Do you love your beloved?
Or do you love the pleasant sensations she or he elicits in you?
In other words, do you love the person you desire, or do you love desire?
There is a difference.
If you practice “romantic” love the chances are that you love desire. We like those pleasant sensations and want to keep them for ourselves. Romantic love is possessive love. We want our beloved to be happy, but only if that happiness is contingent on ourselves.
Romantic love feels natural but it developed within modernity and from Christianity. The model of this passion? The passion of Christ. Religious passion and devotion to God became secularized and formed the basis of the relationship between man and woman.
Romantic love idealises the other and scripts the proper course of development of the relationship.
This love became a narrative by which men and women lived their lives. Hence the “romance” novel. As readers of romance, women diffused and feminised romantic love. It became a narrative by which subordinated women could entrap a likely provider. But few women would have made the mistake of believing in it. Many men do just that.
In Carmen, for example, that was Jose Navarro’s error—he believed in romantic love. On this basis, he attempted its corollary, to capture this love by controlling the life of his beloved, Carmen.
Carmen knew this was like trying to capture the wind and laughed at him. In a futile attempt to capture this love for himself, Jose killed Carmen. Men attempting to preserve their desire by controlling their partner, is all too common in romantic relationships.
Hurts so good.