Introduction (Psychology and Mental Health)
According to psychologist Robert Sternberg, love can be considered to have three main components: passion, intimacy, and commitment. Passion is sexual arousal and an intense desire to be with another person; it is expressed through hugging, kissing, and sexual intimacy. Intimacy is a feeling of closeness and connectedness and is expressed through communication and doing things to support the other person. Commitment is a decision that one loves the other person and wants to maintain that love over time. Commitment is often expressed through fidelity, and the institution of marriage makes one’s commitment legally binding.
The amount of love that one feels depends on the strength of these three components. The kind of love one feels depends on the mixture of these components. One might have a commitment to a partner but feel little passion; or one might be passionately in love but not be able to communicate the deep feelings that go with intimacy. The amount or kind of love one partner experiences in a relationship might not be the same as the other partner’s experience. Misunderstandings often result, for example, when one partner thinks the relationship contains commitment and the other partner sees the relationship as only a passionate one. Finally, a loving relationship can change over time. In marriage, the passion may fade over the years, while intimacy and commitment bloom.
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Passionate Love (Psychology and Mental Health)
Passionate love is the kind of love sometimes described as “love at first sight.” It occurs suddenly, and one feels as if one has fallen into love. Passionate love is a state of sexual arousal without the intimacy and commitment components. One knows that one is passionately in love when one is always daydreaming about the other person, longs to be constantly with the other person, and feels ecstatic when with the other person. Passionate love thrives on unavailability. As in unrequited love, either the loved one does not reciprocate the intensity of the lover’s affections or the lovers cannot get together as often as they wish. Being loved is reinforcing, and some psychologists say that passionate love may survive only under conditions of intermittent reinforcement, where uncertainty about when one will be reinforced plays a major role. Romeo and Juliet’s passionate love, for example, was inflamed by the prohibitions of their feuding families.
In passionate love, partners idealize each other. They engage in perceptual accentuation, or seeing what they want to see. Only the good features of each other are noticed and enhanced. The more the partners live in the illusion of their ideals, the more intense is the passionate love. Passionate love really is “blind.”
Most people think of passionate love as being true love, and many people think that passionate love is the only kind of love; they expect passionate...
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Romantic Love (Psychology and Mental Health)
For many people, however, love does persist—in the form of romantic love. Romantic love is passionate love with the added component of intimacy. The romantic ideal, which has existed since the medieval time of courtly love, looks much like passionate love. It contains the belief that love is fated and uncontrollable, strikes at first sight, transcends all social boundaries, and mixes agony and ecstasy. This ideal is very much alive today; it is reflected in romance novels, motion pictures, and advertisements. Psychologists have found that this type of love is a poor basis for marriage, which requires steady companionship and objectivity. If a relationship is to survive, romantic passion is not enough.
Rubin has shown that there is a type of romantic love that contains intimate communication and caring. In his study, loving feelings of dependency, exclusivity, and caring were contrasted with the type of liking that exists in friendship. Men, more than women, tended to blur the distinction between liking and loving. Both sexes, though, often experience liking the person they are in love with. Rubin also noticed that one can tell if two people are “in love” simply by observing them: Partners who are strongly in love exhibit more mutual eye contact than partners who are weakly in love.
Intimacy without passion or a long-term commitment is experienced as liking. One feels closeness, bondedness, and warmth toward the...
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Companionate Love (Psychology and Mental Health)
When commitment is added to intimacy, one experiences what psychologists Ellen Berscheid and Elaine Walster call companionate love. There is a deep attachment that is based on extensive familiarity with the loved one. Companionate love often encompasses a tolerance for the partner’s shortcomings, along with a desire to overcome difficulties and conflicts in a relationship. There is a commitment to the ongoing nurturing of the relationship and to an active caring for the partner, even during rough times. Marriages in which the physical attraction has waned but intimate caring and commitment have increased are characterized by this type of love. When researchers asked couples who had been married for at least fifteen years what kept their relationships alive, they put long-term commitment at the top of the list. The romantic passion that brings a couple together is not the force that keeps them together. Each partner must trust that the other is committed to nurturing support, acceptance, and communication in the relationship.
