Romantic love

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Painting of a man and woman, well dressed, the man lying down with his head in the woman's lap.

Romantic love is a passionate emotional desire by one human for another which is characterized by deep feelings of connection and intimacy. It is often seen as being intricately enmeshed with the sex drive as well as the "urge to build a deep attachment to a romantic partner."[1] It's an intense feeling of euphoria, almost manic, usually irrational, which helps people form permanent pair-bond relationships. It has been the subject of much speculation by thinkers in a wide variety of disciplines, including art, poetry, philosophy, and psychology.

The Western concept of romantic love was thought to have originated in the Middle Ages, particularly in France, and has been associated with courtly love marked by passion and sometimes secrecy and intrigue. Romantic love generally characterizes the early stages of a relationship or romance. It is often seen in many cultures as the best part of any relationship. There is considerable agreement that the intensity of romantic love fades over time, although there have been arguments that it becomes steadier and more mature. In a cynical view, it has been called an illusory commitment device shaped by processes of evolution which has the purpose of encouraging two humans to form a lasting bond to enable families.[2] Some scientists think romantic love is a "biological urge" distinct from sexual arousal,[2] while others see romance and sex as tightly intertwined. Regardless, romantic love is often contrasted with asexual platonic love.

Romantic love is emotionally risky. It was written:

Love is this way: You're on one side of the edge of a canyon -- windy, deep, sunny, steep. Your lover's on the other. You wave to each other across the divide. You have a parachute. Your lover has a parachute. But the cords to open the parachutes are on the BACK not the front so only your lover can open your parachute for you, and you for your lover. You pause. Are you ready to jump? Will your lover jump too? If you and your lover jump simultaneously, grasp mid-air and yank each other's cords, you'll glide sweetly to your getaway island where a candlelight dinner awaits. If one thing goes wrong, a glitch in timing, a puff of wind, the slightest hesitation -- you'll be crushed on the rocks below. --Anonymous


In the film Bright Star by director Jane Campion, the subject was the romantic love between John Keats and Fanny Brawne.[3] Campion described the relationship between the poet and the 18 year old woman as two hearts that were "entwined together" although there was no sexual intercourse.[3] Campion said:

I think the story touches me maybe because of the restraint that was placed upon [Keats and Brawne]. They got engaged finally, but they never did get married. ... I think it was interesting to me how intense and in love these two could be without having sex.[3]

The director was afraid that the natural beauty of the British countryside would bring "extraneous romanticism" since there were too many daffodils, which made the setting look "corny," so she instructed the crew to "pull out the daffodils."[3]

Woman in a painting reaching for something.

Reports in Newsweek magazine suggest that we live in an "unromantic age".[4] Author Nathaniel Branden, the husband of the philosopher of capitalism Ayn Rand, wrote extensively about romantic love. In 1968, Branden had fallen in love with another woman, and Rand kicked him out of her "inner circle" of confidants.[4] Branden said:

We are living in a time of terrible emotional shallowness. There is a lack of depth and passion in young people, and it shows up in their relationships. It's not good news for romantic love, and that means it's not good for people. They don't understand what they're depriving themselves of. There has to be some way back to intimacy.[4]

According to Branden, romantic love can be "terrifying" since it involves "surrender" of our feeling to another person, and risks the "possibility of loss." Need creates a vulnerability that can be "frightening and enraging."[4] A big requirement, according to Branden, is that we be happy with ourselves:

If we are happy within ourselves, we don't accept or demand that our partner should fulfill every need. We need to be comfortable with our own company.[4]

Branden suggested there was strong evidence that people wanted and valued romantic love and relationships characterized by mutual admiration.

The evidence is strong that people want romantic love. I see it with gay clients as well as straight. I'm not writing a prescription for the whole race, but from the work I've done I've seen that people want a relationship in which they are loved and valued in a very profound way, where they will accept and be accepted, will admire and be admired and will have sex.[4]

Branden feels a mistake many people believe is that the ideal form of romantic love is one which is selfless or altruistic. He explained:

To love is to see myself in you and to wish to celebrate myself with you. What I love is the embodiment of my values in another person. Love is an act of self-assertion, self-expression and a celebration of being alive.[4]

