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#1 Old 07-14-2009, 03:06 PM
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Is romantic love really just a sexually charged friendship? What is it that makes people 'lovers' rather than good friends who have a physically intimate relaionship?



I don't pretend to be an expert in neuroscience but I know that dopamine, norepipherine, phenethylamine and testosterone all play a role in sexual attraction (I may be excluding some other neurotransmitters). To my understanding, dopamine is responsible for pleasure, norepipherine behaves like adrenaline, phenethylamine is responsible for sexual excitement and all four are closely related/work together . Oxytocin, which is also released during sexual arousal (I've read that all positive, physical contact increases oxytocin), is responsible for feelings of affection/love but not romantic love specifically, any kind of platonic love. All of these hormones play a role in the feeling of romantic love (serotonin is actually decreased during sexual arousal) but when you take away the sexual component, is there anything left that would distinguish romantic love from platonic companionship?



This is probably a naive question but why is a romantic relationship considered "work"? I often hear people say this but why isn't a friendship considered "work"? Why is romantic affection expected to reach some end-goal (ie. marrying or even necessarily moving in together), why can't two people simply express affection (cuddling, kissing, sex) without making the relationship 'official' in some way?
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#2 Old 07-14-2009, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by African_Prince View Post

Is romantic love really just a sexually charged friendship? What is it that makes people 'lovers' rather than good friends who have a physically intimate relaionship?



This is probably a naive question but why is a romantic relationship considered "work"? I often hear people say this but why isn't a friendship considered "work"? Why is romantic affection expected to reach some end-goal (ie. marrying or even necessarily moving in together), why can't two people simply express affection (cuddling, kissing, sex) without making the relationship 'official' in some way?



I can't speak for anyone else, but I do think of my boyfriend as both my best friend and my "lover." I like spending most of our time together, the stability, and comfort of having a companion like this.



Relationships are work because sometimes you have to make compromises or sacrifices in order to keep it going. I would argue that relationships of any type can be work. The work has to happen when something angers or annoys you about the other person or you have a fight. It's work to get past these issues. Of course, the relationship has to be valuable enough for you to be willing to go through this.



I'm hesitant to answer your last question, because your other posts have indicated that you already have opinions about how humans so go about sexual interaction. I can only speak for myself. I like monogamy and stable companionship. Despite the initial work, I would absolutely love to live with my boyfriend someday. Clearly, you are different from me, so, do whatever is right for you. Monogamous, marital relationships are an institution, so that's why most people seem to go about the same pattern. By all means, if you don't want to govern your life that way, don't! Just don't go about saying your way is somehow superior or more natural than others' ways.
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#3 Old 07-14-2009, 03:35 PM
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I can't speak for anyone else, but I do think of my boyfriend as both my best friend and my "lover." I like spending most of our time together, the stability, and comfort of having a companion like this.



Relationships are work because sometimes you have to make compromises or sacrifices in order to keep it going. I would argue that relationships of any type can be work. The work has to happen when something angers or annoys you about the other person or you have a fight. It's work to get past these issues. Of course, the relationship has to be valuable enough for you to be willing to go through this.



I'm hesitant to answer your last question, because your other posts have indicated that you already have opinions about how humans so go about sexual interaction. I can only speak for myself. I like monogamy and stable companionship. Despite the initial work, I would absolutely love to live with my boyfriend someday. Clearly, you are different from me, so, do whatever is right for you. Monogamous, marital relationships are an institution, so that's why most people seem to go about the same pattern. By all means, if you don't want to govern your life that way, don't! Just don't go about saying your way is somehow superior or more natural than others' ways.



I am complete agreement here, I know other people have different ideas on the "right" way.



I prefer monogamy because i enjoy the connection from it. It's not a matter of "Labeling" love, it's a matter of being clear what each person wants in the relationship. The good thing is my hubby and me both want the same thing, which is each other.



I have amazingly close friends but it is not the same as with hubby (Even if you remove the sexual side of things). My hubby and I share certain things that I don't with friends and vice versa.



Everyone should be able to find someone who makes them happy and they should do what works for them.

