What to know about what you don’t know you know. #1: Intuition is very efficient—if you don't overthink it.
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A philosopher looks at our deepest emotions
Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D.
These are flourishing times for love, even its renaissance. Love is in the air, yet the air is often too thin and polluted to permit the development of long-term, profound love.
Romantic love is often regarded as either a momentary experience (“now or never”) or a permanent one (“forever and a day”). Are those our only romantic choices?
People often settle for less than their dreamed-about romantic partner. How much “less” can their partner be and still be a sufficiently good partner?
Contrary to popular belief, older people are often happier and more romantically attached than their younger counterparts. The nature of these romantic attachments may differ.
Enduring romantic love is harder to achieve than friendship. Do we want to waste our time and energy on uncertain romantic love when we can more easily get profound friendship?
People sometimes think that by finding the perfect person, they will find their perfect partner. They are wrong. Suitability, not perfection, is the name of the romantic game.
How our romantic lives change over time.
Searching for your ex-lover is easier these days than ever before. Should this search be encouraged? The answer is different for the short and long term.
Both surrender and submission involve yielding to a superior power. However, in romantic relations, they differ in a way that makes only surrender a thriving experience.
Many people associate moaning and screaming with pain. Why, then, should people make these noises while experiencing sexual pleasure? Are we not embarrassed to do so?
Two major types of romantic rejection that end in separation are rejection because of someone else, and rejection because of no one else. Which type is more painful?
Caregivers who love their ailing spouse but cannot attend to their own romantic needs can feel captive. Should they get, as other inmates do, brief vacations due to good behavior?
Can we outsource our romantic and sexual needs? Can someone else do it better than our partner? Sometimes, the answer is “yes.”
Eye contact is vital in romantic communication. However, during sex, which is central in romance, many people close their eyes. Is the look of sex different from the look of love?
When you marry your first and only lover, do you regret not having had more lovers? Does the quality of love overcome the pain of regret?
The value of consistency in the romantic realm is murky, as emotions are highly sensitive to change. Hating the one you love is an example for a seemingly inconsistent behavior.
Silence is sometimes golden in intimate relations. However, in profound love, silence is rather noisy, and its sound is rather unpleasant.
How can brief and infrequent experiences such as orgasms be crucial for flourishing romantic relations? The answer relates to the experiences associated with them.
Polyamory is criticized for spreading love too thin and thus hurting the lovers. In reply, one might argue that the heart can expand when you love more. What is the right answer?
If love is not all we need, then it is certainly reasonable for some people to leave the one they love. Sometimes, love and life clash.
Political views are vital in choosing spouses, but their role in hooking up is less clear. We may not want living with our political enemy, but what’s wrong with sleeping with him?
There are good reasons for not rushing love and persuasive arguments for the value of quickies. Can we both not rush love and still enjoy having quickies?
Both being sexy and being beautiful enhance romantic attraction. Which one is more dominant? And which one is more positively received? The answer is not obvious.
Married people envy singles for their romantic freedom. Do singles envy married people for their serious relationships? A recent Match study indicates surprising trends.
We have a bad habit of focusing on people's superficial, negative qualities. Profound qualities have more meaning in the long run, so their behavioral influence should be greater.
In meritocracy, one is judged according to one’s personal past performance and achievements. Is this the best principle to follow when looking for a suitable romantic partner?
Romantic love is a many-splendored thing. A life without love is a miserable life. However, not everything is glowing in the romantic kingdom.
Attempting to change the beloved and surrendering to the beloved are common practices. Although each has some value, neither is effective in guiding our romantic path.
In order to reduce the pain of a potential romantic rejection, some people cultivate back-up romantic options. How beneficial is this preemptive strike strategy?
It is mistaken to hold that keeping all romantic options open cannot be bad, as you can always select the best. There is a cost to this and too much of a good thing can be harmful.
Aaron Ben-Zeév, Ph.D., former President of the University of Haifa, is a professor of philosophy. His books include The Arc of Love: How Our Romantic Lives Change Over Time.