Hi, everybody! I’m a 22-year-old, single romantic male. Yes, that’s right, females do not have a monopoly on romanticism. What is romanticism you may ask? At its most basic it is romantic tendencies. It encompasses much more than merely a tendency. I am exhilarated by epic love stories and find myself energized by the mere prospect of pursuing someone romantically, which by the way is much more than dating. Pursuing someone romantically means doing my utmost to make that person feel valued and loved. This has manifested itself in some interesting ways over the years. I have found myself pursuing someone only for the sake of pursuing them and found myself hurt more times than I can remember when nothing happens between me and the other person.
It is supremely easy to create entire universes of thought and imagination and get wrapped up in these fantasies from any single source of inspiration. It becomes difficult to imagine what these would look like in reality. The few times I have found myself living in one of these fantasies in real life it is extremely disorienting and is hard to accept as reality. When I was younger I used to write mini love poems to the girls I liked. You know the type…”roses are red, violets are blue, your pretty and I like you”. I would leave them for these girls in different places. It got to the point that if they saw a slip of paper, they immediately knew it was one of my poems. I bought into romanticism hard and was the worse for it.
Unfortunately, this type of behavior did not end in middle school. It haunted me into adolescence and is something I struggle against now, as an adult. To be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known. Perhaps the greatest need of all people is to be loved and known. What does this look like for the average individual? Relationships with family, friends, and significant others. But how we go about trying to form these relationships often leads us is into dysfunctional habits. With new technologies people are finding ways to meet their intimacy needs without forming face to face relationships.
Social networking sites and other similar avenues for this. In a recent study neuroscientist researches Paul Zak, discovered that the main chemical responsible for trust and attachment, Oxycontin, rises dramatically when a person uses social media, specifically twitter, although the principle applies to all digital media. What does this mean? Namely that digital media itself can be used to meet one’s intimacy needs, even if one is not actually relating to anyone face-to-face. This should scare us and cause us to realize that if we are not extremely careful and intentional with how we are meeting our intimacy needs, we will fall into dysfunctional habits.
Unfortunately, our culture barrages us with social media and epic love stories that seem to suggest that if we aren’t meeting our intimacy needs with some grand romantic relationship we are doing something wrong. These types of movies set an example of love, that ultimately sets the individual up for failure. They seem to confuse the concepts of love and romanticism. Love is very different from romanticism. For one thing, the type of romanticism presented in these movies can only be maintained as long as both individuals in the given relationship are feeling romantic towards one another. Love is in the little things first and big things second. Ninety percent of life is lived out in daily minutia. If one only loves in the big and dramatic ways than really, they are only loving like 10 percent of the time. Yet these are the models set forth for us. Even homegrown love stories in movies like the Notebook, focus entirely on the big and dramatic ways in which love is expressed. Romanticism is confused with love, by many in our cultural context. Romanticism is an out-flowing of love, but cannot be the starting place for any serious relationship. When we put the metaphorical cart before the horse, we will ultimately crash and burn.
Penenberg, Adam L. "Social Networking Affects Brains Like Falling in Love | Fast Company | The Future Of Business." Fast Company. Fast Company, 04 Aug. 2012. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.