What is a romantic/love relationship?


I had a bit of trouble determining a title. Though formed as a question, I mean it to a degree as rhetoric. Yet, I still wish to challenge the modern interpretation of these words. I would begin by saying that in my mind love, sex and romance are separate abstracts. That is to say, one can exist independently with or without the others. For example, I most often define my sexuality as heterosexual, I am attracted to women. However, I find this lacking in nuance. While true there is a physical attraction to women, I lack any drive to form long term monogamous bonds. Nor do I feel strong emotionally to the rituals we attach around words like love. I define this part of my as aromantic. I am unsure if it is because of, as a result of or completely unrelated to this but I also have a divorce in my mind on the ideas of sex and love. This would be one of the reason I started this thread. My own understanding and definition of love appears to be skewed relative to fiction. That in fiction, these two ideas must be connected. I would theorize this is linked to my aromantic nature. How does one describe something intrinsic? I have observed in others, a drive to couple. Not just partner but couple. In the long term. For those of you saying 'Duh." I lack that drive. The same way I would say I lack the drive to have sex with men. So, what does this have to do with anything? Part of me simply wanted recognition for this slightly unorthodox perception and the rest of me? I wanted to inform. To ask and allow others to learn and grow. I don’t ask for your approval but your consideration and opinion. It need not be more then simple thought. This is all I ask.

Now, so there is no misunderstandings, I have these as personal view points. It’s just that in fiction, there is always this intrinsic perception that love, sex and romance are a package deal.


I once read a book written by a brilliant psychologist named Scott Peck called The Road Less Traveled that defined love as, and I quote, “the will to aid one’s spiritual growth.” He also wrote that the state people usually called “being in love” was not actual love, but desire and cathexis (attaching importance to a person, place, or thing), and that real love, the wish to see another or oneself grow and mature, cannot happen until people have “fallen out of love.” It seems to me that it is actually harder to really love someone that you are “in love” with, as being “in love” is a mostly selfish emotion, seeking pleasure from another instead of seeking to help them grow as a person.

I say this to both add another definition of love to take into consideration, and to further support your claim that games and media in general should not assume that everyone believes “love, sex and romance are a package deal.” There are many definitions of love and many of them do not follow the fairy tale pattern taught to us as children.


I’m a romantic asexual, so I have the same problem, just in reverse. Everyone I know equates sex with love and believes that if there isn’t any sort of sexual attraction, it isn’t love. My idea of love is more in line with the guy @Interestedparty quoted. When I say I want to fall in love, I mean that I want to find someone to spend my life with and share all the things I love. I guess that’s still kind of selfish, but whatever. The point is that I see love and sex as two separate things, and I’m interested in the love, not the sex.


Well… Despite possibly breaking the mood… I will pitch my own definition of love using a single quote from one of my favorite characters in anything

“Definition: ‘Love’ is making a shot to the knees of a target 120 kilometers away using an Aratech sniper rifle with a tri-light scope… Love is knowing your target, putting them in your targeting reticule, and together, achieving a singular purpose against statistically long odds.”

Put excellently. In regards to romamce? No idea I just know how to define love for myself.


That character is simply fantastic. :smiley:


Yes. Yes he is (minus SWTORs butchery). He also gives what should be the textbook definition of love.


Sex is a physical act and can, but doesn’t have to be (and is usually not) connected to love.

Love can take many forms such as the love between mother and child, the love between friends, or the love between husband and wife…etc.

When you love someone you respect them by listening to them and caring about their wellbeing and desires, yet can still care about yourself. Lust is when one person cares only about their own wants, needs, and wellbeing.

For example, if a parent loves a child and that child only wants to eat candy for every meal for the rest of their life, it would not be caring if the parent agreed to the child’s request because their request is unhealthy and causes harm. The parent can benefit from a child’s cuteness, but has to also do things where the parent does not benefit and may not like such as changing diapers, taking off from work to take care of a sick child, discipline,etc…

Romance is mostly the courting process such as dating, seronades, the expression of one’s interest for those who are or want to date, marry, or couple.