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#4 Old 07-14-2009, 03:36 PM
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Any Relationship is work. Last night my dad called me and told me to drive fifty miles to pick him up because he didn't feel like driving home. That took work to not be annoyed :P





The difference between a friend, and a lover, is that drive and desire to touch them or be near them, not necessarily in a dirty way, but that tingly and just, instant happy feeling when your around them. I love my friends, and I love my former lovers, but it's just a totally different connection. It's all to do with pheromones my friend.

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#5 Old 07-14-2009, 03:37 PM
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I am complete agreement here, I know other people have different ideas on the "right" way.



I prefer monogamy because i enjoy the connection from it. It's not a matter of "Labeling" love, it's a matter of being clear what each person wants in the relationship. The good thing is my hubby and me both want the same thing, which is each other.



I have amazingly close friends but it is not the same as with hubby (Even if you remove the sexual side of things). My hubby and I share certain things that I don't with friends and vice versa.



Everyone should be able to find someone who makes them happy and they should do what works for them.





+1, definitely agree

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#6 Old 07-14-2009, 04:15 PM
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Any Relationship is work. Last night my dad called me and told me to drive fifty miles to pick him up because he didn't feel like driving home. That took work to not be annoyed :P





The difference between a friend, and a lover, is that drive and desire to touch them or be near them, not necessarily in a dirty way, but that tingly and just, instant happy feeling when your around them. I love my friends, and I love my former lovers, but it's just a totally different connection. It's all to do with pheromones my friend.



Yeah, that's totally it. I'm not addicted to my friends the way I'm addicted to my boyfriend, when I don't see him for a few days I miss him terribly and pretty much go through withdrawal. Then when we see each other again I freak out and I'm ecstatically happy all day. The difference is basically a chemical dependency, but a fun kind.



Also, I agree all relationships take work but I don't think it should BE work. If a relationship is more work than pleasure that's a sign something is wrong.

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#7 Old 07-14-2009, 04:21 PM
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Relationships are work because sometimes you have to make compromises or sacrifices in order to keep it going. I would argue that relationships of any type can be work. The work has to happen when something angers or annoys you about the other person or you have a fight. It's work to get past these issues. Of course, the relationship has to be valuable enough for you to be willing to go through this.



I see what you mean but I wonder if there would be less of a strain to maintain a romantic relationship if people were not expected to maintain one romantic relationship alone for the rest of their lives. I don't usually hear friendships described as being 'work' in the same way. I'm not criticizing monogamy, just 'wondering'. I've heard polyamorous people say that their relationships require a lot of work and I've always wondered why it was so 'complicated'.



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I'm hesitant to answer your last question, because your other posts have indicated that you already have opinions about how humans so go about sexual interaction. I can only speak for myself. I like monogamy and stable companionship. Despite the initial work, I would absolutely love to live with my boyfriend someday. Clearly, you are different from me, so, do whatever is right for you. Monogamous, marital relationships are an institution, so that's why most people seem to go about the same pattern. By all means, if you don't want to govern your life that way, don't! Just don't go about saying your way is somehow superior or more natural than others' ways.





You are right, what works well for some people doesn't work well for everyone else. Both monogamy and polygamy are 'natural'.



I like living by myself, I don't know if that will ever change but even with my feelings about monogamy, I would never consider a group marriage. I'm not that sociable, lol. That's not right or wrong, it's just my personality.



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The difference between a friend, and a lover, is that drive and desire to touch them or be near them, not necessarily in a dirty way, but that tingly and just, instant happy feeling when your around them. I love my friends, and I love my former lovers, but it's just a totally different connection.



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I have amazingly close friends but it is not the same as with hubby (Even if you remove the sexual side of things).



I can't tell either of you how you feel but I'm still curious as to what exactly distinguishes a romantic relationship from a platonic one, beyond the sexual intimacy. You can pet a cat, hug a relative and tongue-kiss a S.O but aren't all of these actions just different ways to express affection (I was going to mention cuddling for the S.O but you can actually do that with a cat, small dog, child etc.)? What, besides physical attraction, separates romantic affection from platonic affection (and I'm not denying that there really is something beyond the sexual/physical component that separates the two).



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It's all to do with pheromones my friend.



