Most of us see romantic love as the essential basis for marriage and long-term partnerships. Yet this is a relatively new phenomenon originating in the mid to late 18th century. And there is a danger the contemporary romantic ideal hides the reality that love is often not enough to sustain long-term commitment and carries with it risks to our own well-being. A 2014 psychiatric study found those in love were more likely to experience depression and anxiety. While a recent BBC study found that those who emphasised love were more likely to have shorter relationships and exit them cruelly.
Should we recognise that there are things more important than romantic love and abandon the idea that it is the goal of our lives and relationships? Would we be better to see long-term relationships as being centrally about compatibility, family connections, economics and children? Or is this to reinforce a patriarchal culture, and should we see romantic love not only as the most vivid and exciting experience in our lives but also the most important?