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The charm of romance is eternal.

— Karmayogi

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Level 5 - Affection

Affection is emotional enjoyment of the other person. Affection emanates from the heart. Energy expressing in our emotional center generates intense feelings of affection. At the physical level there is an urge to hold, grasp, and possess the other person in order to derive security, comfort or pleasure from the interaction. At the emotional level there is an urge to give oneself to the other person in order to please and make the other person happy. When affection is very physical, it can be possessive and demanding. True emotional affection for another person is incapable of shouting, anger or meanness of any kind. It is only the vital ego that wants to dominate which can try to hurt the other person. The higher and purer the affection, the less the intensity of the sexual urge. At the same time physical intimacy becomes far sweeter and uplifting because the intensity comes from the pure enjoyment of one’s affection for the other person.

Frank & Mary

In Dr. Thorne, Anthony Trollope portrays the love story of Frank Gresham and Mary Thorne. Frank is the descendant of a long line of Greshams, the richest landowners in their county who had served as its representative in Parliament for many generations. His mother came from a titled and far wealthier aristocratic family. Her social and material demands were so great that Frank’s father was forced to borrow heavily on the family property and eventually to sell a large part of the estate to a self-made Sir Roger Scatherd, a millionaire businessman. Gresham’s debts to Sir Roger continued to mount, jeopardizing what remained of Frank’s inheritance. Mary Thorne was the illegitimate, adopted niece of Dr. Thorne, the Greshams’ family physician. Both Frank and Mary believed she was actually the doctor’s daughter, though Frank’s parents knew and kept the secret during years when the children grew up together as playmates. When Frank came of age he announced his intention of marrying beautiful Mary. His mother vigorously protested and sent Frank away, arguing that Frank must marry a wealthy woman in order to restore the family’s financial fortunes. In spite of her ardent love for Frank, Mary did all she could to discourage Frank from displeasing his parents. But Frank remained true and adamant in his love for her, even when he was informed that she was illegitimate as well as penniless. Frustrating all his mother’s attempts to prevent it, Frank finally declared his intention of marrying Mary. Then it was revealed by Dr. Thorne that Mary was actually the niece and heir to the deceased Roger Scatherd’s enormous fortune, which meant that she already held legal title to more than half of the Gresham property. Frank’s unwillingness to renounce his love for Mary in spite of intense social pressure and the prospect of ruin, and Mary’s unwillingness to accept his love for fear of the harm and disgrace it might bring on him and his family, reflect the depth of affection with which they loved one another. The sincerity of their feelings enabled each of them to willingly sacrifice for the good of the other. More significantly, it had the strength to fully restore Frank’s family heritage and Mary’s social legitimacy. Love has that power over life.

Inman & Ada (Cold Mountain)

When it gives rise to physical or vital attraction, love at first sight may last only as long as the partners are in physical or social contact. But when it touches the deeper emotions of the heart, even a few moments together can give birth to an affection that outlives years of separation and silence. It forms an emotional bridge of connectivity that can enable the lovers to overcome incredible obstacles to reunite. In Cold Mountain, a beautiful city-bred preacher’s daughter named Ada Monroe meets a shy, handsome woodworker named Inman in a secluded rural part of North Carolina at the outbreak of the Civil War. Though they exchange only a few formal words, their hearts respond to one another. When Inman enlists to fight for the South, they exchange photographs and a single parting kiss. After the death of her father, Ada finds herself helpless, defenseless and pursued by a local bully named Teague. Daily she voices a heart-felt prayer for Inman to return. The sins he has committed in battle make Inman feel unworthy of her love. Only partly recovered from a serious wound received in battle, he risks death for desertion and travels the long dangerous road back to Cold Mountain. At one point he is given shelter by a beautiful young woman with child, who offers herself to him. In spite of feeling a strong physical attraction for her, his longing for Ada prevents him from responding to her invitation. Inman eventually meets Ada and after she conceives with a child, he then kills Teague before being mortally wounded himself. His love was powerful enough to find her and protect her and leave her with a son to raise. The strength of their affection could achieve this much despite the extreme social turmoil and destruction of war.

Immortal Infatuation (Romeo and Juliet)

We find a similar instance of intense emotional love in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Here too, the young lovers were separated by powerful social barriers because they came from traditionally warring families. Here too, the lovers cared only for one another and threw aside the objections of family and society. Why then did their love end in the tragedy rather than blissful fulfillment? In this case, the lovers were extremely young, very impulsive and desperately impatient. Unlike Frank and Mary, they lacked the patience and maturity to wait for circumstances to improve. Patience requires strength. Their love had intensity but no strength to wait and persevere. Impulsiveness and impatience can never serve as the basis for accomplishment in life or romance. True romance is forgetful of self. It requires sacrifice not wild, reckless or desperate demands. It is willing to give with no thought of return and regards only the happiness and fulfillment of the beloved.

Lancelot & Guinevere (First Knight)

Lady Guinevere’s escort is attacked by a powerful warlord while she is en route to Camelot to marry the noble King Arthur. Lancelot, a wandering vagabond swordsman, rescues her from the attackers. He is instantly attracted by Guinevere’s majestic beauty and noble character. She feels the powerful lure of his physical manliness and courage, but resists his sexual advances. Lancelot arrives in Camelot just in time for her wedding with Arthur. Shortly afterwards she is kidnapped by the same warlord, who wants to gain her kingdom by blackmail. Again Lancelot single-handedly saves her. His confidence, courage and willingness for self-sacrifice move her deeply and she has to struggle not to give in to the powerful emotions that draws them to one another.

