Frank Calberg's Reviews > Can Love Last?: The Fate of Romance over Time

Can Love Last? by Stephen A. Mitchell
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Takeways from reading the book:

What is desire?
- Page 34: Desire can be amusing and stimulating.
- Page 34: Desire without love lacks the intensity that deepens romantic passion.
- Page 50: Sexuality is well designed for rebellion against illusionary safety. Why? Because sexual response is unpredictable and not possible to willfully control. It entails vulnerability.
- Page 59: Sexual reproduction appeared on Earth because the intermingling of genetic material from two different organisms produced more adaptive results than the self-replication of a single organism. So variations evolved that made sexual reproduction more interesting than other ways to spend our time. Central to those variations were the evolution of genitals that produce intense pleasure when stimulated.
- Page 62: Sexuality is, by its very nature, antisocial.
- Page 64: Our sexuality is the animal within us. It drives us towards excess and indecency.
- Page 76-79: We think of sexuality as deeply personal and private because it is intense and because it surges from within us. Although it is one of our most common experiences, none of us knows what sex is like for anyone else.
- Page 86: The great enemy of eroticism is attachment.
- Page 91: Desire seeks novelty, adventure and surrender. In desire we search both for missing pieces of ourselves and for something beyond ourselves.
- Page 135: One of the most significant features of sexual desire is that it puts us in the position of needing another very much.

What is love without desire?
- Page 34: Love without desire can be secure.
- Page 34: Love without desire lacks adventure.
- Page 50: When people marry / establish a relationship and live together, they seek stability, certainty, predictability and permanence. A problem with this is that permanent safety stifles vitality. The characteristics, which people used to describe themselves before marriage / before establishing the relationship and living together, are used less when people marry. Examples: Being free, childlike, adventurous and spontaneous.
- Page 91: Love seeks control, stability, continuity and certainty. In love, we are searching for points of attachment, anchoring and something we can count on.

What is romance?
- Page 26: Romance is a mode of relating to another person which stimulates imaginative play.
- Page 27: Romance thrives on novelty, mystery and danger. It is like fireworks: Thrilling and short-lived.
- Page 27: Romance is inspired by fantasy and ideals.
- Page 34: Romance emerges in the tension between the part of love that has to do with desire and 2) the part of love that has to do with caring, friendship and security.
- Page 39: Romance emerges from the convergence of two conflicting needs: 1. The need to break out of established patterns and step over boundaries. 2. The need for predictability, reliability and anchoring.
- Page 83: The sense of surrender is central to romance.
- Page 155: Given the intense vulnerability generated by romantic love, aggression and guilt are always close by.
- Page 182: Is romantic love initiated, run and terminated by 1) a subconsciousness within us or 2) by a combination of conscious agency and unconscious motives?

Why do people seek romance?
- Page 26: People seek romance to give their lives meaning.
- Page 41: With the sexual revolution in the 1960s, sexual satisfaction became an important value for both women and men. One consequence of this was an increase in divorces.

Why does romance fade?
- Page 27-28: One way romance can fade is by degrading into passionless friendship. Why does this happen? Because people long for constancy in our relations with one another.
- Page 27-28: Another way romance can fade is by being reduced to purely sexual encounters. Why does that happen? Because romance is driven by desire. And desire is difficult to reconcile with other forms of love such as respect and admiration.
- Page 45: Habits dull romantic love.
- Page 47: Having only one partner for love increases safety. However, it also undermines the preconditions of desire.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 14, 2019 – Shelved

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