How Good Are You at Loving? // The Psychology of Selfish Lovers // Soulmate Love and Authentic, Egoless Relationship // Love Quotes: The Wisest, Wittiest…and Most Cynical

Published on January 25, 2012 by Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D. in What Would Aristotle Do?

It is often said that love is a feeling. Since feelings are subjective, this makes it very difficult to describe love let alone determine how much someone loves another person.  However, I want to take a different approach.  Love, I will show, is not merely a feeling.  Rather it is an activity.  Moreover, this activity involves skill-building.  Thus you can work at cultivating your love for another.  You can get better (or worse) at loving someone. It is also possible to rank how well you are doing at loving someone.  In fact, I will provide a “love inventory” that will help you to determine just how good you (or your significant others) really are at loving.

“To love,” said Stendhal, “is to derive pleasure from seeing, touching, and feeling through all one’s senses and as closely as possible, a lovable person who loves us.” This is the popular view of what love is–a deep, all-pervasive positive feeling toward another person.  Indeed, it is such a view of love that leads many of us to ask questions like these: “Is this feeling that I have really love?”  “Yes I feel comfortable with him (her), but is this love?”  “I thought falling in love would feel like fireworks going off, and this doesn’t.”  “We have great sex but I am just not sure if it’s love.”

But are these really the questions we should be asking when we ponder whether we are in love or whether others love us?  Are these instead red herrings that distract us from the questions we should be asking?

The answer I want to suggest is in the affirmative; for in my view, love is not a feeling in the first place.  While people in love do indeed experience tingles, titillations, or other warm and fuzzy churnings, these are not themselves what love is.  These positive feelings and sensations may be like the icing on the cake, but not the cake.  They make loving feel good; but they are not what makes love so valuable and coveted by all or most of us. When you’re in love you may get goose bumps but we would be hard pressed to say that being in love is getting goose bumps. So what then is love?

To be sure, love does take different forms depending on the type of relationship.  In romantic love, there is sexual attraction to the beloved.  In familial love the attraction is based on blood; in close friendship it can be a kindred soul, like-mindedness, or shared experiences.  In the love of a mother for a child it can be the bond established through birth; or in fatherly love a projection of self.  But the feelings to which these bonds and attractions give rise are not themselves what love is.  So what, then, is it?

Love, I submit, is a purposive activity undertaken by two (or more) people in a close, intimate relationship such as the aforementioned ones.  While it is often said that “love is blind,” this is, strictly speaking, only true of misguided love or love that has strayed from its essential purpose.

To see that love has such a purpose and what that purpose is, try saying something like “I love her but I don’t give a damn about her.”  Such a statement falsifies itself because to love someone you must care about them, and care about them a lot.  People who truly love others want them to be safe, secure, and happy.  They place their welfare and happiness at a premium.

Of course, I can be highly concerned about the welfare of certain others without loving them.  Thus, doctors, teachers, or other helping professionals could care about the welfare, happiness, and safety of their patients, students and clients but would be hard pressed to say that they love them.  This is because such individuals, if they follow their codes of ethics, will maintain professional distance and will not become intimate with their patients, students, and clients.

So loving is an intimate, personal activity that seeks the welfare, happiness, and safety of another.  Here intimacy may involve living with the other and sharing very personal aspects of one’s life.  It may involve being a parent, a close friend, a spouse, or a partner.  Here, friendship could sometimes include co-workers and confidents and others whom you have gotten to know on a close personal level.

However, we should tread carefully here because it may be easy sometimes to confuse infatuation with love.  Thus, people may imagine themselves being in an intimate relationship with people they barely know.  They may feel sexual attractions for and even be obsessed with others.  Some people may think they love others who may not even know they exist.  However, these relationships are not ones that support love, even if some of them may evolve into love.

Loving involves being in a relationship with another.  In a functional loving relationship there are mutual expectations.  If I love you and you don’t accept my love then the relationship is dysfunctional because the primary purpose of love is not easily accomplished.  If you don’t let me love you, then my love will be squandered on you.

As such, to be in love is to be engaged in an activity that can be done well or not so well.  One can be good at loving or poor at it depending on how good (or bad) one is at accomplishing the purpose or goal of loving someone.  The statement, “I love you very much” may sometimes be a deep expression of a feeling that comes with being in love; but it can also be uttered by people who do not know the first thing about how to love another.  This is because this statement, if it is meaningful, is not simply a report about a subjective feeling going on at the time that it is uttered.