Knighted for his heroic service to the crown, Lancelot remains in Camelot, secretly nurturing an all-consuming passion for the queen. Eventually he comes to accept the ideals that Arthur stands for and decides out of respect for the King and Queen to leave Camelot forever. His acceptance of noble ideals elevates him even further in her emotions. Heartbroken to be losing him forever without ever having felt the joy of his love, she offers one kiss. Arthur discovers them embracing and is furious at their treasonous betrayal. In defense she explains that her love for both men is real and true, but different. She loves and worships Arthur with her all her heart’s purity and mind’s admiration. At the same time she feels powerfully drawn toward by a physical and vital passion elevated and ennobled by a deep emotional bond of affection and self-giving. The contrast between the two relationships brings out both the most positive aspects and two very different forms of romance.

Jerry & Dorothy (Jerry Maguire)

This movie depicts the unlikely romance between a high flying, high energy sports agent and a shy, homely accountant. After Jerry writes a memo proposing that his agency he works for adopt higher ethical standards in serving their clientele, Jerry is summarily dismissed from his lucrative job. Inspired by the courage and values espoused in his memo, Dorothy is the only employee at the firm willing to stand up for principles and follow Jerry’s lead. So she quits her job and together they establish a separate company, but manage to retain only one of Jerry’s former clients. With no income and no prospects, they struggle to make ends meet. When Jerry’s glamorous girlfriend also deserts him, he is left failed and friendless. Through it all, Dorothy remains loyal and offers unstinting support. Jerry develops a fondness for Dorothy’s son from a previous marriage, has a one-night affair with Dorothy, and then overhears her telling her sister how much she loves him. Finally Dorothy senses that Jerry is only maintaining their relationship out of sense of appreciation for the support she has offered him, so she announces that she is leaving to take a job in another city. Jerry impulsively proposes to her on the spur of the moment and they marry. Again after marriage, she feels that she and her son have trapped Jerry into a relationship that does not suit him and she decides to withdraw. After months of total failure in his work, Jerry finally has a major breakthrough when his sole client achieves superstar status and signs a huge multi-year contract. Finally vindicated in the decisions he has taken, Jerry discovers that without Dorothy his success brings him no sense of fulfillment, so he rushes back to reunite with her.

Through their relationship Jerry moves from the charms of sexual and vital attraction to discover the greater richness and sweetness of lasting affection. As in the case of Mae Braddock in Cinderella Man, Dorothy’s intense goodwill and affection are a powerful support for her lover’s high achievement.

Edward & Elinor (Sense & Sensibility)

Elinor, Marianne and Margaret are daughters of Mr. Dashwood who died leaving his wife and daughters with very little means to support themselves. Elinor develops an affection for Mr. Edward Ferrars, her sister-in-law's wealthy brother, and her feelings appear to be reciprocated. Edward has been engaged for many years to Lucy Steele, whom he met in his youthful days but does not love anymore. He wants to tell Elinor about it, but he does not find a suitable opportunity. Later Elinor hears about it from Lucy herself and is heartbroken. Though Elinor and Edward harbor strong feelings of love for one another, he feels bound by his commitment to Ms. Steele. Elinor feels resigned to accept that commitment and remain an aging spinster. Then suddenly Edward receives a letter from Lucy informing him that she has fallen in love with his brother, Robert, and they have married. Edward goes to Elinor to express his true feelings and they are reunited happily in the end.

The story vividly represents the power of pure emotions, unmixed by possessiveness, impulsive attachment, egoism or assertiveness. Elinor controls and refrains from expressing her deep affection for Edward until the power of her love removes all obstacles and brings her love to her. Her love is sharply contrast to the flighty impulsive physicality of her sister Marianne, described in Level 2.

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Level 4 - Vital Attraction

Relationship usually begins when one is happy spending time with another, and the attraction has the seal of social approval. He may be attracted to her because of her pleasant manners and behavior. She may be attractive to him because he is considered acceptable or desirable by her friends and family. She takes a personal interest in him which makes him feel good about himself. He may be drawn to her because she is more intense, energetic, more extroverted or having some other attribute that is complementary to his own.


Jane & Bingley (Pride and Prejudice)

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley are vitally attracted to each other. Jane is a beautiful, sweet, refined young woman. Bingley is a pleasant and happy young man. They are mutually attracted to one another by their good looks and pleasing manners. They feel lost to the world while in each other’s company. His pleasing personality and considerable wealth make him appear most eligible in the eyes of Jane’s family. Jane’s perfect demeanor wins approval from Bingley’s sisters. George Wickham, a dashing officer who charms the heart of every other female in the area has no effect on Jane. Even a year’s separation coupled with the attractions of London cannot sway Bingley’s emotions to forget her. When they come back together, she accepts him happily, almost without unquestioning his long absence. Everyone around them is struck by their quiet, contented joy and confident that their life together will be always smooth and sweet.

A relationship at this level is based on social acceptance or vital attraction to the energies of the other person. Attraction is more social or psychological than physical, though the physical element may still be prominent. We are attracted to partners who are popular or please us. If the attraction is positive and unselfish, the relationship is pleasant and enjoyable, as in the case of Jane and Bingley, who are both mild, well-mannered, likeable and always anxious to please each other. In some cases, one partner may desire to dominate the relationship or both partners may lack the self-discipline and good behavior required to sustain positive relationships. When egoism and selfishness become predominant, the initial vital attraction can degenerate into disappointment, frustration, jealousy, anger and conflict.