A requirement for romantic love is having a healthy respect for our own needs and interests, according to Branden.[4] If we don't love ourselves, it's hard to believe that someone else can love us.[4] Romantic love is generally characterized by a relationship of exclusivity which means that two people are committed to each other, and that no third persons are involved, according to Branden, who explained that "open" relationships generally become more closed, particularly as couples enter their 40s and 50s, and favor sexual exclusivity.[4]

The phenomenon of "love at first sight" is often thought of as romantic love. According to Branden, true romantic love is based on a shared knowledge of each other, which requires time to build. However, it's possible that, after sharing a few sentences together, that there's enough information exchanged that both persons want to know more about another, and hope that the other person will turn out to be the person they envisage. Branden explained:

To love a person is to know and love the person. But we can pick up an enormous amount about another human being just by exchanging a couple of sentences. It's not yet knowledge, it's an intuition that motivates you to want to find out more. You meet a man who makes a profound impression on you. He asks you out, and over time you find that he's who you thought he was. You find yourself feeling more and more. I wouldn't call that falling in love instantly, but it can feel like it was instant because of the strong immediate attraction. It became love after you had validated it by experience.[4]

Romantic love has been described as "crazy love", or even a mania,[2] since falling in love is often dispenses with our faculties of reason, decency, self-respect, and "even right and wrong".[5] Steven Pinker in Time Magazine wrote:

Why do fools fall in love? And when we do fall, why do our faculties of reason--and decency and self-respect and even right and wrong--sometimes not come along? For that matter, why would anyone reciprocate the love of a partner who has come so romantically unhinged? The thought of a loved one can turn our wits upside down, ratchet up our heart rate, impel us to slay dragons and write corny songs. We may become morose, obsessive, even violent. Lovesickness has been blamed on the moon, on the devil, but whatever is behind it, it doesn't look like the behavior of a rational animal trying to survive and reproduce. But might there be a method to this amorous madness?[5]

Pinker described the symptoms of love as if it's a kind of madness:

We all know the symptoms: idealized thoughts of the loved one; swings of mood from ecstasy to despair, insomnia and anorexia; and the intense need for signs of reciprocation.[5]

Other words to describe romantic love include obsession, dementia and mental illness.[2]


The attachments which form between people often seem to defy logic. Researchers believe "falling in love" as "among the most irrational of human behaviors".[2] Steven Pinker in Time argued that if people found mates rationally, by shopping, then romance might never happen. The principles of "smart shopping" wouldn't be enough, he argued.

Somewhere in this world lives the best-looking, richest, smartest person who would settle for you. But this ideal match is hard to find, and you may die single if you insist on waiting for such a mate to show up. So you choose to set up house with the best person you have found so far. Your mate has gone through the same reasoning, which leaves you both vulnerable. The law of averages says that someday one of you will meet an even more desirable person; maybe a newly single Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie will move in next door. If you are always going for the best you can get, at that point you will dump your partner pronto. But your partner would have invested time, child rearing and forgone opportunities in the relationship by that point. Anticipating this, your mate would have been foolish to enter the relationship in the first place, and the same is true for you. In this world of rational actors, neither of you could thus take the chance on the other. What could make you trust the other person enough to make that leap?[5]

Pinker argued that it's best to commit to someone who is similarly committed to you, since it forms a kind of protection against the possibility of your mate running off with somebody more attractive; therefore, romantic love has a purpose of protecting the pair-bond between two people.[5] The argument was made by economist Robert Frank on the basis of work by Thomas Schelling, a Nobel laureate. The theory is that social life is based on a series of promises, threats, and bargains in which it sometimes pays to "sacrifice your self-interest and control." And, as a result, suitors who are clearly smitten with an advantage, because it appears to the other person that their "pledge of love is credible."[5]

Difficult breakups

And the "dark side" to this is that there is the danger of violence when one partner threatens to leave the other. {{quote|Threats, no less than promises, must be backed up by signs of commitment. A desperate lover in danger of being abandoned may resort to threatening his wife or girlfriend (yes, his; it's usually a man). The best way to prevent her from calling his bluff is in fact not to bluff--to be the kind of hothead who is crazy enough to do it.[5]

Persons who have been in the "throes" of romantic love, and are subsequently rejected, can feel a sense of being overwhelmed.[2] "And when rejected, some people contemplate stalking, homicide, suicide ... This drive for romantic love can be stronger than the will to live," according to one researcher.[2]

It's difficult for the legal system to become involved when lovers have disputes over romantic love; one writer in 1913 suggested against any sort of "official interference" when dealing with the course of romantic love.[6] But the intensity of feeling when a breakup happens can be powerful, debilitating, and emotionally draining, and few situations which "provoke old wounds".[1]

Romantic love in film

Picture of a woman crying in a black and white photo.