Going off of the whole “love leads people to commit selfish acts” vibe I’d say the reason is because humans are selfish beings. Many people, especially in today’s society, feel the need to acquire many unnecessary items that they may or may not use simply because they want the thing and believe it will make them feel better. Some insight into this occurrence can be gained by reading “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins who goes so far as to say that selfishness is a genetic adaptation to pass on traits and claims altruism is one of the most selfish acts since a being commits themself to allowing aiding others with similar genes. Whether or not you believe this, there is some truth of the matter as most altruistic acts only benefit those known by the being. “Love” when seen in this view will commit one to a life if selfishness no matter what.
On the concept of love, I personally believe that common idea for what it stands for has been tarnished. Love is an instinct that makes a person want to try their best and do what they can to make life better for those they care for. This definition in today’s society, however, cannot be applied to the general belief that love requires a physical or over emotional aspect to it: Physical being sex and over-emotional as commitment to big acts that if not committed to brings one out of love. Such aspects should not be seen as a part of what is considered love, but as something different as the OP said.

Summary Points:
1) Love makes people do the most selfish things because people are selfish.
2) Love does not require a physical or over-emotional aspect.
3) Review what you know and make your own definition based on how you feel.
4) Praise the sun [T]/


I think lust is completely selfish, not love. People who love someone may do nice things for others because they get a personal satisfaction from that, abd that may be a little selfish, but does it really matter why someone does something good if something good is ultimately done?

If a soldier loves their comrades and sacrifices themselves in order for their fellow soldiers to live, I don’t think that is completly selfish. If a parent and child are on a sinking ship and the parent prioritizes the child’s safety even at the cost of the parent’s safety, I don’t think that’s completely selfish.

Although, it is selfish to do things only because you want a reward or to ignore the wishes ir needs of the person you supposedly love. Buying your significant other flowers and choclates for Valentine’s Day when your SO has repeatedly told you they are alergic to those things coupled with doing various other things that prove you really don’t listen to, care, or put thought into the relationship while still seeking a reward or thanks is mostly selfish.


I find this topic intriguing. By and large because it is something I have struggled with myself quite a few times. Before spending some time on these forums, I had no idea how to define myself. Now, I phrase it that I am libido-fluid. Essentially, my sex-drive can fluctuate anywhere from ace-spectrum ‘Thank you, but no, another time would be better for me.’ to ‘cries I want sex! Someone attractive, anyone? Gimme!’. It is incredibly frustrating because a person strictly after love, or strictly after sex, is just simply going to find me objectionable at times. In the same way that my libido fluctuates, so does the coupling urge- there are times I simply do not want to, I just want someone I could comfortably enjoy sex with, and other times, I want to find someone that will get me in such a way that a lasting bond can form. I may be mixing up terms here by definition, but I have a desire to form a relationship, but not a desire to couple. I want my autonomy, seeing someone once a week for most of a day would be perfect for me, and having the rest of the time for myself. But spending every day with someone, unless it is the right someone that can fade in and out at becoming a background presence, I wouldn’t want. So it’s not, for me, that I just want to have sex, and it’s not that I need love. Sometimes it is one thing, sometimes the other, and sometimes both- so, libido or romantic-fluid. My orientation is solidly ‘I am attracted to women’. and my gender is solidly ‘male, except I don’t care’. Monogamy and Polyamory have the exact same amount of appeal to me. Short term and long term both live in the now- if I believe that I want to stay with someone, keep them in my life, I love them. If I appreciate them being in my life but believe it will end at some point, I am attracted to and care for the individual but would not call it love. Love is fascinating. A blanket term for four different feelings, really, defined from intimacy, security, and passion. If someone fails to find the feeling one of these brings, they still feel love, but it is not consummate love; which could be thought of as your fairy-tale romance or true-love-story sort of love that humbles you. The rough bit about it, is love rarely develops equally between people. Finding emotions, or finding sex, it could be considered easy (for some people, for unfortunates like me it certainly is not) - while finding someone that matches what you yourself seek, and elicits that from you, is rather more difficult. Yet, possible. Always, possible.


I dunno about romanticism… Ok, in fact i am a romantic, that is awful awkward when you got raised in a nation that loathe this kind of thing, regarding it as “unmanly”.

But i know about Love and snow.

The eskimo people get hundreds of names for snow. we got to manage ourselves with only one. Love. Is. Like that!

Also there is sex…

What is kinda… different!
Love and sex are relatives, but not equals.
There is nothing i can do to explain it further… well unless i try to use metaphor…


Love without sex is friendship!

Sex is imagination, fantasy.