To be meaningful, you must put your actions where your mouth is.  This means doing things that promote the other’s happiness, welfare, and safety.  Now, within intimate relationships there are certain human qualities that tend to promote these values and which, when absent, greatly lower the prospects for attaining them.  The qualities in question consist of cognitive-behavioral habits, that is, habits to act and think in certain ways that tend to promote the happiness, welfare, and safety of loved ones. The following are some of these key cognitive-behavioral qualities.

Being There

If you love someone, you will be there for this person in difficult times.  For example, if I am upset over life circumstances (for example, the death of a parent) and you love me, then you will be there for me, even if it’s a shoulder to cry on or an empathetic ear to listen and reflect.  If I am ill, then if you love me you will be there to care for me in my time of need.

So, “being there” may sometimes require some degree of self-sacrifice.  Suppose, for example, your spouse has a professional opportunity that requires that you move to another state, or even country. While this might involve self-sacrifice (say giving up your job and seeking employment in this new location), it would be an act of love to do this for your spouse.  Of course, if your spouse loves you, then he or she would not want to cause you unhappiness.  Thus there would invariably be mutual consideration among people who truly love each other.

In any event, lovers who are willing to make personal sacrifices for each other are better at loving than those who are not so willing.  It also seems fair to say that people tend to be poor at loving who are unwilling to makeany personal sacrifices.  This is because promoting happiness of another with whom one is intimate tends to involve some measure of sacrifice, even if it is giving up an occasional preference or making reasonable compromises.

Being Beneficent

It is not enough to be there in time of need.  If you love someone you should want to do things to advance this person’s happiness even when there are no crises or significant problems at hand. This may include anything from surprising loved ones with a special gift to encouraging and helping to advance their careers, education, or other positive goals conducive to their happiness.   Indeed, when parents send their children to a top notch college even when they cannot easily afford it this is a significant act of love because it is calculated to positively advance the child’s happiness and prosperity now and in later years.

Being Non-Maleficent

Beneficence accordingly involves advancing positive welfare, not merely remedying or ameliorating pain and suffering.  The opposite of being beneficent is being maleficent, which means doing harm to the other.  Clearly, people who love others are non-maleficent toward them; for they cannot promote the happiness of others with whom they are intimate by doing things that harm them. People do indeed sometimes hurt the people they love; however there are limits to the nature and extent of these harms that any functional relationship will allow.  For example, physical assault or forcible sex breaches these boundaries along with a functional, loving relationship.  Emotional harms resulting from name-calling, mocking, scolding, embarrassing, and other similar degrading acts are also affronts to a functional loving relationship, especially when they are done with the frequency of a persistent habit.

Making a Commitment

Making a commitment to another involves taking a personal risk in a relationship.  This might be taking a marriage vow or anything else that creates responsibilities and obligations to the other person.  Thus goes the popular adage, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.”  A person who loves another will “buy the cow” notwithstanding.  In a committed (exclusive) relationship, one has special allegiances to the other. You cannot, for example, “play the field.”

Being Loyal

So, being a loving person, you must also be faithful.  Cheating or otherwise betraying the one you supposedly love destroys the prospects for happiness inside an intimate relationship.  This applies not just to sexual relationships, but also to parental ones, for example.  Children who perceive their parents to have betrayed them-either through acts or deeds-confront an impediment to thriving.  For example, a parent who abandons a child inflicts a profound psychological wound on the child.  Human beings, including adults, tend to respond unfavorably to betrayal by those who are supposed to love them.  Loyalty is not optional if one is to enjoy a happy relationship.

Being Consistent

Nor is it a part-time job to love another.  Being supportive today and absent tomorrow does little to support the happiness of the other.  Being loving involves acting in loving ways. This does not mean that you have to be perfectly consistent to do well at loving.  Few if any of us are ever entirely consistent.  It instead means that you tend to act in loving ways.  For example, loving your spouse does not mean that you won’t ever say hurtful or unkind things to him or her.  But it means that you will tend not to do these things. Similarly, keeping your promises or being true to your word should be the rule, but a perfect track record is not necessary to maintaining a loving relationship.