A scene from the movie Ghost starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore was voted the "top love scene" in a movie, after a poll of filmgoers in the United Kingdom in 2003.[6] In the scene with a pottery wheel, Moore spun a clay while Swayze held her from behind. The second favorite scene was from the movie Love Story, a tear-jerker in which Ali McGraw dies in Ryan O'Neal's arms.[6] Other classic love scenes included the final goodbye on the airport tarmac in the movie Casablanca as well as Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr embracing on the beach (while a wave rolls over them) in the film From Here to Eternity.[6] The popularity of romantic comedies suggests the intensity with which people value romance, and as a result, like to watch stories of people with a strong attachment.

Fading passions

Painting of man and woman strolling in a park.

Scientists in Italy claimed that romantic love lasts "just a year" when they measured raised levels of protein in the bloodstream which have been linked to the feelings of euphoria and dependence typical of the start of a relationship.[7] Levels of the proteins, known as neurotrophins, receded over time.[7] They examined 58 people who had recently started a relationship and found elevated proteins which cause tell-tale signs such as "sweaty palms" and "the butterflies" feeling. After a year, 39 people were still in the same relationship, and their protein levels "had been reduced to normal levels," the scientists at the University of Pavia learned.[7] This didn't indicate that the people were "no longer in love" but rather that they were no longer in what he described as "acute love". Scientist Lance Workman of Bath Spa University said:

Research has suggested that romantic love fades after a few years and becomes companionate love and it seems certain biological factors play a role.[7]

If a relationship created by romantic love lasts, the intense feelings of strong sexual desire and romantic interest generally become more moderate and comfortable over time.[8] It is generally thought that in long term relationships, the romantic love component becomes muted, although there have been studies disputing this in the Review of General Psychology which suggest that romantic love doesn't necessarily fade over time.[8] But the obsessive feelings of early romance can change into more comfortable, less anxious feelings of strong romantic desire and can help cement a relationship which spans many years, even decades.[8]

The compulsiveness of early stages of love may not be present in long-term relationships, but you can still feel romantic love, desire, sexual interest for someone you've been with for many, many years. -- Bianca Acevedo[8]

The problem for researchers is separating the intense obsessive feelings of early romance with long-term desire.[8]

In the early stages of a relationship, everything's uncertain, and there's a lot of anxiety that's just not present in long-term relationships. When we assess romantic love apart from the early obsessive aspect, a pattern of satisfaction emerges even more clearly.[8]

One researcher offered this explanation of how the romantic impulse seems to dampen:

When one first falls in love -- regardless of age -- there's a kind of euphoria. Then you get to know them, and realize they have flaws ... But, if you're in a relationship, even though the euphoria is gone, the joy of being in love is still there. -- Dr. Virginia Sadock, director of the program in human sexuality and sex therapy at New York University Langone Medical Center.[8]

Romantic love can be kept alive by doing activities together seen as "novel and challenging", such as scheduling time alone together, meeting in different places, role playing.[8] In long term relationships, if people haven't had sex for a while, one researcher advises to be aware of the lack of sexual activity, and "do something about it."[8]

Brief history of romantic love

The term romance originated with the medieval ideal of chivalry and was expressed in books, typically extolling the virtues of courtly love. Some historians believe that the word "romance" developed from a vernacular dialect within the French language meaning "verse narrative" referring to the style of speech, writing, and artistic talents within the upper classes. The word was originally an adverb of the Latin "Romanicus," or "of the Roman style" and the sense of chivalric adventure merged with a sense of love sometime during the seventeenth century. The word "romance" has also developed with other meanings in other languages such as the early nineteenth century Spanish and Italian definitions of "adventurous" and "passionate", sometimes combining the idea of "love affair" or "idealistic quality."