Whether or not people "should" live monogamously or polygamously is a matter of personal preference but now you've made a scientific statement. What phereomones (beyond the sex related ones), specifically, distinguish romantic love from platonic love?
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#8 Old 07-14-2009, 04:23 PM
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Also, I agree all relationships take work but I don't think it should BE work. If a relationship is more work than pleasure that's a sign something is wrong.



im with you guys on this too. sometimes you have to work on the actual relationship itself, but the day the romance becomes work, the union is pretty much dead in the water.
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#9 Old 07-14-2009, 05:23 PM
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I'm still curious as to what exactly distinguishes a romantic relationship from a platonic one, beyond the sexual intimacy.



ill have a go at explaining:

ive got some really great platonic friendships, but they just dont come close to the depth & intensity of feeling ive experienced with another person who ive been simultaneously physically & emotionally intimate with. out of that intimacy you are able to reach a level of trust, loyalty, respect, understanding, & love that ive found is unparalleled in platonic love. you just cant beat that feeling of being that connected to another person, its an incredible vibe. but of course, if the relationship goes off the rails, the wounds go a lot deeper & are more painful than those from a friendship gone sour thats basically the difference for me.



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What phereomones (beyond the sex related ones), specifically, distinguish romantic love from platonic love?



i dont believe in the existence of pheromones. theres not really a lot of scientific evidence to support the concept.
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#10 Old 07-14-2009, 05:38 PM
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I can't tell either of you how you feel but I'm still curious as to what exactly distinguishes a romantic relationship from a platonic one, beyond the sexual intimacy. You can pet a cat, hug a relative and tongue-kiss a S.O but aren't all of these actions just different ways to express affection (I was going to mention cuddling for the S.O but you can actually do that with a cat, small dog, child etc.)? What, besides physical attraction, separates romantic affection from platonic affection (and I'm not denying that there really is something beyond the sexual/physical component that separates the two).



Well, you are asking for specific, objective details about a very subjective and vague concept. The one thing I can think of is that I get this really tickley, excited feeling (that can sometimes be felt in my stomach) when I think about or see my boyfriend. This feeling was especially strong when we were first interested in each other and beginning to date. I would say this feeling is different from lust, which I certainly feel for my boyfriend a lot of the time too. And I don't feel this way about my friends. He just makes me feel all warm inside.



In smiley form, I think the feeling looks like this :



Of course, this feeling itself doesn't mean you've found somebody special, because I've felt it for a bunch of people that I've had crushes on throughout the year. It's a combination of the three components: deep friendship, romantic desire, and sexual desire that make a romantic relationship (of the type I like) successful
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#11 Old 07-14-2009, 05:50 PM
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Well, you are asking for specific, objective details about a very subjective and vague concept.



I guess I'll never find the kind of answer I'm looking for, since it is such a subjective issue.





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The one thing I can think of is that I get this really tickley, excited feeling (that can sometimes be felt in my stomach) when I think about or see my boyfriend.



Phenethylamine?









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In smiley form, I think the feeling looks like this :



Affection.



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Of course, this feeling itself doesn't mean you've found somebody special, because I've felt it for a bunch of people that I've had crushes on throughout the year. It's a combination of the three components: deep friendship, romantic desire, and sexual desire that make a romantic relationship (of the type I like) successful



I understand the friendship and the sexual desire, I still haven't got the romantic desire (as separate from the deep friendship or sexual desire).



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they just dont come close to the depth & intensity of feeling ive experienced with another person who ive been simultaneously physically & emotionally intimate with



So do you think romantic love is like a compound emotion? A unique amalgamation of sexual attraction and companionship that is distinct from either in the same way that grey is from white and black?
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#12 Old 07-14-2009, 06:20 PM
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I guess I'll never find the kind of answer I'm looking for, since it is such a subjective issue.



Honestly, I don't think you will if you don't know the feeling that's being described.



It's totally different from the feelings of love or affection you might feel for a friend, and it IS sort of different from lust although I think the two are intertwined.



Love is like a chemical dependency, and being around my boyfriend makes me feel high in a way, I also get a tingly feeling in my stomach and this kind of feeling of excitement and elation that's hard to describe. When he isn't around for a long time I feel devastated. I've never felt like that for a friend or for someone I was just having a sexual relationship with.