Being Candid

People who are in an intimate relationship with another are not likely to advance their individual and collective happiness unless they are open and honest with each other.  Lying, deception, and other forms of misrepresentation tend to destroy personal happiness. An honest and open sharing of deep personal secrets brings people closer together.

Being Trustworthy

Lying and deception breeds lack of trust. Parties to a relationship who do not trust one another are not likely to share personal information.  Without the sharing of such information, it is difficult to know what makes the other happy and therefore what to do in order to achieve this end. On the other, if I am open and honest with you about things that matter to me, you are better situated to act and speak in ways that advance my happiness, and conversely.

Being trustworthy in an intimate relation also includes being able to be trusted with personal information.  If I confide in you about something deeply personal and private, I ordinarily expect you to keep it in the strictest confidence.  So if you betray this trust, you can do serious damage to our relationship and to the prospects of future happiness, yours as well as mine.  This does not mean that breaching the other’s trust will necessarily subvert a relationship.  Indeed the person whose trust was violated may never find out.  Still, being untrustworthy portends a habit of violating another’s trust; and such untrustworthy habits have a strong track record of destroying the prospects for happiness inside an intimate relationship.

Being Considerate

This means not doing or saying things that could reasonably be predicted to cause the other person needless inconvenience, hardship, or distress.  For example, some people tend to complain a lot even though such a tendency succeeds only in dampening the relationship.  Indeed, human beings are imperfect creatures who will invariably make mistakes in acting and speaking indiscreetly. Nevertheless, there is a point at which such mistakes become a problematic pattern.  People who love well try their best to avoid such needless destructive patterns.

Being Empathetic

This means a willingness to try to enter the other’s subjective world to understand the way he or she may be feeling.  When parties to a relationship are ego-centered and refuse to acknowledge or understand the other’s preferences, values, and views, the relationship is not likely to be a happy one.   People who love well tend to be open to the other’s reality rather than closing their minds to it.

Being Tolerant

People who lose patience easily are not likely to make a relationship work.  Being willing to let things go, to forgive, and move on are necessary if an intimate relationship is to flourish.  People who are bent on being right, even if it destroys the quality of life, are not likely to live happily with others; nor are they likely to enhance the lives of those they profess to love.  This does not mean that people who love must be absolutely tolerant.  Abusive relationships should not be tolerated, for example.  Thus, accepting the gifts of a perpetually abusive spouse or partner only to fall back into a cycle of abuse is contrary to one’s welfare.  Such relationships are often better off being dissolved (safely) rather than being sustained.

The aforementioned set of qualities can provide an important barometer of loving well.  To the extent that these qualities are present, one loves well; to the extent that they are not, one loves poorly.  Indeed, there is always room for loving better because, realistically, these qualities are not going to be completely actualized even in very loving relationships.  Likewise, very loving relationships can also degenerate when these barometric indicators fall.

While there is no algorithm to determine how good a person is at loving, there can be some ballpark assessments based on the aforementioned criteria.  The following “Love Inventory” can help you determine the ranking of your or your loved one’s love.


So, for example, if you assigned 2 for each of the eleven qualities of loving, your Overall Total would be 22 and your Final Average would be 2 (22/11); or if you assigned 3 to five of these qualities (=15) and 5 to 6 others (=30) your Overall Total would be 45 and your Final Average would be about 4.1 (45/11).

As you can see, loving is more than having a warm fuzzy feeling. Almost anyone can have the feeling; but loving someone takes work.  People have to work at cultivating loving relationships by improving upon the above eleven qualities.

As stated, these qualities are habits; and cultivating stable habits requirespractice.  So to become better at loving you will need to practice.  Practice won’t make any of us perfect (not even “excellent” on the Love Inventory means perfect), but it can make us better.

How good are you at loving?  We can all use some work.  But what can be more worthwhile than making someone you love happier by improving your capacity to love!


The Psychology of Selfish Lovers

When your partner cannot give

Published on August 13, 2010 by Srini Pillay, M.D. in Debunking Myths of the Mind

People are often in unfulfilling relationships.  The dynamic of one partner always giving and the other always taking is common.  When requests are made for the takers to give up some part of themselves, they usually decline or flee, at once feeling alarmed and afraid.  What is the psychology that underlines this fear and what can you do about this?

