What is Love?
Every experience of your loved one creates a memory. Love becomes a
bundle of feelings, created by the collection of memories of your loved one
Marriages fail because people don't know what their bundle of love is and
how to protect it. Marriages become happy when couples understand what
love is and how to add to their bundle.
Is physical attraction love?
Love at first sight is simply attraction. Attraction can make your knees weak.
It can make you speechless. It can hit you over the head like a baseball bat
It can be magical. But, you don't really need it to make a marriage last.
Infatuation, is that Love?
Common definitions, such as "puppy love," or "having a crush," don't help
us, because they don't recognize the power of infatuation to make you crazy.
A better definition is: temporary insanity that makes a peson deaf, blind,
and dumb. It's a form of madness, even though it feels wonderful and is an
amazing feeling. You see no faults. It feels like love, but it isn't.
Infatuation turbo-charges your experiences with your lover so that an
ordinary moment becomes an extraordinary memory.
Sadly, infatuation always goes away, and all of a sudden your loved one is
simply a normal human being. To have a happy marriage, you need to know
the real truth about infatuation.
Isn't there romantic love?
Ah, Romance. Moonlight and roses. Dancing in the dark. The thrill of the
kiss. "Our song." Holding hands at midnight. An old fashioned love song.
Romance isn't love, but it creates those magical memories of shared
experience that become part of your collection of memories that is true love.
Guys will dance with you, bring flowers, call you just because they're
thinking of you, and do tons more romantic things while you're dating. After
the honeymoon, those things tend to fade away. That's normal. That's the
way most marriages are.
Few marriages have much romance left after the honeymoon. If you want to
make the marriage last, you can agree to carry some of the romance into
and throughout your marriage.
Love is collection of memories
Every experience you have of your loved one creates a memory. Hopefully
most of them are positive memories. Every memory comes attached to the
feeling you felt when you had that experience. That what love is.
I use the term 'collection' when I'm talking about memories, because each
memory is a discreet item you can recall one at a time.
Each memory comes with a feeling, some with good feelings, some not so
good. The sum total of all the good and bad feelings connected to your
partner becomes your "bundle" of love.
I call the bundle of feelings a 'bundle' because the feelings get all mixed up
together and become one big bundle of feelings, even though the memories
can be recalled one at a time. The feelings are not as discreet as the
memories. That is, they become all mixed together. One big bundle — that's
what love is.
The collection of memories produces your bundle of love
I apologize for these unromantic words, 'collection,' and 'bundle.' I wish there
were better words to use to tell you what love is.
It's important to understand that the love you feel for your partner is a giant
glob of feelings, some good and some not so good. All of the feelings were
created by the experiences of, about, and with your partner.
If Harold imagines how wonderful it would be to hold Agnes tight and kiss
her, he is creating an experience of Agnes. It will create a memory, and it
produces a positive loving feeling. It adds to his bundle.
If agnes talks about Harold to her best friend and tells her how wonderful he
is, she is having an experience about Harold. She is creating a memory that
produces a positive feeling. It adds to her bundle
When Harold and Agnes kiss in a romantic place, it creates memories of a
positive experience with each other. The memory creates a positive feeling.
They are both adding to their bundles.
What's the proof that love is a collection of memories?
You only need to visit a nursing home to see examples of people who have
lost access to their memories. Alzheimer's, dementia, and other things that
cause memory loss show us that when a woman cannot recognize a man as
her husband, she feels no love for him. Her bundle of love has disappeared
because she has no memory of her husband, good or bad. Mothers or
Fathers can't recognize and remember their children.
You can only feel love if you can recall the memories of, about, and with the
person, pet, or place.
In Summary, here's what love is
Love is a bundle of feelings attached to a collection of memories of
experiences of, about, and with your partner.
Attraction, infatuation, and romance all play a role in super-charging the
experiences, so the memories and feelings are so much stronger, but they
are not love.
Physical attraction can be so powerful it takes your breath away. It can make your
knees weak. You may not be able to speak, or even think. Learn what's magical
about it, and how it can hurt you.
