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Romance as Experienced by Other Cultures


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That's an interesting read, thank you. I have the impression that the cultural connotation of romantic love is highly under-researched, even in western countries. I did a very superficial search for sociological approaches to that subject, and it seems as though in the end, it is very amatonormative: "Love (sic) is good and everyone wants it." Or bluntly: "Love is a natural power everyone experiences". 

 

But what I found out is that the hegemony of romantic love is not at all an invention of the Middle Ages, at least, it took centuries since then to make this kind of love as hegemonic as it is today. Even the troubadours did not sing about that thing we mean with "romantic love", since it was all about estate and class and a no one admiring a high lady. It was only in the 18th century that romantic love between two consenting persons who want to have a relationship and maybe start a family, and who see each other as individuals (i.e. "the one and only") and as equals became an ideal in the bourgeoisie - that's not even saying that everyone could afford that. Even less, workers and peasants could afford to marry for love. I think (and there is scientific evidence for that, e.g. by Eva Illouz), that it was only in the mid-20th century that romantic love became the relationship goal for most westerners. My grandmother told us for what reasons she married my grandfather - he was a good catch, polite, well-looking, "not crazy", sincere etc. It was not that mad kind of love we like to imagine. She also told us how she felt somewhat compulsed by her family to at least not marry down, and that she considered herself lucky that she "didn't have to marry" (meaning: she wasn't pregnant). Despite the very loving relationship my grandparents enjoyed for over 50 years, this is not the result of rom-com like courtship, and not very romantic. But that's how it was (at least in the best cases) in 1950s rural Germany.

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It would be very interesting to have more info in this. 

Currently I am watching a documentary serie about a single woman who is traveling to various countries and date, when I see it I get the feeling that the "feelings" are simular but the culture and values are different.

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