Selfish lovers often suffer from feeling inadequate.  Their feelings of inadequacy run so deep that they end up feeing very ashamed.  To cover up this shame, they are internally “still” and this “stillness” drives the giver in the relationship to want to keep on giving as a form of resuscitation since the taker often feels dead.  When the taker then gives up just a little, this feels so relieving to the giver – it is like a glimpse of a sign of life.  But unfortunately for the giver, this does not last too long.

Selfish lovers are often hiding something they are very ashamed of as well.  Giving makes them feel out of control and threatened as they worry that the reason for their shame will be revealed.  With this strong feeling of having to cover up all the time, they hold onto their love very tightly because giving it up makes them feel as though they are sliding on ice.

Also, for selfish lovers, love feels like a scarce resource.  When selfish lovers give up a little love, they start to worry that the little that they are connected with will all be gone.  This is because selfish lovers are often not self connected and even when they are deeply intelligent, the one faculty that has remained undeveloped is the faculty of being self-connected.

The result of being a selfish lover is often either to find an extraordinary giver who can tolerate what feels like immense restrictive behavior or to have multiple “superficial” relationships.  This keeps the selfish lover in an unthreatened mode and they then can feel as though they don’t have to answer to anyone.  Perhaps the greatest obstruction to the selfish lover is that he or she is afraid to learn at a later stage in life. It is like asking an adult to start to learn how to swim. It is much more difficult later on life.

So, apart from avoiding the torture of a selfish lover, if you find yourself in a relationship with one, what can you do so that your entire being is not lost in trying to resuscitate his or her internal deadness?

Firstly, recognize that selfish lovers are easily threatened, so complaints about them, to them, will rarely work.  Talking it out in the usual way is not an option…at least, it takes a long time to draw someone out of this.  The things you have to do are: (1) Find other places to invest your loving energy besides the lover; this will reduce your own torture; (2) Confront your own pain and recognize things that you that need to develop.  Often, selfish lovers will respond with affection when they feel your own emptiness as they will feel less alone; (3) Differentiate between the need to resuscitate an internally dead person and actual love.  If the selfish lover brings out the craving in you, do not think of it as “life”.  Instead, recognize your own addiction to this; (4) When you do talk to your selfish lover, focus on their strengths as they are generally insecure.  Don’t let your anger get the better of you, but don’t also pretend not to ever be angry or sad.  Find the right balance for you; (5)  Also, when you talk to them, help them find things in their lives that will help them feel more self-connected.  This will pay-off in your own relationship.

If all else fails, leaving is always an option, but with your addiction to selfish lovers, you are likely to find another one, or turn them into one.  Some soul-searching may help you make better future choices.  The questions you ask yourself on this soul-searching journey (How do you live outside your craving? What are you avoiding doing by being addicted to love? How can you turn your loving energy into something hat gives back to you?) will help you get closer to your relationship goals.


Soulmates, authenticity and egoless love

Published on September 16, 2009 by Michael J. Formica, MS, MA, EdM in Enlightened Living

There are times when the psycho-babble falls silent, and there is nothing to explain the breathless experience of another human being as a perfect reflection and complement to ourselves. When something seemingly lost to us returns – or maybe finds us for the first time — in a single moment of blinding clarity, we may find ourselves gifted with the essence of an authentic, egoless love, and then all the talk of archetypes and motifs, complexes, core conflicts and neurotic interdependencies become somehow inadequate.

Romantic love is a bunch of hooey. It is an antiquated and artificial notion dreamt up by Victorian poets and frustrated ladies-in-waiting to console them their desolate hearts and empty bedchambers.  Yet, it is a notion so imbued in our culture that it is the very essence of our premise for relationship. That simple fact may also be part of why half of our relationships fail.

I got to thinking about this the other night when a very dear friend of mine said to me that, in her mind, passion – true passion – is not about crazy love or hot monkey sex, but about the subtle intimacies that two people share – the words unspoken, the needs understood, the delicate understandings…the silence.

This got me to thinking about the nature of love. Not romantic love or crazy love or even hot monkey sex love – although I have to admit to having dwelled upon the hot monkey sex love for a time – but, rather, true love.