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Attraction (Psychology and Mental Health)
Psychologists have used theories and laboratory studies to answer the basic question, “Why do some people have a happy love life while others have unhappy relationships?” Part of the answer comes from the partner one chooses.
One may think that opposites attract, but psychologist Donn Byrne has shown that people are attracted to those who are similar to them in attractiveness, interests, intelligence, education, age, family background, religion, and attitudes. Researchers have noted what is called a “matching phenomenon” when choosing romantic partners. This phenomenon is described as a tendency to choose partners who are a good match to ourselves in attractiveness and other traits. Studies have shown that those who were a good match in physical attractiveness were more likely to be dating longer than couples who were not well matched, and that married couples are more closely matched in attractiveness than couples who are casually dating. Furthermore, Rubin and his associates have found that dating couples who eventually broke up were less well matched in age, educational ambitions, intelligence, and physical attractiveness than those who stayed together.
Another factor that is extremely important in predicting attraction is proximity. Studies have shown that most people marry someone who lives in the same neighborhood or works at the same job; and it is not simply a matter of physical proximity, but a matter of...
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Love in Relationships (Psychology and Mental Health)
After one finds a partner, whether one is happy or unhappy in love depends on the relationship one creates. According to Cindy Hazan and PhilipShaver, both adults and teenagers re-create the same type of relationship they experienced with their parents during childhood. Secure lovers create an intimate relationship that is neither excessively dependent nor independent. They bring a secure sense of self and an interest in developing the independence of their partner into the relationship. Avoidant lovers are overly independent. They get nervous when their partner gets too close because they do not trust the other person completely. Anxious-ambivalent lovers are too dependent; they often worry that their partner does not really love them or will not want to stay with them. Thus, many lovers end up playing out the script that they were taught as children.
Men often follow a different script from that followed by women when they are in love. Men tend to choose a partner on the basis of physical attractiveness, while women emphasize interpersonal warmth and occupational status. Romance involves both passion and affection; men, however, tend to get hooked into the passion first, while women tend to want the affection as a prerequisite to sex. As the relationship matures, men want the affection as much as the sex, and women get equally excited by sexual stimuli as do men. Who, then, one might ask, are the real romantics? Men...
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History of Research on Love (Psychology and Mental Health)
Psychologists have approached the topic of love from a variety of perspectives. In the early 1900’s, clinical psychologists looked at love mainly in terms of its sexual component. For example, Sigmund Freud defined love as sublimated sexuality. By the middle of the twentieth century, humanistic psychologists such as Abraham Maslow, Erich Fromm, and Carl R. Rogers saw love as including the empathy, responsibility, and respect that is characteristic of friendship. Next, there was an attempt to measure love as distinct from friendship, with Rubin creating his liking and loving scales.
Since love involves emotions, motivations, and cognitions, Walster and Berscheid drew on the earlier work of Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer to devise a multifactor explanation of love called thetwo-factor theory. They theorize that love arises when a person is physiologically aroused and labels that arousal as love. For example, being in a dangerous situation creates physiological arousal, and, if one is with an attractive partner, one could feel that the sweating palms and pounding heart mean that one is falling in love. Researchers have found that men approached by an unknown, attractive woman as they crossed a dangerous bridge were more likely to ask her out and indicate attraction than men approached by the woman while crossing a sturdy, safe bridge. Studies show that watching scary movies, riding on roller coasters, and...
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Sources for Further Study (Psychology and Mental Health)
Buss, David M. The Dangerous Passion. New York: Free Press, 2000. This work, written by a pioneer researcher in evolutionary psychology, details the Darwinian drives that shape the way we experience love. Focuses on the adaptive role of jealousy as seen across time and cultures, theorized to promote fidelity and security in love relationships.