"Love at first sight" isn't really love. It's attraction. It's important to know the
difference between attraction and love. People who don't understand the difference
can find themselves running off to elope with a stranger — because of attraction —
Attraction is a physical response — you feel it!
You look at someone, or hear his or her voice, and the physical attraction is
immediate. In one case it can be mild. In another, it can be strong, and in yet
another it can be intense.
Somehow (and nobody knows quite how), we’re each “imprinted” at an early age —
possibly as young as three or as old as eight or nine — with the imprint that will
determine the person you will find attractive later in life.
You seem to have a mental picture of the person who is just “right” for you. Not
only is there a picture, but also there is an imprint for the “right”voice: the sound,
the tone, and the pace. You’re imprinted not only with picture and sound, but odor,
taste, and feel.
You're always on the lookout for people who match your attraction imprinting.
Before and even after you're married:
You — without even realizing it — automatically scan each person (of the right sex
for you), and you feel physical attraction when you see, hear, or meet (or smell,
touch, or taste) someone who matches some of the features for which you are
imprinted.The closer that person comes to matching your imprint, the more intense
the feeling. A complete match is not necessary for attraction. Just one or two key
variables may be enough to give you the feeling of being attracted.
Good and bad news about attraction
Attraction is probably a genetic "leftover" from the time before humans learned to
speak. It's purpose was to start the process of getting two pre-verbal cave dwellers
to become a couple and raise children. Because the whole attraction process is buried deeply into our brains, it's pretty
automatic, so we don't have much control over it. It happens whether we like it or
That means that you might be happily married, in love with your partner, and
BOING!, the bells go off when you meet someone who closely matches your
The good news is that attraction is a wonderful, delightful, and exciting experience.
The bad news is that some people confuse attraction with love and think they should
act on the feeling of attraction.
You can't make a marriage last if either party confuses attraction with love and
wants to start a new relationship with the latest person to "ring their bell."
If you're married, and you feel attraction for another person, enjoy the feeling, but
do not act on the feeling. Some people feel guilty. They think they may not love
their partner if they feel attracted to someone else.
Don't feel guilty. And, don't make your partner feel guilty if your partner feels a
powerful attraction for another person. It's human. It's automatic. You can't help it.
But, you can understand it, and choose not to do anything about it.
Attraction isn't love; it's simply physical attraction
Physical attraction can be so powerful that it feels like love — but it isn't. We now
know that love is the bundle of feelings that come from memories of positive shared
You can't be in love with this stranger you've just met, who "rings your bell." You
have no shared positive experiences. You have no memories with feelings attached.
You have no bundle of love on which to base a marriage.
Do not make the disasterous mistake of running off to be with this stranger based
solely on the primeval physical attraction your imprinting causes you to feel. Do
Teenagers should be taught about attraction so they understand the physical
attraction they feel the first time somebody matches their imprinting.
Some of the variables in physical attraction
Here are some of the physical attraction variables that are important to different
people. A few of these may be critical variables to you, but each is critical to
• Hair: length, type (curly, straight, long, short), color, texture
• Facial features: shape, width, length
• Skin color: texture and feel
• Body shape: sexual features, legs, neck, lip tension, taste
• Feel of the skin and flesh: hardness, softness
• Voice tone: timbre, pace, softness, hardness, high or low
• Sense of humor: laugh, giggle
• Smell: skin, hair, breath
• Gestures: head, hands, and arm movements
• Posture: carriage, roundness, straightness
• Tension level of the body: relaxed, tense
• Height: tall, short, medium
• Weight: light, heavy
• Energy level: calm, intense, easy-going, hard driving
• Gait: walking, running
• Confidence level: cocky, shy, confident
Love vs Infatuation
It's easy for others to tell whether you are in love or just infatuated. But, it
can be hard for you to tell the difference.
You can't tell the difference because when you're "crazy in love." You've lost
your senses. You've lost your mind. Infatuation is a delightful form of
madness. It's like a short term mental illness, where you lose your ability to
Here's how to tell the difference
Love is real, and if you take good care of it, it will last a lifetime. And love
Infatuation is unreal. The madness of infatuation creates many unrealities.