I used to smoke and in my experience it's similar to being addicted to nicotine, except without all that cancer and with more snuggling.

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#13 Old 07-14-2009, 06:22 PM
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So do you think romantic love is like a compound emotion? A unique amalgamation of sexual attraction and companionship that is distinct from either in the same way that grey is from white and black?



That's a good way to describe it.

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#14 Old 07-14-2009, 06:26 PM
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He's trying to make romance scientific... that might be the problem right there =/

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#15 Old 07-14-2009, 06:28 PM
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Honestly, I don't think you will if you don't know the feeling that's being described.



I know what romantic affection feels like. I'm skeptical that there is a black and white difference between affection and love rather than simply being different degrees of the same basic emotion, as unpopular of an opinion as that may be.







Quote:
Love is like a chemical dependency, and being around my boyfriend makes me feel high in a way, I also get a tingly feeling in my stomach and this kind of feeling of excitement and elation that's hard to describe.



It might be hard to describe from a subjective standpoint but that doesn't mean it can't be explained in a materialist context. After all, the brain is a machine.





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When he isn't around for a long time I feel devastated. I've never felt like that for a friend or for someone I was just having a sexual relationship with.



Are you talking about a 'casual' sexual relationship?



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I used to smoke and in my experience it's similar to being addicted to nicotine, except without all that cancer and with more snuggling.



Dopamine plays a role in sexual attraction as well as all addictions. It stimulates the pleasure centres of the brain.



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He's trying to make romance scientific... that might be the problem right there =/



But it is a scientific issue, yo! The fact that it can be explained in scientific terms doesn't take away from it's magic.
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#16 Old 07-14-2009, 06:30 PM
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Except that it really can't be explained in scientific terms.







I'll bet different parts of your brain light up when your with your lover then when your with your friends, though.

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#17 Old 07-14-2009, 06:32 PM
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You can try to explain love in scientific terms, but in the end it is a subjective thing and when you've felt it you know for sure. I used to have the same sorts of questions before I first got hit in the face with it.



It's kind of like trying to explain to someone what pizza tastes like, you can get super detailed and write pages of words on the subject but until someone actually tastes the pizza they can only come so close to imagining the experience.

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#18 Old 07-14-2009, 06:32 PM
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Except that it really can't be explained in scientific terms.







I'll bet different parts of your brain light up when your with your lover then when your with your friends, though.



Yes, they do.



*shaking my head* at using pizza as an example.
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#19 Old 07-14-2009, 06:34 PM
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Are you talking about a 'casual' sexual relationship?



Yup, I've had casual sexual relationships and infatuations and crushes, but I'd say those were all very different from the experience of love.



And yes to the dopamine! Love is an addictive pleasurable experience/activity (not really sure how to define it...)

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#20 Old 07-14-2009, 06:35 PM
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Yes, they do.



*shaking my head* at using pizza as an example.



What's wrong with pizza? Would you have preferred seeing a beautiful sunset or smelling orange peels or climbing a tree?

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#21 Old 07-14-2009, 06:37 PM
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What's wrong with pizza? Would you have preferred seeing a beautiful sunset or smelling orange peels or climbing a tree?



Pizza is fine if it's made with soy cheese .



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Yup, I've had casual sexual relationships and infatuations and crushes, but I'd say those were all very different from the experience of love.



Maybe the experience was different because it lacked the companionship/friendship that comes with love?
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#22 Old 07-14-2009, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by LyricGaia View Post

He's trying to make romance scientific... that might be the problem right there =/



spot on imo, the best way to fully understand romantic love is to feel it, not think it.
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#23 Old 07-14-2009, 06:45 PM
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Pizza is fine if it's made with soy cheese .



Or no cheese and mushrooms! There's lots of tasty vegan pizza out there.



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Maybe the experience was different because it lacked the companionship/friendship that comes with love?



I think that must be it, it's some combination of friendship/attraction. I honestly don't know why you fall in love with one person as opposed to another, it seems like it just clicks.

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#24 Old 07-15-2009, 02:27 AM
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i don't know. i'd probably rather have the mystery about it anyway.

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