True love is the conscious choice to put someone else before ourselves in every way. A little further exploration of this idea led me to the notion that true love is actually about the choice to put another person before our “self” — setting aside the needs of the ego for the sake of another.

True love might be thought of as a reflection of the essence of thebodhisattva vow – to forgo our own ultimate enlightenment and remain on the Wheel of Life until all other beings have attained their own state of enlightenment. There is no romance or artifice here – only commitment and responsibility.

With that in mind, there are two kinds of love to consider – Ego Love, which is all about “Me”, and Soulmate Love, which is all about “Not-Me”. Ego Love is about the self – the small self — while Soulmate Love is a love that is “self”-less.

Ego Love is a reflection of the needs, wants, and desires of the lover, not the loved. It rests upon the mistaken premise that our fulfillment can be found in another, and places the demand on that other that s/he be all the things that we need her to be. It asks her to be something that s/he cannot possibly be – that is, what we want her to be, rather than what or who s/he actually is. This tack can only lead to disillusionment, disappointment and, ultimately, resentment; the sentiments that, in the end, are the genesis for all those things that will break a relationship.

Soulmate Love, on the other hand, takes ego out of play. There are no demands placed on the other, because there are no demands. There are no demands because there are no expectations. There are no expectations because the initial over-arching expectation and demand that this other be someone or something that s/he is not — and cannot possibly be — is never part of the equation.

In addition, the ego is not only taken out of play — it is never actually in play. That is because that moment of blinding clarity is actually a moment akin to satori or samadhi – it is the moment that we recognize that we are in all things and that all things are in us. It is the moment that we see ourselves reflected in the eyes and heart and soul of another. It is the moment that we recognize our soulmate.

Sounds a lot like that romantic hooey, doesn’t it? But, think about it. Romantic love – Ego Love — is about pain, suffering, lack, loss, chaos, conflict, histrionics and all those things that our poverty mentality holds so dear. Now, think about Soulmate Love; a pure connection, unadulterated by history, neurosis, baggage, blockage or regret – certain, joyful, unfettered, knowing. Two souls, dancing together inside the quiet rhythms of the universe.

How cool is that?

© 2009 Michael J. Formica, All Rights Reserved

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Romantic love: it inspires poets, philosophers, humorists–and skeptics.

Published on February 12, 2011 by Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D. in Evolution of the Self

Having reviewed many 100s of quotations on the wonders–and woes–of romantic love, here are some that I think represent the very best. At the same time that many of the quotes below celebrate the many joys of romantic–almost fairy-tale–love, they typically also demonstrate great awareness of its transience, its maddening let-downs and instability. The most cynical quotations, which (I admit) are well-exemplified here, may perhaps have been written by those who loved–and lost.

But win or lose, who could deny that romantic love is life’s most spectacular adventure? When we’re transported from living in 3-D to the awe-inspiring expansiveness of 4-D, unquestionably it’s in the consciousness-altering intensity of being in love. As William Thackeray opined: “To love and win is the best thing. To love and lose, the next best.” Of course, when love fails–whether it’s through being rejected, or falling out of love–our immediate distress, disappointment (or disenchantment) can feel utterly devastating. So in the short run, “loving and losing” probably doesn’t feel much like “second best” at all. Yet it’s definitely true that no matter how romantic love ends, the experience is one that can enrich us and tell us something about ourselves that almost certainly we wouldn’t have realized earlier.

All in all, I think most people (at least on reflection) would agree that the tender–or tumultuous–experience of loving was worth it. At its best, romantic love transmutes into something less fervent but more balanced and mature. And, at the same time it becomes less passionate, it evolves into something deeper and broader. And love, even at its worst, well, it’s still a learning experience–a most valuable one, too, as long as you allow it to teach you what you need to know to be more successful next time.

It’s fascinating to me how many of the following quotes have a paradoxical flavor to them. The altered mood–even state of being–linked to loving seems inherently to lend itself to all sorts of ironic observations. My hope is that in reading through these quotes, you’ll experience some delightful ah-ha! moments–along with whatever sighs, grimaces, and head shakes come up as a result of remembering lost loves, crushed dreams, dashed hopes, and so on.