You perceive your love object as vastly more wonderful than is real. You
perceive your feeling of infatuation as though it will last forever.
Once infatuation peaks, it starts disappearing until it's gone. It always goes
After infatuation goes away, reality comes back to you. You see that your
love object has faults, flaws, and the normal number of human quirks. You
can't see that when you're infatuated.
After infatuation disappears and reality returns, any bonds you formed with
your partner during your madness will stay with you forever. It's those
bonds, the memories and the feelings that make up your bundle of love that might lead to marriage and a committed relationship.
So, love is real, and it lasts.
Infatuation is magical, mystical, very unreal, and it always goes away.
Is it Love or Infatuation?
It's hard to tell the difference between love and infatuation, because they are
so intertwined. I'll do my best to unscramble them for you.
Love is a collection of memories of
shared experiences of, about, and with
your partner. The memories come with
feelings attached, which come together in
a giant bundle of feelings of love.
Infatuation is a hormonal state that turbo
charges those shared experiences.
Example: Agnes and Harold are enjoying
mutual infatuation. They go to dinner. You
and I might think that everything about
the experience was ordinary, yet to them
everything about the experience creates a
The food was the best they ever tasted.
The music was incredibly good. In fact,
one song became "Our Song." They
danced. It was heavenly holding each
other in their arms. They'll never forget
what they whispered into each other's
Okay, you got the idea. A shared positive
experience creates memories with
attached feelings. This is true of experiences Agnes and Harold shared
before they came down with infatuation,
and it will be true throughout their
The hormonal, unreal state of infatuation turbo-charges those shared
positive memories, and allows them to create huge, fantastic, powerful
memories, with wonderfully strong feelings attached.
Because of the infatuation, the bundle of love that they will carry into their
marriage will be much larger than it would have been if neither had come
down with infatuation.
"Is it love or is it infatuation?" isn't exactly the right question
This question suggests that they are opposed. They aren't. They are vastly
different. One goes, the other stays. One is real, the other is unreal. But while under the influence of infatuation, normal every day experiences
take on an intensity that creates very strong positive feelings that will last,
even when the infatuation disappears.
It isn't "love vs infatuation;" they work together. Infatuation super-charges
everyday experiences to create the strong memories and feelings that
become real love.
The Dangers of Infatuation
If you don't know the difference between love and infatuation, you could
conclude that your loving feelings went away when the infatuation
disappeared. Brides have mistakenly canceled weddings, thinking their love
was gone, when the infatuation left.
If you think infatuation is love, you can do crazy things under its influence.
You might just be tempted to run off to a desert island with your new
For many people, strong attraction can lead almost immediately into
infatuation, and then all thinking and reality testing goes out the window.
All the things that were important in your life before, are no longer
important. School, work, family, hobbies, plans and ambitions all seem so
unimportant now that you're infatuated with your new attractive stranger.
Remember! Infatuation is madness. You can't think straight, so don't do
anything you'll regret when infatuation leaves you and reason returns.
Wait until your feet are back on the ground, you've got your senses back an
you can make reasoned, rational decisions. You've got time. If there is real
love under all the hormones, your bundle will be there when your madness
Definition of Infatuation
We need a new definition of infatuation, because the common definitions
don't help us. I'll show you what I mean.
One dictionary's definition of infatuation: "Be inspired by an intense, but
short lived, passion or admiration for." That's only a tiny part of the story.
Wikipedia's definition of infatuation is much more complete, but they don't
define infatuation, they instead, refer to it as "Limerance" a word first coined
by Dorothy Tennov a professor of psychology.
Here's an excerpt of Wikipedia's "Limerance"
"Limerence is a state of mind characterized by intrusive thinking, longing,
uncertainty, hope, misperception, fantasies, and passion.
Limerence has been described as 'having a crush,' 'infatuation,' 'passionate
love,' 'puppy love,' 'romantic love,' or 'being in love.'