Fisher, Helen. Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love. New York: Henry Holt, 2005. An anthropologist asserts that much of romantic love is biologically based, with feelings such as passion and joy sparked by the chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine flooding the body. Includes fascinating references to love observed among nonhuman animals.
Fromm, Erich. The Art of Loving. New York: Harper, 1956. In this classic book, Fromm builds on the theme that immature love is needing to be loved, while mature love is needing to love. The reader learns the qualities that must be developed in oneself before one can maturely love another person.
Jolly, Alison. Lucy’s Legacy: Sex and Intelligence in Human Evolution. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001. Investigates the role of evolution in shaping behavior, particularly in relation to love and sex. Written for a professional audience, but accessible to general readers.
Person, Ethel S. Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters. Washington, D.C.:...
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Love (International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis)
From a psychoanalytic point of view, love is the investment in, and ability to be loved by, another without experiencing this love as a subjective threat, such as that represented by the Thing (das Ding) which Freud described in the Project of 1895. For psychoanalysis the genesis of the love investment must be taken into consideration and the very different modalities through which it manifests itself must be identified.
It is important to differentiate love from infatuation or being in love (Verliebtheit), which is associated with a pathological feeling (Leidenschaft): "That the state of being in love (Verliebtheit) manifests itself abnormally can be explained by the fact that other amorous states outside the analytic cure resemble abnormal rather than normal psychic phenomena" (1915a). Being in love is essentially marked by an overestimation of the love object and a devaluation of the self that resembles the condition of melancholia (1921c).
The genesis of love begins with the oral relation of the infant's mouth and the mother's breast: "The picture of the child at the mother's breast has become the model of all sexual relations" (1905d). Also, in choosing an object later in life, the child will attempt "to reestablish this lost happiness" (1905d). But this happiness, even if it is marked by this choice of a primary infantile object, must later reunite and conjoin two libidinal currents, the tender current arising from infantile cathexis and the sensual current that appears during puberty, "The man will leave his mother and fathers the Bible indicatesnd will follow his wifeenderness and sensuality are therefore reunited" (1912d). This can only occur through the loss of the infantile object choice: "The individual human must devote himself to the difficult task of separating from his parents," as Freud indicated in the twenty-first of the Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1916-1917a [1915-16]). Yet, in "On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love" (1912d), Freud recalls the difficulty of loving and the numerous splits that remain: "When they love, they do not desire, and when they desire, they cannot love."
In "Instincts and their Vicissitudes" (1915c), he examines the different splits and oppositions in which love plays a role; these are: loving/hating, loving/being loved, and loving and hating together in opposition to the state of indifference. The pair loving/hating is related to the pleasure/unpleasure polarity; the ego interjects pleasure and expels unpleasure, which is transformed into the opposition ego-pleasure/exterior world-unpleasure. Thus, hatred and the rejection of the exterior world emanate from the narcissistic ego. The pair loving/being loved originates in the reversal of an impulse into its opposite, of activity into passivity, and corresponds to the narcissism of self-love. The pair love/indifference is associated with the polarity ego/exterior world. We love the "object that dispenses pleasure" and we repeat "the original flight before the exterior world" (1926d) in the face of an object that does not dispense pleasure. In this way the intellectual economy of love is profoundly affected by these different forms of ambivalence.
See also: Ambivalence; Conflict; Counter-transference; Demand; Direct analysis; Ego-libido/object-libido; Eros; Erotomania; Friendship; Genital love; Gift; Hatred; Homosexuality; Jalousie amoureuse, La; Love-Hate-Knowledge (L/H/K bonds); Maternal; Narcissism; Object; Object, change of/choice of; Oedipus complex; Passion; Primary love; Rivalry; Sexuality; Tenderness; Therapeutic alliance; Transferencelove; Turning around.
Freud, Sigmund. (1905d). Three essays on the theory of sexuality. SE, 7: 123-243.
. (1912d). On the universal tendency to debasement in the sphere of love. SE, 11: 177-190.
. (1915a). Observations on transference-love: technique of psycho-analysis. SE, 12: 157-171.
