This test names 26 features of romantic love (A-Z),
each with a question to help us examine our own feelings
to see if we have what many regard as "true love".
But before looking at the test,
you may want to read two pages of introduction,
THREE OTHER FORMS OF LOVE
OFTEN CONFUSED WITH ROMANTIC LOVE
1. SEXUAL ATTRACTION
Human sexuality has been active for about 100,000 years,
ever since the human race began to speak.
Before that, presumably, our ancestors' sexual experiences
were more akin to the sexuality of animals.
We respond to other persons sexually
when they trigger our imprinted sex-scripts.
These sex-scripts are stories, scenarios, and fantasies
that were imprinted into our minds at an early age.
We did not choose the nature of our sexual responses.
And that is why sex sometimes
seems to surprise us or even overwhelm us.
Depending on the exact nature of our sexual imprinting,
we may respond to certain bodily types
—or perhaps we respond to certain parts of a body.
We can discover our sexual imprinting by noting what 'turns us on'.
2. MATE-SELECTION & MARRIAGE
People have been selecting each other as mates
since before the beginning of recorded history.
Thus some form of marriage has been around for several thousand years.
If we have been looking for a man or woman with whom to spend our lives,
we have imagined an ideal Mr. Right or Ms. Right.
If someone corresponds with this internal Dream Lover,
we might easily 'fall in love' with him or her.
And we might be sexually attracted to him or her.
But the marriage decision itself is more rational and organized
than either romantic love or sexual response.
We can easily 'fall in love' and 'get turned on'
by men or women whom we would never consider marrying.
Looking for a life-partner involves compatibilities
of personalities and purposes, which do not always correspond
with our romantic and sexual responses.
Marriage is a more practical affair.
We need to know whether the potential spouse
has any bad habits that would make it difficult to live with him or her.
If we have decided that we are going to spend
most of our adult lives married to one man or one woman,
we have built up some clear ideas
about what kind of man or woman that should be.
We see such men or women married to others.
And we hope that we will be able to find such a person for ourselves.
The desire to get married is relatively easy to explain.
It is the result of explicit instruction and example:
We learn how people ought to behave when they grow up:
We are supposed to find a good person to marry.
Marriage is a social phenomenon we can all understand.
But marriage itself sometimes gets confused with
sexual responses and/or 'falling in love'.
In the minds of many of us, the ideal mate would be someone
who 'turns us on' sexually, who would be a good parent,
and about whom we could feel romantic.
How often do all of these features arrive in the same person?
The rational person may select for a spouse the one he or she can live with,
even if their sex-life and their romantic feelings
are not as intense as with other people, some of whom,
of course, would not make good spouses.
Familiarity has been a part of human experience
from the beginning of our race some 7 million years ago,
when we branched off from the other large apes.
Familiarity is a feeling we share with all animals that live in groups.
If we have lived with someone in the same household
for a few years, feelings develop that arise only from that specific relationship.
These are similar to the feelings that develop in loving families.
When the siblings get along well, they like to be together.
They do things together because they enjoy being in one another's company.
Married or living-together couples develop familiarity with each other.
And if their regular interactions make them both happy,
they will want to continue to be together.
Good marriages and good long-lasting relationships
can have a sense of a loving togetherness
not based on the fantasy of romantic love,
not based on the imprinted sex-scripts they had before they met,
not based on their pre-existing ideas of who would be a good spouse.
Being comfortable together is based in reality.
From their past experience of being with each other,
the partners know they like each other.
The fantasy of romance may be gone.
The triggering of their sex-scripts may have been replaced
by a special kind of sexuality that they could not have predicted
before it actually happened between them.
And whatever prior expectations they had for a marriage partner
has been replaced by real information about this particular person.
One important part of familiarity is raising children together.
Two people who have shared the trials and rewards of parenthood
may develop feelings for each other
that will never be repeated in any other relationship of their lives.
AND NOW FOR ROMANCE
Romantic love is the most recent addition
to these other feelings with which it is often confused.
Romantic fantasies were invented about 800 years ago in Medieval Europe.
Since then these delusions have spread over the whole world.
Almost everywhere, people 'fall in love'.