Growing in Love (When Harry met Sally)

When Harry met Sally depicts the psychological journey of a man and woman from casual acquaintance and sexual attraction to friendship and emotional intimacy. Harry meets Sally when they share a car ride to New York City upon graduation from the University of Chicago. A few minutes into the trip, the conversation between them becomes heatedly contentious. Harry is strongly attracted to Sally physically. Sally is repulsed by his aggressive manners and obvious sexual intentions. Over the next 13 years they meet repeatedly, then drift apart and meet again. Each passes through many failed relationships. Harry gets married and divorced. Eventually they develop a close, platonic friendship and find that they understand, like and enjoy each other’s company more than any other relationships they have been in. Finally it dawns on them that life together is far happier and more fulfilling than their other romantic pursuits and an intense intimacy grows between them.

Ben and Katie (The Story of Us)

This movie depicts a turbulent period in the relationship between Katie and Ben Jordan, fifteen years after their marriage, when they have two lovely children and a comfortable home in suburbia. He is a carefree, happy extroverted writer; she a well-organized perfectionist who takes life seriously and can only let go in his company. Initially they were attracted to one another because they were so very different. They have arrived at a point where the very attributes that originally gave liveliness and joy to the relationship have become a source of friction, tension and frequent quarrels. They have come to resent the inherited characteristics that each brings from their own family and background. Acceptance of difference has given place to impatience and intolerance. The strong physical and vital attraction that originally made them feel so strongly for one another has gradually worn thin. Although still socially popular with friends, the initial novelty of their individual differences has lost its charm and with it their patience and tolerance for one another. So they decide to separate and divorce. While carrying out that decision they discover a deeper layer of emotional attachment which they cherish and are unwilling to give up. They recognize that their differences represent strengths by which they complement and complete one another. They realize that in the course of living their lives they had forgotten that their relationship and their children are more important than anything else. Ultimately familiarity, friendship, trust and love of their children prevail and they decide to remain together.

The Robarts (Framely Parsonage)

Time and again we find in life and literature that the positive bonds of human relationship possess a commanding power over life. Mark Robarts is an English clergyman living a comfortable and prosperous life on a £900 income with his affectionate wife Fanny and two small children. They resided at Framley Parsonage under the patronage of the elderly Lady Lufton and her son Lord Lufton, who was a longtime close friend of Mr. Robarts. Having attained financial security, a loving family and social respectability at an early age, Mark aspired to climb higher and was lured by the glittering status of the English aristocracy. Though personally charming and well-educated, Mark had led a sheltered life and was ignorant of the ways of the world. As a result, he was easily duped by an aristocratic MP, Nathaniel Sowerby, who persuaded him to sign counter-guarantee on several promissory notes executed by Sowerby on the assurance that he would never be called upon to pay anything against the note. Mark eventually realizes he has been swindled and decides to accept public humiliation rather than borrowing or asking for assistance from his wealthy benefactors.

Mark is vain and foolish, but he is a responsible husband who is faithful and deeply attached to his wife and children. He now finds himself confronted with the onerous task of telling his faithful wife about his catastrophic folly and the public humiliation and severe financial straits to which the entire family would now be subjected. Very rarely in life or literature do we meet a female character like Fanny Robarts. Though a strong English woman and formed individual in her own right, in one respect Fanny resembled far more closely the fading ideal of Indian womanhood. For she considered it her highest duty and greatest privilege to stand by her husband through any ordeal, no matter how severe the trials or how much it may be of his own making. Rather than sit quietly judging him while he confessed his sins to her, she rushed over to stand by his side and demanded the right to share fully the burden that had fallen on his shoulders. Though it did not change the material consequences of his position one iota, Mark immediately felt the burden lifted from his soul by the sympathetic support of a loyal and affectionate wife. Mark and Fanny are saved from infamy and elevated by life at the very next moment when Lufton announces his determination to marry Mark’s sister Lucy. In a trice, the creditors were banished and the Robarts rose through a marriage alliance with the most distinguished family in the county.

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Level 3 - Compatibility

Remember your grandparents’ routine? They woke up, without an alarm, at the same time everyday, and went about their day in a methodical fashion. Every tiny act had its time and place. They knew each other’s routine perfectly, and could anticipate the other’s behavior. Whatever it was one wanted, be it a cup of coffee, a towel, reading glasses or slippers, the other would have it ready before it was asked for. There may not have been spectacular romance, they may have had their tiffs, but even that seemed part of the day‘s script. Overall, it was a picture of security, stability, and compatibility.

Charlotte & Collins (Pride and Prejudice) 

Charlotte Lucas and William Collins have such a stable relationship. Already well past the age when most young woman in her day wed, Charlotte seeks marriage for the financial and social security it provides. She has no thought or hope of finding romantic love. In Collins, she sees a respectable future for herself, and she is satisfied. Having been educated at Oxford and been appointed to a lucrative position as clergyman at a young age, Collins seeks marriage as a means to round out the perfection of his social attainments. Charlotte is sensible and practical. Collins is foolish and lost in love of himself. But the two of them seek marriage for similar or complementary reasons that make them wholly compatible with one another. They each accept the other as they are. They recognize the good in one another, and do not waste their time and energy looking for flaws. Their lives are well-organized and their energies are applied constructively, resulting in a stable, harmonious relationship. Charlotte tends to the house and poultry. Collins is engaged with church activities, and spends his spare time in the garden. They are polite and formal with each other as when they socialize with neighbors. They both consider themselves fortunately and happily married. In Collins words, “We seem to have been designed for each other.”

Collins and Charlotte are an example of a positive relationship at this level, because they do not ask for or expect more and they both maintain the good manners and self-discipline needed for relationships to remain positive. Positive relationships at this level are quite easy to recognize. They are stable, consistent and permanent because they are organized on a regular basis around recurring activities such as managing a household or raising a family. They may lack the passion of the previous level but they also lack the turbulence and inconsistency. When the partners are positively related in other respects, they may feel a sense of familiarity, satisfaction and physical harmony. When the partners are in conflict or fail to be well-mannered and considerate of one another, relationships at this level can become flat, dull, boring and empty, but the routine of organized family life may still hold it together.