Finally, quite a few of these quotations may have a lot more to do withinfatuation than love (romantic or otherwise). For I define “infatuation” quite literally: that is, to be made to act foolishly (i.e., as derived from the word “fatuous”). So, for instance, we have these two quotes: “Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly” (Rose Franken), and “Love is being stupid together” (Paul Valery).

But enough introduction already . . . enjoy! These choice quotations–from classic to contemporary–are (to me at least) not simply food for thought, but precious delicacies to be nursed and savored:

The sweetest joy, the wildest woe is love. ~ Philip James Bailey

Mysterious love, uncertain treasure, Hast thou more of pain or pleasure! . . . . Endless torments dwell about thee: Yet who would live, and live without thee! ~ Joseph Addison

Love spends his all, and still hath store. ~ Philip James Bailey

Could I love less, I should be happier now. ~ Philip James Bailey

Love is for fools wise enough to take a chance. ~ Anonymous

People who are sensible about love are incapable of it. ~ Douglas Yates

A heart that loves is always young. ~ Proverb

One’s first love is always perfect until one meets one’s second love. ~ Elizabeth Aston

Love at first sight is one of the greatest labor-saving devices the world has ever seen. ~ Anonymous

Love conquers all things except poverty and toothache. ~ Mae West

Love is a many splintered thing. ~ Proverb

Love and eggs are best when they are fresh. ~ Proverb

Love makes the time pass. Time makes love pass. ~ Proverb

There is love, of course. And then there’s life, its enemy. ~ Jean Anouilh

Love is like dew that falls on both nettles and lilies. ~ Proverb

Love and relationships are truly one of the most paradoxical aspects of being human. For it is in love that we find the greatest of strengths and the deepest of sorrows. Love can seem to be so fleeting and unachievable, yet it remains well within our reach if we only learn how to embrace its power. To experience true love, we must be willing to open ourselves up and sacrifice part of our heart and part of our soul. We must be willing to give of ourselves freely, and we must be willing to suffer. It is only when we expose our inner selves to the white hot flame of rejection, that love can burn so brightly as to join two souls, melding the two into one, creating a bond that joins forever. It is from this bond that we draw strength eternal and power everlasting. It is in this thing that we call love that we find the means to achieve greatness, both in ourselves and in our lives. ~Anonymous

In this world of extremes, we can only love too little. ~ Rich Cannarella

Love is the word used to label the sexual excitement of the young, the habituation of the middle-aged, and the mutual dependence of the old. ~ John Ciardi

Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination. ~ Voltaire

If there is anything better than to be loved it is loving. ~ Anonymous

Love built on beauty, soon as beauty, dies. ~ John Donne

He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals. ~ Benjamin Franklin

I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness, and call it love. ~ Anonymous

No one has ever loved anyone the way everyone wants to be loved. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

The one who loves less controls the relationship. ~ Anonymous

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular? ~ Anonymous [frankly, I’m guessing that whoever came up with this one probably pleaded not to be identified!]

True love is when you put someone on a pedestal, and they fall–but you are there to catch them. ~ Anonymous

The woman cries before the wedding, the man after. ~ Proverb

Pleasure of love lasts but a moment, Pain of love lasts a lifetime. ~Jean Pierre Claris De Florian

Love won’t be tampered with, love won’t go away. Push it to one side and it creeps to the other. ~ Louise Erdrich

There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started out with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet which fails so regularly, as love. ~ Erich Fromm

The love we give away is the only love we keep. ~ Elbert Hubbard

Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. . . . It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. ~ Erica Jong

We are not the same person this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person. ~ W. Somerset Maugham

Love is a temporary insanity, curable by marriage. ~ Ambrose Bierce

Romantic love is an illusion. Most of us discover this truth at the end of a love affair or else when the sweet emotions of love lead us into marriage and then turn down their flames. ~ Thomas Moore

Falling in love consists merely in uncorking the imagination and bottling the common-sense. ~ Helen Rowland

Falling in love doesn’t kill people. Landing does. ~ Fang

Falling in love is so hard on the knees. ~ Aerosmith

Love isn’t blind, it’s retarded. ~ Don Foster & Susan Beavers

Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better. ~ William Shakespeare

