commitment toward each other. Instead of dreaming our per-existing fantasies, we should know each other as we really are, and as the persons we are becoming. With our self-awareness and self-consciousness we need to choose our partner, but not to be enticed by romantic stories, movies, TV shows, poems, and songs etc. They are not real but love, marriage, and relationship we are involved in are the real experience in our lives. The wild, extravagant feeling of romantic love is certainly an enjoyable delusion but in reality our experience of emotional ‘super-high’ do not last long and forever. Truly, loving relationships are the bedrock of our lives, but only when it is founded upon reality.
Time has changed, so we are. The time of Romeo-Juliet, Sheri-Farad, Layla-Mojnu, Selim-Anarkali, Queen Victoria-Prince Albert, Napoleon-Josephine, Cleopatra-Antonio, Tristan-Isolde, or Paris-Helena and many others’ passionate love episode is over. It’s the time to remake, remold and redefine romantic love affairs in a way that best serves the practical needs of 21st century lovers, as we recall Somerset Mom’s words; “the old order changeth yielding place to new”. A new dimension has to be explored in which two lovers can love consciously but not driven by maddness or addiction. The very purpose of romantic love must be intense and making a relationship such as, Philia (deep rooted friendship between lovers) and Pragma (the love between the two lovers that is deep and long-lived passion between them). “I am filled with you………………………..There’s no room for lack of trust, but the trust; nothing in this existence but that existence”. (Jalaluddin Rumi).