The Bennets (Pride and Prejudice)

In these egalitarian times, we frown on references to differences in class and culture, but class and culture can be critical determinants of successful relationship. The problems of incompatibility arising from class differences are powerfully brought out in the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. He is a well-educated, cultured, intelligent country gentleman with a refined mind, excellent manners and aristocratic breeding. His wife, the daughter of a middle class family, is a beautiful, energetic, empty-headed woman with a loud voice, coarse manners and impulsive behavior that often borders on vulgarity.

The two rarely see eye to eye on any subject. They express no affection for one another . She often complains to her husband, but rarely about him. In return he teases and her mocks gently but without meanness. Between them, they run a large, cheerful and smoothly functioning family and estate. They each carry out their responsibilities in an organized manner. Mrs. Bennet manages the household efficiently. She plans her dinners meticulously according to the importance of the guests. She pays attention to the last detail in her daughters’ dresses. She knows all about every eligible bachelor in the neighborhood. Her mission is to get her daughters married, and she prepares for that accomplishment much like a military general waging a major campaign.

Mr. Bennet leaves the household to his wife, takes charge of the estate and the family’s finances. He manages the farm, keeps his family from spending beyond their income, and remains the quiet figurehead of the family. He does not try to dominate his wife. She does not fight with her husband. Neither shout, dispute, criticize or hurt the other. They are not selfish, mean or cruel. They maintain a polite, well-mannered relationship both in pubic and at home. So even in the absence of real affection, the family is positive, harmonious and successful. Though very different, they share common goals and live peacefully and compatibly together.

The Greshams

In Dr. Thorne, Anthony Trollope depicts a successful but unfulfilling example of level 3 relationship. Squire Gresham is a large rural landowner from a distinguished family. At a young age he marries the Lady Arabella, who hails from a titled and far wealthier aristocratic family. The squire enters Parliament as an MP representing his region, as his forefathers did for generations before him. Accustomed to living extravagantly, Lady Arabella and her daughters make enormous financial demands on his estate. Gresham’s problems are aggravated when he changes political party at the instance of his wife’s family and then loses two costly election campaigns while unsuccessfully trying to regain his seat in Parliament. Having borrowed heavily on the family property, he is eventually forced to sell a substantial portion of the estate. Still the debts continue to mount.

The relationship between the squire and his wife is polite and well-mannered on the surface, but marred by an undercurrent of complaint, criticism, and recrimination. Seemingly oblivious of the misfortune that she and her family have brought to her husband by her extravagant behavior, Arabella faults him and constantly decries the unreasonable restraints on her life style. He silently blames her for her arrogance and blind selfishness. The daughters sympathize with their mother, the only son Frank with his father. Through the years the squire becomes increasingly lonely and depressed by his failure to sustain the family property. Though they maintain civil behavior in public and conduct household affairs without open dispute, their relationship has long since lost any sense of personal regard or affection toward one another. When they were married, the union was thought to be respectable and socially advantageous to both families. But in the absence of emotional intimacy, the social differences between them wore down their patience and goodwill, leaving only a shell of formal and functional relationship.

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Level 2 - Physical Attraction

Most people are attracted to people who other people find most attractive and desirable, like the young woman who decided to abandon her interest in a boy she really liked because she knew her friends would never approve of the way he dresses. This is what exactly Lydia did. She is a lively and energetic girl, bold, aggressive and always smiling, exactly what you might expect of a precocious teenager experiencing the first thrill of adult social life and popularity. She wears the most fashionable dresses, has many friends and frequent invitations to parties and dances. She thinks about nothing but flirting, has no goals or responsibilities, no manners other than her liveliness and no formed values or character. She is self-centered, selfish and foolish.


Lydia & Wickham (Pride & Prejudice)

 

 

 

When Elizabeth’s youngest sister Lydia fell in love – if we can call it love – she was attracted to George Wickham, a tall, slim and dashing young military officer with a winning smile and charming manners, without knowing anything of his background, family, character, intentions or personal reputation as a gambler, womanizer and scoundrel. Lydia valued him for his handsome appearance and popularity with his fellow officers and with other women. He was the heart throb of all the girls whereever he went. He deceived people with his good looks and excellent manners. He was deeply in debt and seeking a rich bride to solve his financial problems. As soon as Lydia’s eyes fell on him she singled him out as an object to be attained at any cost. At a time when a woman’s reputation and marriagability depended on her chastity, she agreed to run away with him based on a vague promise of marriage in the future. For Wickham the only motive was a weekend fling that he would forget as soon as a more interesting and eligible partner came his way. Yet he was ultimately pressurized into marrying her in order to escape from public disgrace and financial ruin.

It is not surprising that a relationship founded on superficial interests, physical appearance and sexual attraction should prove a poor basis for lasting harmony and affection. Yet how often this is the case. Vibrant youthful energy imparts an enchanting flush of charm and beauty to many young people which quickly gives place to dull and unappealing plainness a few years later. The excitement, enthusiasm and adventurousness of carefree youth unburdened by responsibilities is easily mistaken for more positive, lasting endowments of personality. But the novelty of infatuation, especially physical allurement, is rarely lasting. At this level people value other people almost as if they are precious objects to be obtained and possessed. Under the pressures of work and family responsibilities, youthful enthusiasm readily gives way to frustration, friction, quarrels, anger, distrust, jealousy, suspicion and sometimes violence. If at all the relationship survives, it survives only on intensity without a stable or organized foundation for lasting success.

