Happy Talk and Happy Thoughts: Unraveling Romantic Love’s Reality

by | May 12, 2022 | Featured Article | 0 comments

There are all kinds of love: maternal love, filial love, paternal love, you name it, but the most controversial is romantic love, a combination of emotional closeness and sexual feelings. Even though romantic love has been the most popular theme of writers, poets, authors, musicians, film writers, and artists throughout the ages, it is still the most misunderstood. In Romantic Love: Just a Fantasy? in Dr. Geraldine’s book, BEYOND PIPE DREAMS AND PLATITUDES, the author Dr. Geraldine K. Piorkowski, shares some compelling insights on romantic love that arose from her fifty years’ experience as a psychologist, working with clients of diverse ages, races, cultures, socioeconomic levels, and professions.

Love’s Reality

Is romantic love the be-all and end-all goal of life? For some people, it is, especially those who believe in magic, fairy tales, and superstition. But, even for these true believers, the romantic notion of love, where people live happily ever after, is unrealistic and fraught with disappointment. But there is a happy side to love. As with most things, romantic love has its beautiful moments alongside its negatives.

Pros of Romantic Love

There are many advantages to a healthy, romantic relationship. The ongoing love shared between partners can be very beneficial health-wise, especially if the romance extends over a long period of time. The mutual showing of love, care, respect, and support for one other boosts overall well-being, producing beneficial brain chemicals that can improve physiological functioning. People in long-term, romantic relationships live longer than those who are single.

Romantic love also promotes a person’s positive outlook on life. Because a person feels cared about and supported, the whole world looks better. Whistling a happy tune, the person in love is often kinder to others as well.

When a person is “madly” in love, there is almost nothing they wouldn’t do to please their beloved. Often, the overhaul of their lifestyle to suit the tastes of the other person is also beneficial to them, as when alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs are eliminated, and a healthier lifestyle is encouraged.

Cons of Romantic Love

As Freddie Mercury belts out, “Too much love will kill you!” If you neglect yourself and become a slave to the other, you destroy your own integrity as a person. While romantic love may appear to be sunshine and roses during the first few months of the relationship, these honeymoon emotions don’t last. As Dr. Geraldine emphasizes, the surreal images people create of their romantic partners are simply fantasies filled with unrealistic expectations. And once these unrealistic expectations are not met, there is hurt and disappointment. “I thought you loved me. Why didn’t you stick up for me? is often a poignant cry from a wounded partner who feels betrayed.

Besides the attacks, betrayals, disappointments, and perceived rejections stemming from a romantic partner, having a dependent and needy partner is another negative aspect of romantic love. A needy and clingy partner can suck the life out of the relationship, almost putting a chokehold on the other person. Every person, even when in a romantic relationship, needs to have the autonomy—the space to pursue their own interests– apart from the other person. When this doesn’t occur, a partner can feel so suffocated by the other’s needs and demands that ending the relationship may seem like the only way to breathe freely once again.

Toxic positivity can be another negative aspect of romantic love. Toxic positivity is the unrealistic mindset that everything is perfectly fine, regardless of the elephant sitting in the room. Because such a super-positive person ignores truths or facts, not dealing with problems tends to perpetuate them until the point of no return, that is, until the damage is permanent.

In Summary

Romantic love is beautiful when it’s healthy and realistic. While the “cloud nine” feelings don’t last much longer than the honeymoon, romantic love can be transformed into its more durable version by the Big Three: Commitment, Communication, and Companionship. Such a quieter, less turbulent love is based on affection, realistic expectations, shared values, and the ability to resolve conflict—a vital skill in any relationship.

Find out more about romantic love and other psychological realities that run counter to popular culture. Grab a copy of Dr. Geraldine’s book, “BEYOND PIPE DREAMS AND PLATITUDES: Insights on Love, Luck, and Narcissism from a Longtime Psychologist,” on Amazon or visit her website now: https:geraldinekpiorkowskibooks.com.

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