Anthropologists such as Claude Lévi-Strauss show that there were complex forms of courtship in ancient as well as contemporary primitive societies, although the sense of romance is different from the modern sensibility.[9]

The concept of romantic love was popularized in Western culture by the game of courtly love. Troubadours in the Middle Ages engaged in trysts - usually extramarital - with women as a game created for fun rather than for marriage. Since at the time marriage was a formal arrangement,[10] courtly love was a way for people to express the love typically not found in their marriage.[11] In courtly love, "lovers" did not refer necessarily engage in sex but rather in the act of emotional loving. The secrecy of the arrangement was a spur to the passion. Short secret trysts escalated mentally but not always physically.[12] Rules of the game were even codified. For example, De amore or The Art of Courtly Love, as it is known in English, written in the 12th century, lists such rules 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".[13]

Love has increasingly become a subject of serious academic study, but it wasn't always fashionable to study it as an subject.[5] For much of the twentieth century, there was a conception that love was an artificial construction by Hollywood or greeting card firms such as Hallmark,[5] and romanticism was seen as a temporary movement in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe, based possibly on the idea of courtly love from the Middle Ages. According to one report, scholars had viewed romantic love as a "recent social construction."[5] A report in Time Magazine in 1977 suggested that:

Romantic love was introduced to Western culture by late 11th century troubadours. Since then the telltale symptoms —pain of longing, wide-eyed idealization of the beloved and vibrato of the soul —have become established as the preferred form of sexual attraction. Now, however, it may be nearing the end of its 900-year run. According to a Michigan State University psychologist, romantic love is dying out.[1]

The researcher quoted in the 1977 article, G. Marian Kinget, believed that the "idealization of lovers" had been shifting more towards a "reality testing" in which "young people are casting a cold eye on prospective mates to check for flaws.[1] Kinget hypothesized that the agony and ecstasy typical of romantic love had become "meaningless" and "quaint" because of the breakdown of traditional roles, including the then-increasing prevalence of casual sex.[1] Kinget predicted a shift towards greater "emotional and social stability" as a result.

However, in the 2000s, there is renewed interest in the subject, and the notion that "romantic love is dead" seems out of favor; the view in 2010 is that romantic love has existed throughout time in different cultures and ways. While the institution of marriage in places like the United States as well as most Western nations seems to be foundering, with fewer people marrying, marrying later, and with the huge prevalence of divorce, particularly in the US, there are no indications that romantic love is dead, but is quite alive.

Is there are religious component to romantic love? Generally, in the Western sense, romantic love is seen as attraction between people, although some religions insist that all love has a spiritual dimension. When romantic love results in a wedding, which takes place in a church, they see the end result as a union joined by God or a spiritual presence. But while some persons have an intense attachment to God, their relationships are generally not see as romantic in nature, but rather are usually described as spiritual or platonic.

Romantic love studied by academics

There is support for a way of thinking about romantic love which sees it as a "generalized reward and aversion system in the brain, and put this intellectual construct of love directly onto the same axis as homeostatic rewards such as food, warmth, craving for drugs."[2] Scientists have been paying more attention to the chemistry of love. There are indications that hormones such as testosterone play a big role in both human sexes which fuels the sexual impulse; in addition, vasopressin and oxytocin have a role in pushing companionate love. "Romantic passion taps the same dopamine system that is engaged by other obsessive drives like drug addiction."[5]

Researcher Helen Fisher studied college students who claimed that they had recently fallen in love. They screened the students, identified which ones they agreed were smitten, and studied their brains using imaging techniques as well as measurements of brain chemicals. For persons in love, certain regions of the brain were more active:

Many brain parts became active in our love-struck subjects when they focused on their beloved. However, two regions appear to be central to the experience of being in love. Perhaps our most important finding concerned activity in the caudate nucleus. This is a large, C-shaped region that sits deep near the center of your brain. It is very primitive--part of what is called the reptilian brain because it evolved long before mammals proliferated, some 65 million years ago. Our brain scans showed that parts of the body and the tail of the caudate became particularly active as a lover gazed at the photo of a sweetheart.[1]

In short, parts of the brain function as a "rewards system" where general arousal takes place, and falling in romantic love is similar, neurologically, to the sensations of pleasure which motivate people to acquire rewards.[1] Fisher found that:

... romantic love is associated with elevated levels of dopamine or norepinephrine. The VTA is a mother lode for dopamine-making cells. With their tentacle-like axons, these nerve cells distribute dopamine to many brain regions, including the caudate nucleus. And as this sprinkler system sends dopamine to various parts of the brain, it produces focused attention as well as fierce energy, concentrated motivation to attain a reward, and feelings of elation--even mania--the core feelings of romantic love.[1]

For Fisher, this helps explain why lovers are motivated to do what they do, including...