Physical attraction can be very intense, especially during the early stages of relationship, so intense that it is often mistaken for real love that will last forever. But over time the novelty of the experience tends to wear off. Sexual attraction by itself is not a sufficient basis for long term positive relationships. Physical attraction may form a natural positive part of any relationship, but relationships based primarily on physical attraction will be fulfilling only to those in whom the satisfaction of their sensations is the primary source of interest and enjoyment in life. Those who value family, career accomplishment, emotional commitment, education and higher ideals or values usually discover physical sensations an inadequate basis for lasting relationship. Lydia got what she aspired for and was the envy of her friends. But at what gain and what cost? Wickham’s attraction for her lasted only weeks and hers for him a few months. After that they each spent their lives searching for satisfaction outside their relationship.

Scarlett & Rhett (Gone with the Wind)

The turbulent relationship between Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara depicts the problems inherent in a relationship based primarily on physical attraction. Scarlett is a narcissistic plantation belle, the daughter of a French aristocratic mother and an Irish peasant immigrant who managed to acquire a large cotton plantation and a lovely cultured wife. Scarlett inherited her mother’s beauty and manners and her father’s raw energy and ambition. Beneath her polished exterior, she is a dynamo of unruly impulses. Although her beauty and flirtatious behavior have enslaved almost every young man in the region, Scarlett longs to marry Ashley Wilkes, the educated son of a distinguished Southern family. Heartbroken when Ashley marries his cousin Melanie instead, Scarlett marries Melanie’s brother just to spite Ashley. When her husband is killed in the war, she marries a store owner for his money, but never abandons her hope of finally winning Ashley for herself.

Scarlett’s only real relationship is with Rhett Butler, the dashing young blockade runner who was disowned by his family and expelled from Charleston for dishonorable behavior. Rhett sees right through Scarlett’s façade of ladylike elegance and knows the ruthless, unscrupulous, wildcat which lies behind her pretty face. Attracted by her energy, strength, courage and beauty, he pursues her first to become his mistress and later his wife. Scarlett’s heart has always been after Ashley. She admires Rhett’s brute strength, his courage to defy society, his tall handsome appearance and his considerable wealth, but she never feels for him anything like true affection. Their turbulent and unfulfilling marriage is marred by constant quarrels. After the death of their young daughter, Rhett finally leaves her. Only then does she realize how much she needs and wants him. Their failed partnership founded on sexual energy, physical strength, the desire to control and dominate shows the inherent instability and potential destructiveness of negative relationship at this level.

Avery’s response to adversity (Jerry Maguire)

Relationships based on physical and sexual attraction often end in anger, violent upheaval and bitterness. Jerry Maguire is a high flying sports agent engaged to a very attractive, sexy hard driving business woman, Avery Bishop. When in a moment of idealism Jerry speaks out against the hypocritical policies of his firm and loses his job, he comes to Avery looking for understanding and support. Instead, she bluntly tells him his act was stupid and foolish and refuses to offer a drop of sympathy. Avery’s response was not just based on her own nasty personality. It exposed the fact that their relationship was based on only one thing – pleasure. Jerry was a good looking object to possess and enjoy. When the fun ended, she expressed her scorn. As soon as the pleasure ended, the relationship ended as well. When Jerry responded to her caustic abuse by telling her the relationship was over, she was hurt and angry, not because she would miss him, but because to be jilted was an insult to her ego. To her relationship is only a way to take. It has nothing to do with giving.

Woman Hunter

The guy who tried to hire a consultant to help him sleep with a woman he was attracted to in Hitch may have succeeded in his immediate conquest but did not fare any better in relationships than Wickham.

 

Rob & Laura (High Fidelity)

Progress upward from level 2 begins with the realization that in order to be fulfilling, human relationship must be based on something more than physical satisfaction. High Fidelity depicts a man who has explored all the possibilities of level 2 relationships and discovered them to be unstable, unsatisfactory and empty. His lifetime pursuit of the perfect physical relationship is an example of how the high ideal of romance is perverted into a shallow, selfish fantasy – a good example of everything that real romance is not.

Rob’s frank introspection leads him to recognize the emptiness of his sexual pursuits and to yearn for a more lasting, meaningful and fulfilling relationship with Laura.

Marianne & Willoughby (Sense & Sensibility)

Mr. Dashwood dies leaving his wife and three daughters with no home and little means to support themselves. His second daughter, Marianne, is excitable, passionate, romantic and driven by intense emotions. When she is caught in a storm with an injured leg, she is rescued by the dashing young Mr. Willoughby who happened to be passing by and carries her safely home. Marianne is charmed and swept off her feet by his physical appearance and gallant manners. Willoughby courts her and leads her to believe he is deeply in love.

She is overcome by intense passion for the man, which she expresses quite openly. After initial encouragement, Willoughby disappears from her life and refuses to answer her letters. She is heartbroken. She later learns that when his aunt threatened to disinherit him, he agreed to marry a wealthy heiress, Ms. Grey. She also discovers that he has ruined the reputation of a young woman by refusing to acknowledge their illegitimate child as his own.

Marianne experiences all the grief of a sensual attraction based on nothing more substantial than physical appearance and external behavior. She discovers that a lover's character, capacity for real affection and personal values are a far truer and more lasting basis for successful relationship than external appearances.

Alex & Claire (The Mirror has two faces)

Claire is the beautiful and vain younger daughter of a vain and aging mother who always considered physical beauty her greatest asset and is now plagued by the scars of middle age. Like her mother, Claire values her beauty above all else and has used it to snare handsome, gallant Alex into a marriage. Once having caught him and won his admiration, Claire can derive no further gratification for her vanity from the marriage, so she immediately starts pursuing younger men to reinforce her sense of being attractive. Mistaking physical attraction for love, the more affection Alex expresses, the less satisfied Claire becomes. She needs the excitement of fresh conquests to prove her worth. Finally she leaves Alex for someone else, who surely will not be the last in a series of failed relationships based on physical attraction.