It is important to note that limerence is neither love nor sexual attraction.
Love, sexual attraction, and limerence can all exist without each other or
any or all of them can coexist together."
Additionally, Tennov lists certain basic components that expand the definition
Limerence has certain basic components
--intrusive thinking about the limerent object
--acute longing for reciprocation
some fleeting and transient relief from unrequited limerence through
vivid imagining of action by the limerent object that means
--fear of rejection and unsettling shyness in the limerent object's
--intensification through adversity
--acute sensitivity to any act, thought, or condition that can be
interpreted favorably, and an extraordinary ability to devise or invent
"reasonable" explanations for why neutral actions are a sign of hidden
passion in the limerent object
--an aching in the chest when uncertainty is strong
--buoyancy (a feeling of walking on air) when reciprocation seems
--a general intensity of feeling that leaves other concerns in the
--a remarkable ability to emphasize what is truly admirable in the
limerent object and to avoid dwelling on the negative or render it into
another positive attribute.
consider this list to be a wonderfully accurate listing of the characteristics
of infatuation. They are all present when a person experiences infatuation.
My Definition of Infatuation: Temporary Insanity
I define infatuation as "Temporary insanity that makes a person deaf, blind,
Infatuation is a form of madness. (It is also the about the most wonderful,
amazing, incredibly good feeling we can have.)
Infatuation feels like love, looks like love, and is very commonly mistaken
for love — but infatuation isn't love. We know it can't be love, because it
always fades away and doesn’t come back — with the same person. Whereas
love will stay after infatuation disappears.
Infatuation feels so good that some people even become serial infatuators,
jumping from partner to partner, always seeking the high that infatuation
brings. Infatuation can be addictive.
Infatuation makes even insignificant things seem
My definition of infatuation includes it's role as an intensifier of feelings.
Infatuation does powerful, magical things. Infatuation 'magnifies' the
intensity of feelings you get from shared experiences with your partner. Real
love is the sum of the positive bonds you build up from shared positive
experiences with your partner. The size of the good feeling is intensified, or
'magnified' by the madness of infatuation.
Infatuation blinds you to your partner's human-ness
My definition of infatuation includes the
insanity it produces: Infatuation is a form
of madness because you lose touch with
Eventually, you're going to realize that
your partner isn't the most perfect,
beautiful or handsome, and loving person
in the whole world.
You'll see that your partner is really just a
person with the normal number of flaws
While you're infatuated, however, you're
'blind' to your partner's faults,
weaknesses, and failings. It seems your
partner is perfect in so many ways.
Infatuation makes you 'dumb' and 'deaf,' too
Infatuation makes you 'dumb' because you lose touch with things that are
really important to you in your life, like your education, your parents and
family, your friends, your career, your goals, your values, and much more.
Life becomes temporarily all about your partner and those other things seem
to fade in importance. Infatuation makes you 'deaf' to the opinions and observations of family and
friends who care a great deal about you.
Infatuation always goes away. While it seems painful at the time, it's a good
thing that the madness fades away and reality returns.
No one could go through life with the intensity of focus infatuation brings.
During infatuation, you could talk all night. You can survive with almost no
sleep. You can ignore your responsibilities. You may pay no attention to your
Not everybody gets infatuated with their partner. You still can have a
wonderful life-long, bonded relationship with your partner without ever
having been infatuated. But, If you don't know or realize what infatuation is,
you can make some very big mistakes.
Romance serves to heighten whatever feelings each has for
the other. Romance creates strong positive memories of a shared
Remember, real love is the memory of positive shared experiences, along
with the bundle of feelings that are attached to those experiences.
You could say that romance helps produce stronger bonds of love.
Quit ducking the question. Is Romantic love real
No. We've already described real love as the collection of memories and the
bundle of loving feelings of happy shared experiences.
Romance serves to make stronger memories and add to the bundle of love
with which the couple will begin their marriage, but it isn't the real love
we're looking for.
It's sad to say, but most couples let the romance fade away after the
honeymoon. The guy no longer likes to dance. He rarely brings flowers. He
doesn't call her just to hear her voice. He only calls her when he has
something to say.