  • talk all night
  • walk till dawn
  • write extravagant poetry
  • write self-revealing e-mails
  • cross continents or oceans "to hug for just a weekend"
  • change jobs or lifestyles
  • dying for one another[1]
  • compulsive phone calling
  • serenades
  • yelling from rooftops[2]

Behaviors like these could also be described by terms which suggest mental illness, such as psychosis.[2]

Psychologists are thinking that romantic love is not merely an emotion, but a "motivation system designed to enable suitors to build and maintain an intimate relationship with a preferred mating partner."[1] The thinking is that passion comes from the "motor of the mind" and is fueled by dopamine, a powerful stimulant.[1]

Psychologists such as Carl Jung suggested that the strength of a person's bond to their parents "unconsciously influences the choice of husband or wife."[1] And author Lauren Mackler in The Huffington Post agreed, particularly after going through a divorce, that parental upbringing had much to do with a person's ability to experience romantic love.[1] Mackler feels it's the unconscious mind which "draws into our lives those people who provoke our deepest wounds."[1] According to Mackler, three theories of romantic love are:

  • Social-exchange theory is that we choose mates we perceive as "equals", trying to choose mates by evaluating their youth, social status, creativity, intelligence, humor, kindness.[1]
  • Persona theory is we choose mates depending on how well they "raise our self-esteem" and are more likely to choose a mate who is perceived well by others.[1]

Researcher Martie Haselton of the University of California at Los Angeles emphasized the evolutionary benefits of romantic love, since they encourage the formation of families.[2] Romantic love, in this view, is a "commitment device" which motivates people to become attached, and this attachment had positive evolutionary consequences for the offspring of the sex between the romantically-involved partners.[2] Romantic love evolved along with humans, according to this view. Haselton wrote: "Natural selection has built love to make us feel romantic."[2] She speculates that while sex is a drive to reproduce, love was a drive to form a long-term commitment.[2]

Researchers doing brain scans are seeing that romantic love is similar, neurologically, to powerful human drives.[2]

It is closer in its neural profile to drives like hunger, thirst or drug craving, the researchers assert, than to emotional states like excitement or affection. As a relationship deepens, the brain scans suggest, the neural activity associated with romantic love alters slightly, and in some cases primes areas deep in the primitive brain that are involved in long-term attachment. The research helps explain why love produces such disparate emotions, from euphoria to anger to anxiety, and why it seems to become even more intense when it is withdrawn.[2]

Different thinkers explore romantic love

Painting of two people walking away.
  • Helen Fisher in “Why We Love,”[14] used brain scans to hypothesize that love is the product of a chemical reaction in the brain involving such chemicals as norepinephrine and dopamine, and suggested romantic love has a genetic basis, and therefore love is a natural drive like hunger.
  • John Townsend in “What Women Want, What Men Want,”[15], agreed about the genetic basis of love, but suggested how this causes the sexes to be different in terms of their tendencies. He argued men are drawn to youth and beauty while women are drawn to status and security, and because of these differences, a natural selection process results where males seek healthy women of childbearing age, whereas women seek men who are willing and able to take care of them financially, and offer protection to them and their children.
  • Karen Horney in “The Problem of the Monogamous Ideal,”[16] believed that the overestimation of love leads to disillusionment, and that the desire to possess the partner results in the other partner wanting to escape. Further, she suggested that the taboos against sex result in non-fulfillment. Taken together, these factors can result in a secret hostility which alienates the other partner, leading one or both partners to seek love objects outside the marriage.
  • Harold Bessell in “The Love Test,”[17] believed two factors determine the quality of a relationship: "romantic attraction" and "emotional maturity". An immature person would overestimate love, become disillusioned, and have an affair, while a mature person would constructively work out problems.
  • Lisa M. Diamond saw romantic love as a mix of emotional and sexual desire for another person, but proposed that the sexual desire and romantic love are "functionally independent."[18] She believed romantic love could be directed towards same-sex or opposite-sex partners and thought it possible for someone who is homosexual to fall in love with someone of the opposite gender as for someone who is heterosexual to fall in love with someone of the same gender.[19]
  • Spinoza suggested that love was pleasure in which, within a person's mind, there was joy linked with the idea of an external thing or person as the cause of that joy. Joy, according to Spinoza, is a "man's passage from a lesser to a greater perfection", and that "love" is a joy "accompanied by the idea of an external cause." In romantic love, then, the external cause is the person one is infatuated with. But love can be excessive, warned Spinoza, in The Ethics.[20]
  • René Girard argued that romantic attraction is a mix of jealousy and rivalry, typically in a love triangle. Shakespeare wrote plays such as A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, and The Winter's Tale in which the prospect of romance is whetted by a rivalry.
  • Arthur Schopenhauer was a philosopher of pessimism who, despite his pessimism, achieved considerable romantic success in his personal life. Schopenhauer argued that the challenge of courtship prevented suicide from boredom. He thought people seek partners who share certain interests and tastes while at the same time looking for a "complement" or completing of themselves in a partner, as in the cliche that "opposites attract."
  • Kierkegaard thought marriage and romance were not harmoniously in tune with each other.
  • Shakespeare thought marriage was too pure to have romance in it, but that romance was best enjoyed in an extramarital arrangement.
  • Gary Zukav in "Seat of the Soul and Soul Stories" saw romantic love as an illusion which could never be truly fulfilling. He stated: "Romance is your desire to make yourself complete through another person rather than through your own inner work," and tried to isolate the idea of romance from the concept of "true love." His argued that "real love" was better than mere romantic involvement.