David Larrabee(Sabrina)

The contrast between physical attraction and emotional love is beautifully portrayed in the love affair of two brothers with the chaffeur’s daughter. David is the handsome, playboy younger son of the fabulously wealthy Larrabee family of Long Island, owners of a multi-billion dollar business empire established by David’s father and expanded by his brother Linus and his mother. With great good looks, money to burn and all the leisure time in the world, David gallivants through New England’s high society courting, dating and sleeping with every attractive young debutante within his reach, with a long line waiting in the wings to become his next fling. After years of free-wheeling, David finally meets a beautiful physician, Elizabeth Tyson, who it the first woman he feels more than a passing physical attraction for. He has no idea that she is also an heiress, daughter of the man who is negotiating a multi-billion dollar merger with Linus. Finally on her urging, he proposes marriage and their engagement is announced. A few days later, the Larrabee chaffeur’s daughter, Sabrina, returns from Paris a full grown, gorgeous woman. A year abroad has not only helped Sabrina blossom, but also helped her outgrow the childhood crush she felt for David. But what she has outgrown, David suddenly acquires. Unable even to recognize her as the clumsy teenager who climbed trees on the Larrabee estate, David feels powerfully attracted to her and is ready to call off his engagement with Elizabeth so he can pursue Sabrina, even if it means scotching the Tyson deal for his family. At the last moment, David discovers that his workaholic, level-headed brother Linus is actually so much in love with Sabrina that he too is ready to scotch the deal in order to see Sabrina happy. After trying so hard to keep David and Sabrina apart, now Linus wants to send David to Paris to be with her. Although he finds her ravishingly attractive, David is able to see that Linus is more deeply and truly in love with Sabrina than he could ever be. In a rare moment of self-awareness and sincerity, he dispatches Linus to Paris, agrees to marry Elizabeth and takes over negotiations on the merger.

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Level 1 - Attachment

What is the colour of your living room curtains? Chances are, you need to check. This is true for a number of things in our lives. We often do not notice them simply because they are always there, and we believe they will always be. Some relationships are like that. Partners do feel the natural urge to be physically close to each other, they may very much depend on each other and interact with one another. But they rarely take special note of one another. They take each other for granted. Their relationship may be stable, secure, even comfortable. There is no problem that threatens its survival. But the relationship just IS. It survives without going anywhere. There is only enough life to keep it going, not enough to give it freshness or intensity.

In Pride & Prejudice, Louisa has married a fashionable gentleman named Hurst. Inheriting substantial wealth from her father, she has no concerns for money. But she does need to do something, to "be" someone. To her, marriage is a desirable state, and about as important as conversation or elegant attire. She has no great values, principles, opinions, emotions or goals. She concurs with everything her younger sister Caroline says, she has no real thoughts of her own. She cares only for gossiping, feeling socially superior and making fun of people they mix with socially. Her husband, Mr.Hurst, cares only for food, drink, cards and entertainment. He married Louisa for her money and is satisfied living off his brother-in-law's hospitality. He attends parties mostly just to eat and drink, not even to meet people and mix. He has no capacity for thought or conversation. He is unable to comprehend other people's interest in books, ideas or anything more serious than passing amusements. The two of them are always seen together. They live together, travel together and attend parties. They have no arguments, no differences of opinion, and no serious problems. Nor is there any particular source of cheerfulness or joy. Activity, travel and movement from one place to another are the only source of stimulation. When separated, Louisa and her husband do not miss each other. They simply carry on. When together there is no particular expression of affection between them. They do not talk to each other, except to discuss gossip, rumors, facts and functional necessities. There is no evidence that they even think about or care for one another. If Louisa's sister Caroline wants to play the piano when Mr.Hurst is asleep, Louisa makes no objection to waking him up. We never see them worried, excited, anxious or concerned. Gossiping about other people is their main source of amusement. They have no ideals or goals that inspire them. Mr.Hurst is satisfied with having married a wealthy, attractive woman. Louisa is satisfied with a fashionable gentleman for a husband.

This is a description of a positive example of Physical Attachment. In this relationship, there are no extremes. The relationship provides a sense of belonging, a comfort. The partners consider each other as extensions of themselves and rarely consider that their needs and preferences may be different. They take each other for granted. Physical attachment fosters dependence and limits individual freedom. When such a relationship is positive, we find two individuals in a stable, comfortable, and lifeless relationship. When it is negative, one partner may powerfully dominate and the other weakly submit to unreasonable authority or a tyranny of selfishness. Quarrels, meanness and violence may be commonplace. Or neither partner exhibits any particular energy toward or over the other. Physically their home may lack a clean, neat orderly, well-maintained appearance, because cleanliness and orderliness require a constant exertion of energy. Obligations may be perpetually delayed. Yet still the partners depend on one another and live in some kind of symbiotic relationship. In one noted example of a couple living in a low class neighborhood, for several decades a man and his wife quarreled incessantly every night after the time the man returned from work. One day the man fell suddenly ill and died a few days later. The very next day, his wife died too. She literally could not live for a day without her abusive partner who she could not live with harmoniously for a day. That is physical attachment when it is negative.

Partners at this level can energize their relationship by elevating the cleanliness and orderliness of their living environment, carrying out tasks on time, taking genuine interest in one another, helping each other out or adopting some shared goals that are positive and constructive, e.g. improving their home, educating and giving personal attention to children, and working together harmoniously to achieve them. Even if one partner takes genuine interest in making the other partner's life more pleasant and enjoyable, the relationship will acquire greater energy, liveliness and meaning.