. (1921c). Group psychology and the analysis of the ego. SE, 18: 65-143.
. (1926d). Inhibitions, symptoms and anxiety. SE, 20: 75-172.
Gabbard, Glen. (1996). Love and hate in the analytic setting. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, Inc.
Kernberg, Otto. (1995). Love relations. Normality and pathology. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Lear, Jonathan. (1990). Love and its place in nature: A philosophical interpretation of freudian psychoanalysis. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Love (Contemporary Musicians)
In 1966, Love was the toast of the Los Angeles, California, rock community. After playing a series of clubs on the prestigious Sunset Strip, an energetic live show won them a contract with Elektra Records, and their self-titled LP garnered favorable reviews. "Love were a legendhe quintessence of Hollywood," Steve Burgess wrote in the Marshall Cavendish History of Popular Music, "simultaneously seedy and transcendental, pure but scandalous." Critics quickly stamped "genius" on eccentric frontman Arthur Lee and noted Love's significance as one of the first interracial rock bands. In 1967 Love completed their masterwork, Forever Changes, an album that synthesized folk rock, a touch of baroque, and a large dose of the psychedelic.
By 1968, however, the group was seemingly in the grips of drug addiction. Love secluded themselves in Bela Lugosi's mansion overlooking Los Angeles, and rumors of the group's bizarre lifestyle and steady intake of drugs ran rampant. "The move from acid to heroin probably gave Love an additional slackboost," noted Mickey Stephens of Pop Matters online. "By 1967, they had the money to support big, soul-sucking habits, and they sure used it." The band also gained a reputation as standoffish and unfriendly, the antitheses of the feeling the group's name implied, leading some to refer to them as "Hate." Lee's tightfisted control of the band and disintegrating mental state led to friction within the band, and by 1968, Love began to implode. In 1969 Lee re-formed the group but without the same cohesion.
Lee, whose given name is Arthur Potter Taylor, was born in Memphis, Tennessee. At age five, he moved to California, and when his mother remarried, Lee adopted his stepfather's last name. A lonely child, he found solace in music, enjoying the popular crooners of the day like Nat King Cole. He also developed something of a reputation in his neighborhood as a "tough guy." His street-smart childhood experiences contrasted sharply to Bryan MacLean's privileged childhood in Hollywood. MacLean's first crush was Liza Minnelli, and he was well versed in both show tunes and classical music. When the two men met at Ben Frank's coffeeshop on the Sunset Strip, Lee invited MacLean to hear his band, the Grass Roots, at the Brave New World.
In addition to Lee, the Grass Roots was formed by members of two other groups, American Four and the LAGs. A friend of Lee's, Johnny Echols, once a neighbor of saxophonist Omette Coleman, played in both bands. They played R&B, but their musical taste would take a sharp turn after seeing the Byrds perform in Los Angeles in 1965. Formed with these new sounds in mind, the Grass Roots concocted their own style of folk rock mixed with a heavy dose of hard rock and blues. After seeing the band perform, MacLean joined Echols and Lee. In late 1965, the group changed its name to Love, a name that apparently no one liked, to avoid confusion with a commercially successful band also named the Grass Roots.
Love's Labored Triumph
Love carved out a reputation on the rough and tumble Los Angeles club circuit in 1965 and 1966. They played Ciro's on the Sunset Strip, Bido Lito's in Hollywood, and finally the infamous Whiskey A Go-Go. Their combination of garage rock, folk rock, and the psychedelic gave them a unique edge, separating them from the plethora of other Los Angeles bands. Lee mesmerized audiences. He donned fringed jackets, small sunglasses, Edwardian shirts, and army boots, helping to set the soon-to-be-trendy Los Angeles look. The band transformed Bacharach/David's "My Little Red Book" into an angry rock assault, while MacLean's punk rendition of "Hey Joe" proved a highlight of early shows. The band also expressed a softer side on songs like "You I'll Be Following," which leaned closer to the sound of the Byrds. "From the start," wrote David Sokol of MusicHound Folk, "Love fashioned itself as a dynamic, hard-edged band with a soft touch." These live shows attracted Jac Holzman, who was looking to expand Elektra Records to the West Coast. He signed Love in late 1965.
