Why We Fall in Love: The Paradoxical Psychology of Romance and Why Frustration Is Necessary for Satisfaction
Adrienne Rich, in contemplating how love refines our truths, wrote: “An honorable human relationship — that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word ‘love’ — is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.” But among the dualities that lend love both its electricity and its exasperation — the interplay of thrill and terror, desire and disappointment, longing and anticipatory loss — is also the fact that our pathway to this mutually refining truth must pass through a necessary fiction: We fall in love not just with a person wholly external to us but with a fantasy of how that person can fill what is missing from our interior lives. Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips addresses this central paradox with uncommon clarity and elegance in Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life (public library). Phillips writes: Missing Out, previously discussed here, is a magnificent read in its totality.
Related: PHILOSOPHY AND PSYCHOLOGY 5
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