Romantic Love has been described as… intense emotional experiences such as increased energy, euphoria, obsessive thinking about the loved one, feelings of dependency and craving. When people are ‘in love’ they may feel as if they have uncovered the meaning of life. People often report feeling complete and that their life feels whole.
Bronte superbly captured the experience in Wuthering Heights: ‘‘I am Heathcliff – he’s always, always in my mind – not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself – but, as my own being.” The arts continue to be consumed by efforts to describe and understand romantic love.
The book by Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera, is but one example of a story illustrating the power of enduring love, where a couple fall in love in their youth, go their separate ways during midlife and return to one another’s arms in their old age. Michael Hogan, Ph.D
Ah, ha! So there is yet hope for me! Now some random facts about people and love:
The age-group most likely to find love abroad is the over-sixties. Almost 10 per cent of holiday romances lead to wedding bells.
Engagement rings are often worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because the ancient Greeks maintained that finger contains the vena amoris, or the “vein of love,” that runs straight to the heart. The first recorded wedding rings appear in ancient Egypt, with the circle representing eternity as well as powerful sun and moon deities.
A four-leaf clover is often considered good luck, but it is also part of an Irish love ritual. In some parts of Ireland, if a woman eats a four-leaf clover while thinking about a man, supposedly he will fall in love with her.
Plato asserts in his Symposium that initially all humans were whole, hermaphroditic beings with four hands, four legs, two identical faces on one head/neck, four ears, and both sets of genitals. When these beautiful, strong beings tried to overthrow the gods, Zeus split them into two—man and woman— and created the innate desire of human beings for one another to feel whole again.
Scientists suggest that merely staring into another person’s eyes is a strong precursor to love. In an experiment, strangers of the opposite sex were put in a room together for 90 minutes where they talked about intimate details and then stared into each other’s eyes without talking. Many felt a deep attraction for each other, and two married each other six months later.
To remain in love for a lifetime, therapists advise couples to listen actively to your partner, ask questions, give answers, appreciate, stay attractive, grow intellectually, include your partner, give him/her privacy, be honest and trustworthy, tell your mate what you need, accept his/her shortcomings, give respect, never threaten to leave, say “no” to adultery, don’t assume the relationship will last forever, and cultivate variety.
While living life alone is something I have become accustomed to, I grateful to still daydream about lasting romantic love coming into my life. Until the day I die and beyond, I will remain open to true love; not driven to it… but open to the possibility.
The human heart, at whatever age,
opens to the heart that opens in return.