If the romantic love disappears after the honeymoon, does it mean the real
love has gone?
No, of course not. Even the happiest marriages of the most loving couples
sometimes let the romance fade away. They still love each other. They jus
don't have all that much romance anymore.
If real love lasts, and romantic love fades away, they can't be the same
Can you still have romantic love after the
Yes, you can. To make your marriage last, your goal is to keep adding to the
bundle of loving feelings. Romance helps create new positive memories of
shared experiences and the loving feelings that are attached to the
We strongly recommend that couples plan to keep some romance in their
marriage. The whole next page is filled with thoughts about that.
Before you go there, it's important to understand how you and your partner
change after the honeymoon.
You came together as a couple and decided to marry for a number of
1.Somehow, we humans are genetically and hormonally driven to find a
mate. It's a basic human need.
2.Possibly, you found each other attractive. Attraction is built in to us as
3.Probably, one or both of you experienced infatuation. That's a
4.Courting rituals create romantic experiences. Those rituals are built in
Then, you marry, and have a honeymoon (or not).
You've got all your needs met; the drive is gone.
Reality has set in. You've responded to all those human genetic and
hormonal drives and urges. You've found your mate and you've settled down.
There's no more thrill of the hunt. There's no more urgency in attracting and
being attractive. The infatuation is long gone.
We humans are driven by our needs. When we're hungry we eat. By eating,
we've responded to the need and we're no longer hungry. We want sex. Then
we have it. Now, we aren't needy. We need to work, so we find work. Once
we have work, we're satisfied.
The need to meet, court, and mate drove us to marry. Now, we don't have
those same needs again. They've been satisfied.
Most people turn their attention to other things, things that satisfy some
other need they have. Most people take their relationship and their partner
Those people have a 50% chance of making their marriage last.
Some people — hopefully you're one of them — commit to make their
marriage happy and to make it last. Those people are willing to commit 5
minutes a day to learn the skills and habits that make a marriage last.
Keep Romance Alive
You're fighting a tough battle. It's normal and natural for romance to fade as
the years go by in your marriage.The good news is that it can be done. If
you and your partner both want to keep romance as the magical spice for
your marriage, you can do it. Millions before you have done it. You can, too.
Keep romance alive by understanding how it will change.
The things you do to keep romance alive change over time as your
relationship matures. Before the wedding, romance is an extention of
courting. Dining, moonlight, music, romantic settings, flowers for no reason,
phone calls to hear your voice. All of these things and much more are part of
the courting process, products of attraction and maybe infatuation.
Romance after a few years of marriage may be holding hands when you take
a walk. Or, sitting quietly together as you read, and from time to time
reading excerpts to each other. As long as you understand how romance
matures with time, you won't have expectations of a lifetime of dancing,
candlelight, and love songs.
Some people can even keep up the dancing, candle light, and love songs. It
just takes work. If you both decide it's worth it, we can help.
Why does it take work to keep romance alive?
Romance after marriage is no longer driven by genes and hormones. So, you
have to substitute commitment and effort. The easiest way to do that is to
make it a habit.
Doris and Bill have had a weekly lunch date for nearly 50 years. It's a deeply
ingrained habit. Stan and Norma go out to dinner, then to a play or opera, or
to a lecture at least once a month. They've been doing it for many, many
years. They are committed to it. They've made it a habit.
You and your partner could decide to do something you both enjoy. Make a
habit of it, and each time you do it, you will both know that this is the spice
of romance that you've added to your marriage.
You may or may not feel comfortable with this sort of agreement. If you do
feel comfortable with it, you’ll discover that it covers the major concerns and
risks that each person in a relationship faces.
Attraction is built in to us by nature, and cannot be avoided. Flirting is also
natural, and most people find it to be fun, and find they get good feelings
from it. This pledge recognizes those realities. It also recognizes the very
important commitment that each person has to the primary relationship, and
every experience of attraction is used as a trigger to cause a renewed
commitment to the relationship.