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Unfailing Strategies for Love & Romance

This article provides practical strategies for ascending the scale of romance in your relationship. If you have not already done so, please begin by reading the article Stairway to Romance and studying the Scale of Romance to identify the current level of your relationship.

Choose your goal

What you achieve depends entirely on what you aspire for, the extent of your enthusiasm and determination, and the effort you are willing to make to achieve it. The higher your aspiration, the greater your enthusiasm, the stronger your determination and the more serious your effort, the greater the goal you can achieve and the faster you can achieve it. Romance is what you discover within yourself. Your partner is a field for its expression. If both partners awaken to the spirit of romance, the intensity and fulfillment will be complete, but your attainment essentially depends on your decision, your attitude and your actions, not on those of a second person. Those who want to receive romance from others never find it or retain it. Those who seek romance for its own sake and give themselves to it can always discover it.

The first step is to formulate a relationship goal you enthusiastically aspire and are willing to seriously to attain. Your goal may bring back the intensity of romance which you have once felt or to raise the entire relationship to a higher level or to eliminate a disturbing element. It is important to ensure that the goal you choose is based on genuine goodwill for your partner and not a desire to change or dominate them. These methods only work when your attitude and intention toward the other is entirely positive.

If your present relationship suffers from any of the common negatives - quarrels, anger, tension, etc. - your next step should be to raise the level of harmony by removing those negatives from the relationship before you try to enhance affection, love and romance. Follow these steps to eliminate problems and increase harmony:

  1. Assess your relationship to determine where it is on the Scale of Harmony.
  2. Raise the level harmony in your relationship by applying the Strategies to Increase Harmony in Your Relationship.
  3. If you have any serious relationship problem, consult the IRES expert system to obtain personalized advice to resolve it.
  4. Once problems have been addressed, you are ready to rise up the scale of romance. See Unfailing Strategies for Love & Romance.

Unfailing Strategies to Improve any Relationship

Some of the strategies listed below are simple and obvious, but most are rarely applied consistently or with the right motive and attitude. Others are more profound and powerful methods that will require thoughtfulness, study and repeated effort for you to master. The quality of your attitude and motive determine the result. If practiced with harmony, goodwill, joyous expansiveness and self-giving, marvelous results are guaranteed. Practice them with the intention of bringing joy to your partner.

1. Take responsibility

Many people believe that their relationship would be vastly improved if only their partner would listen to reason, do what they say, eliminate the behaviors they find objectionable and be as sincere to the relationship as they are. The first rule for progress in human relationships may be the hardest for many to accept, but it is the single most important principle for rising in the scale of romance. It states that we have the power to improve our relationship only when we realize that we and we alone are responsible for making it better. This rule seems to contradict that obvious truth that in any relationship both parties contribute to the problems that arise between partners and to the solution to those problems. This principle is based on a profound truth of life. We acquire power of mastery in our lives only when we realize that we are the determinant of our own lives and not any circumstance or other person. Taking responsibility means to stop blaming your partner, family, friends, fate or misfortune for the difficulties you encounter in the relationship. As you apply the other principles listed below, you will come to understand the true wisdom of this approach and the real effective solution to any problems you encounter.

2. Give attention

The early stages of relationship are often characterized by sensations of novelty, suspense, anticipation and insecurity which generate an energy and excitement that can be mistaken for real affection. Once the feelings of newness subside, the intensity subsides. But even affectionate relationships can become flat over time when the partners' attention is absorbed by the demands of work, family, household and other routine activities. But this does not mean that the essential basis for romance has disappeared or cannot be revived. Any flat routine moment or event can be energized and be converted into a live or romantic moment by giving genuine personal attention to one's partner. Attention energized. Personal attention that focuses on what your partner thinks, feels and aspires can release deeper emotions and make any moment fresh. Even the most mundane work or activity can be made an occasion for attention when the importance is shifted from the activity to the person. Even just physically observing your partner's movements can have an energizing effect. Also trying to recall an experience your partner has undergone or a story or words your partner related to you months or years earlier is a form of attention.

3. Listen deeply

Encourage your partner to talk about any of his/her interests, listen carefully. Take genuine interest because it interests them. Take joy in what they enjoy for the sake of their enjoyment, not the thing itself. Many people in relationships have a long list of things they would like to tell their partners, but never do so either because they know the other person will not listen, is not interested or will not believe what they say. Deep listening is one of the simplest and most powerful strategies for raising the energy level and improving the quality of any relationship. It is also a powerful means for awakening a positive vibration of romance. Listening is a way of taking interest in another person for the sake of making them happy and discovering more about them. Even when you have known a person for decades and you think your know them inside out, the mind and heart remain a mystery. Allowing that mystery to express itself can release the wonder of romance. To be a good listener you have to know how to encourage your partner to talk about whatever is of interest to them, without interrupting, passing comments or criticism, either expressed or unexpressed, and most certainly without reaction of any kind. Silent listening without a thought in your mind is most powerful.

Listening is means of giving attention to the other person, pleasing them by your genuine response. The person is important. What the person speaks is secondary.

 

Jenna & the Doctor (The Waitress)

Jenna has been living for years as the psychologically abused wife of a dominating, suspicious, possessive, jealous husband, so jealous of her attention that he fears even his own baby will steal it away from him. He controls all the money so she has no freedom of action, demands that she agree with his every thought and sentiment, and forces her into a self-defensive shell of passive conciliation and submission. When she accidentally becomes pregnant, she meets a young married physician who is gentle, kind, respectful and accepting. In pouring out her long pent up grief and resentment to him, she feels a soothing balm of relief and springs of life rising up within. His simple act of listening – without interruption, comment, judgment or interpretation — just simply accepting her for what she is and has been through is enough to make her feel passionately drawn toward him. Later she realizes that what attracted her was the sense of freedom, which his listening helped awaken and liberate, giving her the strength to free herself from tyranny and set forth confidently on a new life. Life responded to the strength and purity of her decision, as it always does. When her externally rough and ornery former employer passed away, he left her a large inheritance and ownership of the restaurant where she worked.