By January of 1966, the band had added bassist Ken Forssi and drummer Alban "Snoopy" Pfisterer to fill out what would become Love's classic lineup. The band entered Sound Set Recorders studio to record their eclectic debut, drawing on many of the songs they had been playing in live shows. The album cover, a photograph taken on the grounds of their old estate in Laurel Canyon, featured a surly and street-smart band. "Hey Joe" reached number 52 on the American charts, and by the time the group's self-titled album was released in May of 1966, Love was the hottest band on the Los Angeles underground circuit. Love also had attitude to spare, which proved off-putting to some, but the band didn't really care. If their behavior occasionally got out of control, as with an ugly incident involving mistreating a member of the press, the band believed their deeds to be innocent enough at the time. Although Love sold 150,000 copies, Lee was unhappy with Pfisterer's drumming. He hired a new drummer, Michael Stuart, and moved Pfisterer to the harpsichord.
Although some people Love's attitude as prematurely arrogant, the recording of "7 and 7 Is" proved the band wasn't a one-hit wonder. This single stood out as one of the premier psychedelic songs of the era, and the warped lyrics gave notice that the band had begun to experiment with drugs. The record rose to number 33 on the American charts, Love's only top 50 hit, and was called one of the greatest rock singles of the 1960s by Mojo magazine. "7 and 7 Is" also laid the groundwork for Love's second album, Da Capo, recorded in September and October of 1966. Under producer Paul Rothchild, the band softened its harder edge and moved toward a psychedelic baroque sound. Critics point to songs like "Stephen Knows Who" and "Orange Skies" when noting that the first side of Da Capo ranks with the best music the band ever made. The album's quality suffered, however, with the inclusion of a rambling jam called "Revelation." "Side two consisted of one continuous opus...," wrote Burgess, "an adventurous, if unsuccessful, experiment that made side two as self-indulgent as side one was concise."
Paradise Lost and Regained
Love was poised for even greater success following their sophomore triumph in the studio, but Lee's aloofness and the band's drug use began to create complications. Lee would later accuse Elektra of spending more time promoting their labelmates, the Doors, than Love, but many outsiders perceived the band as unambitious and unwilling to pay the dues required to achieve fame. Lee seldom went out of his way to work with people who could help his career, and he often refused to leave his hotel when playing out of town. "Lee eventually refused to travel more than a few miles to a gig," Burgess noted. Some speculated that the band's lack of ambition came from their plunge into heroin use following the recording of Da Capo. Love further sabotaged their career in the summer of 1967 by turning down a chance to play the Monterey Pop Festival.
The same summer, six months after recording Da Capo, the band entered the studio again to record Forever Changes. In retrospect, it seems a small miracle that the album was made at all. The band was too disorganized to record. Lee's drug use was out of control, and MacLean did not show up for practices. Neil Young, signed as co-producer, only managed to arrange one song, "The Daily Planet." Engineer/producer Bruce Botnick proceeded to book session musicians for studio recording. "The group was in such sad shape, apparently," wrote Richie Unterberger in All Music Guide, "that Elektra planned to record their third album with session men backing Lee (on his compositions) or MacLean (on his compositions)." As Love sat in the studio and watched other musicians play "Andmoreagain" and "The Daily Planet," some members were so upset that they reportedly began to cry. The shock woke the band up. They pulled themselves together and finished the album.
Forever Changes became Love's masterwork. "It wasn't a hit," wrote Unterberger, "but Forever Changes continues to regularly appear on critics' lists of the top ten rock albums of all time, and it had an enormously far-reaching ... influence that went way beyond chart listings." The arrangements began with acoustic guitar and added a wash of strings and horns. The poetic lyrics explored paranoia and violence, themes seemingly at odds with the happy mood of the mid 1960s. MacLean penned two songs, the opening track, "Alone Again Or," and "The Red Telephone." Forever Changes' atmospheric combination of folk rock and psychedelia has been described as both beautiful and gentle. Commercially, however, the album did poorly in the United States, topping out at number 152 on the album charts. It fared better in Britain, though, reaching number 24.
