Tuesday, May 14, 2013

True Love versus Romantic Love: Understanding the Difference


True love is often confused with romantic love, mainly because the feelings associated with true love is as tender, warm and comforting as romantic love.  In many ways, the experience of true love can be very similar to romantic love.  They are not one and the same thing.  

What is romantic love?

The term romantic comes from the word 'romance', which can be traced to old French and Latin words (Fr. 'romanz', meaning 'work composed' and L. 'romanice', meaning 'in the vernacular').  The term used to mean something that is idealized or done in the spirit of adventure.  This is why we often use the term to refer to the 'romance of traveling' or to describe the distinct beauty of a 'romantic painting'.

Romantic love shares the main characteristic of these things, in that it is a love that is idealized.  When people are in the throes of romantic love, they see everything from a rosy point of view.  They either do not see the flaws and imperfections of the relationship and of the person they love or they just simply prefer to ignore it.  What they consider more important is the novelty, the beauty and the uniqueness of the experience of new love, giving in to the fascination of something they can barely begin to explain.

The difference between true love and romantic love

Unlike romantic love, true love is grounded on reality.  This reality, in many ways, is far from the perfect, idealized version that people create when they are romantically in love.  Where romantic love focuses on the perceived perfections and strengths of the beloved, true love instead takes a look at both the strengths and the flaws, accepting and tolerating both equally.

Unlike romantic love, true love doesn't dwell on the feeling of excitement and adventure that is common in people who are newly in love.  True love is a much calmer experience because it is more accepting and tolerant of imperfect character traits, behavior, habits and physical appearance.  Where romantic love only sees the beautiful thick hair and the smooth skin, true love takes in the fact that the beloved may have calluses, a lisp or even a crooked nose.

Which one is better?  Either one can be incredibly rewarding as an experience because both allow us to know love in its various forms.