There is no remedy for love but to love more. ~ Henry David Thoreau

When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance. ~ Oscar Wilde

In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities. ~ Janos Arany

Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams. ~ Fyodor Dostoevski

When we want to read of the deeds that are done for love, whither do we turn? To the murder column. ~ George Bernard Shaw

You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. ~ Dr Seuss

After another moment’s silence, she mumbled that I was peculiar, that that was probably why she loved me but that one day I might disgust her for the very same reason. ~ Albert Camus

The excesses of love soon pass, but its insufficiencies torment us forever. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale. ~ Anonymous

Love is something far more than desire for sexual intercourse; it is the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives. ~ Bertrand Russell

It is an extra dividend when you like the girl you’ve fallen in love with. ~ Clark Gable

To love and to be loved is to feel the sun from both sides. ~ David Viscott

Love lasteth long as the money endureth. ~ William Caxton

When poverty comes in at doors, love leaps out at windows. ~ John Clarke

Many a man in love with a dimple makes a mistake of marrying the whole girl. ~ Stephen Leacock

Love is a fan club with only two fans. ~ Anonymous

Love is the irresistible desire to be desired irresistibly. ~ Louis Ginzberg

The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love. ~ Henry Miller

Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other. ~ Ranier Maria Rilke

What most people need to learn in life is how to love people and use things instead of using people and loving things. ~ Anonymous

Love is the delightful interval between meeting a beautiful girl and discovering that she looks like a haddock. ~ John Barrymore

lovers alone wear sunlight. ~ e. e. cummings

In true love the smallest distance is too great, and the greatest distance can be bridged. ~ Hans Nouwens

Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile. ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

We are, each of us, angels with only one wing; and we can only fly by embracing one another. ~ Luciano de Crescenzo.

Love is not altogether a delirium, yet it has many points in common therewith. ~ Thomas Carlyle

People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy. ~ Bob Hope

Forget love–I’d rather fall in chocolate! ~ Sandra J. Dykes

Love is a sweet tyranny, because the lover endureth his torments willingly. ~ Proverb

Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own. ~ Robert Heinlein

We choose those we like; with those we love, we have no say in the matter. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly. ~ Rose Franken

Love is being stupid together. ~ Paul Valery

I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallox. ~ Woody Allen

At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet. ~ Plato

Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows a person who he should  be. ~ Anton Chekhov

True love stories never have endings. ~ Richard Bach

The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved–loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. ~ Victor Hugo

What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork. ~ Pearl Bailey

If you want to be loved, be lovable. ~ Ovid

Love can sometimes be magic. But magic can sometimes . . . just be an illusion. ~ Javan

We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love. ~ Tom Robbins

Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new. ~ Ursula K. LeGuin.

The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

The very essence of romance is uncertainty.  ~ Oscar Wilde

Love is a game that two can play and both win. ~ Eva Gabor

To love and win is the best thing. To love and lose, the next best. ~ William M. Thackeray.

There can be no peace of mind in love, since the advantage one has secured is never anything but a fresh starting-point for future desires. ~ Marcel Proust

Love is the self-delusion we manufacture to justify the trouble we take to have sex. ~ Daniel S. Greenberg

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. ~ H. L. Mencken.

One should always be in love. This is the reason why one should never marry. ~ Oscar Wilde

Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold. ~ Zelda Fitzgerald

Everyone admits that love is wonderful and necessary, yet no one agrees on just what it is. ~ Diane Ackerman

So, whether you’re man or woman, girl or boy, straight or gay, Happy Valentine’s Day!–This Year and Every Year!

. . . and if these many quotations somehow “speak” to you–or prompt you to LOL (!)–please consider passing them on.  

NOTE: For a rather different take on the subject, check out my collection of quotes on the universal phenomenon of unrequited love.

— also, join me on Facebook and follow my psychological and philosophical meanderings on Twitter.

© 2012 Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.DAll Rights Reserved.


All of the above articles are taken from the Psychology Today website, under the “10 Thing You Still Don’t Know About Love” sub-category. For more on the topics of love, lust, and everything else in between — click either link and explooooore.

In the name of love . . .

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! :)

with passion & gratitude — jennifer


One thought on “How Good Are You at Loving? // The Psychology of Selfish Lovers // Soulmate Love and Authentic, Egoless Relationship // Love Quotes: The Wisest, Wittiest…and Most Cynical

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