Other philosophers and writers and academics who have written about romantic love include Jane Austen, George Meredith, Proust, D. H. Lawrence, Sigmund Freud, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller, Alan Soble, Ayn Rand.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 Helen Fisher. Biology: Your Brain In Love, Time Magazine, Jan. 19, 2004. Retrieved on 2010-03-08. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "twsMAR11h" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "twsMAR11h" defined multiple times with different content
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 Carl Zimmer. Romance Is An Illusion, Time Magazine, Jan. 17, 2008. Retrieved on 2010-03-08. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "twsMAR11i" defined multiple times with different content
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Melissa Block. Jane Campion's Ode To Keats' Romantic Love, NPR, September 18, 2009. Retrieved on 2010-03-08.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Temma Ehrenfeld. Is Romance Dead? A new book offers advice for sustaining love in an 'anti-romantic age.', Newsweek, Jan 30, 2008. Retrieved on 2010-03-08.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Steven Pinker. Crazy Love, Time Magazine, Jan. 17, 2008. Retrieved on 2010-03-08.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 DEFENDS ROMANTIC LOVE.; Dr. Jordan Says Free Choice is Better Than Selection by Others., The New York Times, July 16, 1913. Retrieved on 2010-03-08. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "twsMAR11g" defined multiple times with different content
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Romantic love 'lasts just a year', BBC News, 28 November 2005. Retrieved on 2010-03-08.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Serena Gordon. Romantic Love: Study disputes notion that passion can't be part of long-term relationships, US News, March 25, 2009. Retrieved on 2010-03-08.
  9. Lévi-Strauss pioneered the scientific study of the betrothal of cross cousins in such societies, as a way of solving such technical problems as the avunculate and the incest taboo (Introducing Lévi-Strauss), p. 22-35.
  10. Middle - Courtly Love
  11. Courtly Love and the origins of romance
  12. A History of Women: Silences of the Middle Ages
  13. The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus
  14. Helen Fisher, 2004, “Why We Love” Henry Holt and Company LLC, 175 Fifth Ave. New York, NY 10010, ISBN 0-8050-7796-0
  15. John Townsend, 1998, “What Women Want, What Men Want” Oxford University Press, United Kingdom ISBN 9780195114881
  16. Karen Horney, 1967, “Feminine Psychology,” W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New, York, NY ISBN 0-3933-1080-9
  17. Harold Bessell, 1984 “The Love Test,” Warner Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10103, ISBN 0-446-32582-1
  18. Lisa M. Diamond (2004). "Emerging Perspectives On Distinctions Between Romantic Love and Sexual Desire". Current Directions in Psychological Science 13 (3): 116–119. DOI:10.1111/j.0963-7214.2004.00287.x. Research Blogging.
  19. Lisa Diamond (2003). "What does Sexual Orientation Orient? A Biobehavioral Model Distinguishing Romantic Love and Sexual Desire". Psychological Review 110 (1): 173–192. DOI:10.1037/0033-295X.110.1.173. Research Blogging.
  20. Baruch Spinoza (original author); Edwin Curley (translator). "A Spinoza Reader: The Ethics and Other Works by Benedict de Spinoza", Princeton University Press, 1994, pp. 188,189. Retrieved on 2010-03-08.