Love is Prose and sex poetry!

love is Christian, sex is Pagan, hehe.

Love make us fools, sex make fools of us.

Love is normandy and sex is blitzkrieg
and goes on…

Love is a ephemeral condition.
Sex is a inter course act.

But romance, true romance is like a sweet lembrança.


I was reading up on asexuality and how a relationship between a sexual and an asexual person works, and I noticed something interesting: Sexual people dating an asexual person wonder, “They’re not attracted to me/aren’t interested in sleeping with me! Does that mean they don’t actually love me?” Meanwhile, asexual people dating a sexual person wonder, “They want to sleep with me! Does that mean their feelings toward me are shallow and that they don’t actually love me?” I found that kind of funny :smile:


I consider myself aromantic (though technically I’m grey-romantic, since I did develop romantic love for my husband after being with him happily for seven years.) I also have a difficult time loving and bonding with people in general. On the psychological spectrum, I’m near the “low attachment” extreme of relationship modeling.

I am very up front about this with potential new partners, but often they don’t believe me. They assume that if they’re nice enough and court me long enough, my heart will melt and I will love snuggling and pet names and flowers. I don’t even like kissing unless it’s foreplay, and hugs and snuggling feel absolutely bizarre to me.

When I start a new relationship, I am basically looking for a friend I can have sex with. Enjoyment of their company and sexual attraction comes first, and if all goes well I will begin to like and trust them. I doubt I’ll ever fall in love again; if you want to be loved, “Stick around for seven years and maybe it will happen” is not a situation that fits a romantic person’s cost-benefit analysis.

I’m not going to list off every single assumption people have made about me after learning this. They’re variations on “you must have no emotions”, “you must have no soul”, “you must only get involved with people to use them, so what do you really want, money? To break hearts?”

The one reaction that does make some kind of sense, in my specific case: “Who hurt you?” If I came from a loving family who hugged me and modeled healthy affection, my mind and emotions would probably work differently. But I’m perfectly happy with the way I am, and even if I could change, I wouldn’t want to. This feels not only normal to me, but like I’m being my most authentic self. I see no reason to want to be someone else, even if it does make it hard to be understood and find compatible people.


If you don’t mind me prying: why did you marry your husband if you didn’t develop romantic feelings for him until seven years into your marriage?


It was seven years into our relationship; we got married after that. It ended up being my idea, amazingly. :smile: I fell in love with him while living with him.
Edit: Though interestingly, we were already talking about staying together (ideally) forever and adopting a child together before I knew whether I could fall in love with him. We had a happy and stable relationship, and he was content with what I could give him. So, a different couple might have seen that as sufficient reason to get married. We also ended up doing it for the tax benefits.


Oh I see, I thought “being with him” meant after you were married. My bad. :slight_smile:


Funny thing is I think this is actually the most healthy way to enter a marriage. Too many people think they’re ready to spend their lives with someone just because they’ve been together for a few months or a year.
The divorce rate isn’t so high because people can’t get along, it’s because people rush into things without testing the waters


Yeah, I don’t think that’s the only way to do it (I’ve heard of couples who married at 18, before living and/or sleeping together, who are still going strong.) But it definitely helps avoid some of the common pitfalls. We were compatible before we were mutually in love, and have no illusions that love is a substitute for compatibility; now that we’re married, we keep working to make each other happy. If we thought love fixed everything, we might be more complacent.

We started dating when I was 18, I moved in with him when I was 21, I was 25 when I felt comfortable and motivated to love him, we got married a couple of years later, and are now going on five years married. So far, so good. We sorted out a lot of our potential relationship issues before we ever started thinking about marriage.


Thank-you. I did not how to articulate my particular view of what I define as love. You have done so far better then I. Your romantic perception (I don’t mean to offend and I’ll say I’m struggling with find the right term) seems to be equatable to my own. I am very similar, I just failed to find the words to properly articulate this. So, once again thank-you for find the words when I failed.


Hey, you’re welcome. Once I learned that people besides myself could separate romantic love from sexual love (as shown by aromantics and asexuals) I felt like I understood myself better, and could be understood better. Even if the Disqus software insists that “aromantic” is not a real word (asexual is, probably because of plants), it works for me. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Oh, and I think you could call inclination for or against romance “romantic orientation”? Sexual orientation encompasses what people are desired, as well as asexuality (lack of direct desire.)