4. Take your partner's point of view

Often we assume that we are right on an issue without even listening to our partner's point of view. No matter how right and justified we may think we are, there is always more than one valid point of view on any issue. Learn to discover the truth in your partner's point of view, no matter how partial or limited it may be. Invite your partner to express his/her viewpoint and genuinely acknowledge the truth in that perspective. Even when you believe your partner is wrong and have facts to support it, try to understand and acknowledge any factor that justifies their viewpoint or actions. When you make this effort genuinely you will find your partner less defensive and more willing to respect your perspective. Three quarters of all relationship problems will disappear if this strategy is seriously followed.

5. Intimacy

Romance is always fresh, spontaneous and personal. It is not generated by stereotyped situations and behaviors. It can be fostered by being more personal, more pleasant, more thoughtful, more intimate, by expressing a deeply felt emotion, by a greater sincerity, or by a spontaneous gesture or caress. In Pride & Prejudice Elizabeth transforms a formal moment into a romantic adventure by confessing to Darcy that she is a selfish person who cannot refrain from expressing her gratitude for all he has done to help her family. Darcy responds with equal intimacy and sincerity when he recalls how she had once rejected him by saying his conduct was ungentlemanly and that she had considered him that last man in the world she could ever marry. The essence of intimacy is the desire to please the other person and the impulse for total self-giving in utter self-forgetfulness that never seeks or expects a return.

6. Expansiveness

Expansiveness is an emotion that arises when excess energy presses to burst forth in expression. It can be generated by an amusing activity, a caress, an exchange of affectionate words, a thoughtful or unexpected gesture of help, appreciation of what your partner appreciates or any out-ward directed movement that opens to the other person in self-giving. Recall the most ecstatic moments in your relationship and try to recreate it in your shared imagination. You will find the atmosphere and sensation of the original experience returning. If you can recollect the emotions you felt at that time - not merely the circumstances, words and actions - the experience can even return in full intensity.

7. Recognize and appreciate your partner's strength

When we first meet a future partner, we may be attracted by some unique qualities seldom found in others. Yet over time we get accustomed even to the qualities we like best and tend to take them granted or focus more on other qualities we wish were present in greater measure. Often we are reminded of the value of our partner's essential qualities only when faced with a crisis that brings them to the fore. Try to enumerate all your partner's positive qualities and be conscious of them. Express your appreciation when those qualities express. Silently appreciating them at other times will create a tenderness in the relationship.

8. Freedom

Romance is a vibration that can only exist in an atmosphere of trust and freedom. That is one reason why it appears at the onset of a relationship and then disappears as commitments are made and responsibilities accepted. Romance is an adventure freely undertaken and an emotion of self-giving freely offered when nothing is assured, nothing guaranteed. Conditions, demands, doubts, suspicions and restrictions chase romance away. Extending the boundaries of trust and freedom you give your partner within the relationship to the maximum extent possible creates the best foundation for romance to flower.

9. Discover the inner Correspondences

The title of Pride & Prejudice reflects a profound truth of human relationship. There is an one to one correspondence between what we are psychologically and what comes to us from life. Darcy's pride and Elizabeth's prejudice are contradictory and opposing characteristics that meet and clash violently in the story. His proud, arrogant conviction in his wealth and social superiority confronts her prejudiced faith in her own superior insight into human nature and her own family background. By the clash between these similar but opposing attributes, both come to recognize their own deficiencies and become more humble, better and happier people. By recognizing the truth of the correspondence between them, they are able to convert mutually opposing traits into complementary characteristics that form the basis for true romance. Discovering the reality of inner-outer correspondences requires some study, thought and effort. If you want to acquire that knowledge, see the examples on this site, read the novel Pride & Prejudice, watch the five-part BBC video version of the novel, and study the articles on http://www.prideandprejudice.info/. If you still have questions, send them to us. Read more on inner-outer correspondences.

10. Discover your Complementarity

The complementarity between two people is the true basis of romance and the source of its endless attraction and perpetual mystery. That complementary can exist at different levels and take several different forms. In some it expresses as a similarity or compatibility of temperament. In others it expresses as very different capacities which augment and supplement one another. Or it may manifest as starkly different and apparently opposite tendencies which pull in different directions or even clash with one another. However it may express, the natural complementarity that initially attracts one person to another at an early stage of acquaintance is always based on a deeper truth and a deeper need, which may be overlooked or even regarded as a source of incompatibility. At the level of complementarity there are no good or better qualities, there are only aspects that combine through the relationship to create a greater whole which represents a greater truth. Value judgments have no place here. Becoming conscious of the deeper layers of complementarity between partners is an unending adventure in self-discovery that can release deeper appreciation of the other person and strengthen the bonds of relationship immensely.


The scale of romance is not a fixed and rigid set of cubbyholes in which relationships can be classified. It is rather an ascending stairway of graded levels defining the possibilities for any relationship to rise. Often we find partners fall to a lower level after the initial phase of infatuation is passed. Sometimes we see movement in the other direction, when couples who initially clashed or came together without strong binding feelings later grew to know and love one another deeply, elevating their partnership from lower to higher levels of romantic relationship. In a few rare instances we find partners traversing the entire scale from the lowest to nearly the highest levels. Learn how Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet traversed the entire scale in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

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