Love did not seem bothered by the lack of public response. Critics loved the album and that was good enough. But all was not well within the group. "Things appeared to be getting out of hand at the communal chateau," wrote Burgess, "and gossip about groupies, drugs and gay liaisons between members of the band were rife." When the band entered the studio again, they seemed to have lost all sense of direction, running up a large bill and recording little of quality. Only "Laughing Stock" and "Your Mind and We Belong Together," released in 1968, were culled from the sessions. Echols' heroin habit had become so advanced that he sometimes showed up without his guitar. MacLean, frightened by these developments, felt that it was time to get out. Echols, Forssi, and Stuart soon followed, leaving Lee's band in shambles. In the summer of 1968, a demoralized Lee overdosed on heroin and almost died.
Problems Ran Deep
When Lee got back on his feet, he quickly put together a second version of Love with drummer George Suranovich, bassist Frank Fayad, and guitarist Jay Donnellan. They recorded 30 tracks that would eventually be issued on two albums, ten on Four Sail in 1969, and the remainder on the double-album Out There in 1969. The music leaned toward heavy rock, and many critics found the albums disappointing. Lee recorded with his friend Jimi Hendrix in 1970, but only one track, "The Everlasting First," was issued on the album False Start. The band's lineup continued to change, and two more albums were recorded between 1972 and 1974 before Love disbanded (Black Beauty went unreleased). "The problems ran deeper," wrote Unterberger, "than unsympathetic accompaniment: Lee's songwriting muse had largely deserted him as well, and nothing on the post -Forever Changes albums competes with the early Elektra records." An attempt at a reunion in 1978 that included Lee and MacLean quickly fell apart.
Though several members joined and recorded with other bands, these explorations failed to recreate the success of their work with Love. Time also proved unkind to several members. On January 5, 1998, bassist Forssi died from brain cancer, while MacLean died on December 25, 1998 of a heart attack. Lee toured with Baby Lemonade in 1996 but a subsequent arrest on a firearms charge landed the singer in jail with a 12-year sentence.
Despite these misfortunes, the music that Love made over 30 years ago continues to influence the current music scene. "[I]n later years," wrote Jam! online,"the groupnd particularly frontman Arthur Leeas become a frequently mentioned influence on the current generation of rockers." Rick Gregory of Audities online noted, "To this day, Forever Changes sounds as if not a speck of dust has touched it." The psychedelic music of Love influenced the Paisley Underground movement in the 1980s and has reverberated in English bands like Swervedriver and Jasmine Minks. The deluxe reissue of Forever Changes by Rhino in 2001, complete with bonus tracks, assures that a new generation will be introduced to the lush pop/rock of Love.
Love, Elektra, 1966.
Da Capo, Elektra, 1967.
Forever Changes, Elektra, 1967; reissued, Rhino, 2001.
Four Sail, Elektra, 1969.
Out Here, Blue Thumb, 1969.
False Start, Blue Thumb, 1970.
Reel To Real, RSO, 1974.
Love Live, Rhino, 1982.
The Best of Love: Golden Archive Series, Rhino, 1986.
Out There, Big Beat, 1994.
Love Story 1966972, Rhino/Elektra, 1995.
Once More Again, Distortions, 1996.
Brown, Ashley, editor, Marshall Cavendish History of Popular Music, Marshall Cavendish, 1990.
Santelli, Robert, Sixties Rock: A Listener's Guide, Contemporary Books, 1985.
Walters, Neal, and Brian Mansfield, editors, MusicHound Folk: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press, 1998.
"Love," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (June 6, 2001).
"Love: Forever Changes," Pop Matters, http://www.popmatters.com (June 11, 2001).
Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.