To me, real love is wanting what's best for another, even if it's not what you want for yourself. I think there are two primary examples of good love, which can be defined through two ostensive definitions. (Ostensive definitions define terms through citing examples. 

Parental love, often shown through sacrificing for the benefit of a child. Saving for an education for the child. Urging them to take a job across the country because it looks like a good opportunity.

Friendship. At its best, a friend is there for you and wants to see you happy and successful. When you have an opportunity that will take you far away, your friend buries their grief to wish you well and offers to stay in touch.

Contrast those examples with romantic love:

When you're in romantic love, you want the other for yourself. You would happily monopolize their time. You think about them constantly. You check up on them if you think they might be with other people. You analyze what they say for hidden meanings.

Sounds like an ostensive definition of an obsession to me.

Tags: friendship, love, obsession, parenthood, romance, romantic

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Yeah, pretty good for a damm yankee....

Then there's always "Possum Kingdom" and "Hey Joe"

Definition of the word obsession seems too negative for a blanket statement. For some it would make sense, but not for everyone. But it's definitely a neuro-chemical phenomenon, built in for the purpose of procreation. As absolute as that definition might sound, it's also ultimately relative just because of the variety of personalities (and perhaps "orientation") that can exist in humans.

Generalizations can only go so far...

(...ahem, generally speaking. There, see, I'm even contradicting my own conclusions. So much for perfection in language.)

You're right in a sense. Romantic love is linked to the urge to procreate. In that sense, it's not really love, it's an aspect of the sex drive. When someone is romantically infatuated, they are, so to speak, locked on to the target. 

Real love is altruistic. A loving parent or a good friend are examples of true love, because a major part of their love is wanting what's best with the other person, even if it's not best from their point of view. A person involved in a romantic fixation on another person can't think that way. They would experience losing the other person to a job far away, for example, as just a loss. Not as a loss ameliorated by the benefit to the other person.

When you say generally speaking generalizations can only go so far you tacitly admit that a generalization can be absolutely true.

When you say generally speaking generalizations can only go so far you tacitly admit that a generalization can be absolutely true.

Agreed. But generalizations are "not always absolutely true", e.g. in the case of a general definition of romantic love. It can sometimes be a positive experience, over and above "just" an obsession. If you're just speaking for yourself, then what you're saying is absolutely plausible.

Well, of course it has its pleasure aspect. I never contradicted that. In fact, it's the pleasure of being with the intended that is addictive and feeds the obsession!

...pleasure aspect...

I think you meant not to respond to me. Try this on someone else.

Any good relationship is based on more than just a selfish desire, however without any selfish desires you are not putting yourself into the relationship, but if you only have selfish desires, you're not interested in the other person besides what they mean to you. 

I would be inclined to think that the best relationships are those in which the participants have both selfish and selfless desires about their partner.

I want my girlfriend to be "mine", but I also want her to be happy, I'm not ashamed for having selfish (possessive) desires, because they are (mostly) balanced out by my desire for her to be happy.

I've known people that attempt really freaking hard to proof that their love is only selfless and that they would do anything to make their partner happy, that sounds cute, but those people are only disregarding and denying their own individuality by doing so. And that doesn't seem to be love, that sounds more like obsession.

I want my girlfriend to be "mine", but I also want her to be happy, I'm not ashamed for having selfish (possessive) desires, because they are (mostly) balanced out by my desire for her to be happy.

But would you love your intended so much that you'd introduce her to someone who might make her happier than you can?

The thing about real love is that it is so deep it involves very strong self-sacrifice. Only parents and friends do that, not romantic lovers.

Hey Unseen:

When you're in romantic love, you want the other for yourself. You would happily monopolize their time. You think about them constantly. You check up on them if you think they might be with other people. You analyze what they say for hidden meanings.

I tend to agree with you about a LOT of things, but I don't agree with the above statement. It is not romantic love, it is the very definition of control/obsession/control, which is NOT love at all. Too many people think this is how love should be but it's NOT. It's possible to have romantic love without the above. It must stem from a deep respect that's build over time with no expectations or strings attached. It's rare, IMO, but very possible.

Then it's more like a friendship than a typical romantic love. Successful marriages tend to lose the romance except around special occasions or special moments because otherwise we'd hardly be able to function in terms of our other responsibilities. 

What we normally call a romance is a very obsessive self-centered thing. You don't think, "Gee I wish Pat would take that job in India because it'd really be good for her career." No, you hope that doesn't happen. You feel guilty about it, but you know that might be the end of the romance and so you don't want it.

But there's another kind of love that is an unselfish love. A self-sacrificing love. This kind of love is at its core NOT self-seeking. It is pure and just as romantic. Obsessive love is not romantic, it's clingy. Now it's possible to love someone unselfishly and still have a few selfish moments here and there. I think that's human nature though. And no it's not just friendship because there's a sexual nature to it. Friendship love has no sex involved if it's true to the word "friend."

 

One of the most romantic people I have ever known was my sons Father.

He would bring me breakfast in bed with china tea cups and roses.

He was always presenting me with beautiful little trinkets and shiny objects that he knew I just adored.

He was always tributing songs to me.

I thought he was great until I found out that he was a Narcissist -and all of those things he was doing were for his benefit and not mine.

So now, I tend to go a bit cold with the overly romantic types.

 

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