And they regard it as a natural response,
perhaps in part because they confuse it with
(1) sex, (2) mate-selection, and (3) familiarity.
The Romantic Love Test is intended to highlight our romantic feelings,
as defined in the 26 section-headings within the test.
The following questions should help us determine
whether our feelings correspond with
the conventional experience of romantic love.
Answer each question "yes" or "no"—agree or disagree.
Keep a count of your "yes" answers.
The scoring is explained at the end of the test.
A. Romantic love arises from pre-existing yearnings.
3. Did I enter the 'love-market' with strong expectations
of what love was supposed to feel like?
B. Romantic love begins suddenly, creating instant intimacy.
6. Did I 'fall in love' with _____ when I first met him/her?
C. Romantic love is blind.
13. Was I temporarily blinded by an intense flash of love
so I could no longer see who the other person was?
D. Romantic love is often one-sided; it loves from afar.
16. Do I have obsessive day-dreams about a distant love-object?
Do I imagine how it would be for some distant person
to notice me—and 'fall in love' with me?
Have I worked out a whole story of how I might meet
my love-object and begin a long life together?
E. Romantic love watches for small signs of reciprocation.
23. Do I interpret any response
as a sign that he/she really notices and cares about me?
Do I sometimes keep a 'love' going for a long time,
sustained by mere crumbs of hope?
F. Romantic love is often uncertain and fearful of rejection;
it is exclusive, possessive, and jealous.
28. Do I often ask "Do you love me?"
—perhaps phrasing it some other way?
When my beloved tells me that he/she loves me,
do I wonder what that means?
Do I want something more than mere words
to convince me that my beloved really loves me?
G. Romantic love is a fantasy-trip,
a prefabricated emotion projected onto others.
43. When I think of us together,
does it sometimes seem like a fairy tale?
Am I clinging to an illusion, something that was never really there?
H. Romance creates an illusion of oneness.
51. Can I see directly into _____'s soul?
Is communication no longer necessary
because we have become one person?
I. Romantic love depends on imagination.
55. Did I have elaborate love-feelings before I found a target for them?
J. Romance is being in love with love
—attempting to actualize a feeling learned from others.
65. Am I enjoying primarily my own internal feelings of love?
K. Romantic love sometimes depends on manipulation.
67. Do I sometimes wonder what I should do
to make my beloved 'fall in love' with me?
Do I strategize various things I could do or say
to bring about the response I want from my beloved?
L. Romantic love is like watching a movie.
72. Do I feel I am re-enacting a movie I once saw?
Am I sometimes trying to re-create a story
I saw on TV or read in a novel?
M. Romantic love is an ecstatic feeling.
95. Is being in love the happiest experience of my life?
Does it feel so good to be in love that I want to return to love
(or remain in love) for the rest of my life?
N. Romantic love is an altered state of consciousness.
98. Does the intensity of my emotion sometimes surprise me?
O. Romantic love sees the beloved as perfect.
106. Do I overlook his/her faults or interpret them as charming?
Do I sometimes transform the negative dimensions
of my beloved into positive attributes?
P. Romantic love causes violent mood-swings.
110. Do my feelings for _____ seem like a roller-coaster ride
—momentary weightlessness at the peak of feeling,
followed by crushing pressure at the bottom of the slide?
Q. Romantic love causes preoccupation and distraction.
116. Do I want to be with _____ every moment—day and night?
Would I like to spend the rest of my life
linked with _____ like Siamese twins?
R. Romantic love causes intrusive thinking.
121. Do these compulsive thoughts keep coming back
even tho I try to dismiss them and get on with my life?
Does my mind seems to have "a mind of its own"
—so that love-fantasies take over—like the wrong radio station
breaking into the program I was enjoying?
When I am involved doing other things,
do thoughts of my beloved come crowding into my mind?
S. Romantic love causes compulsive, neurotic,
dependent thoughts and feelings.
129. Have I spend hours going over a simple encounter,
attempting to make it mean something that it does not obviously mean?
For example, do I sift and re-sift the fragments of a conversation
for evidence of what my obsessive mind wants to find
—either proofs of love or proofs of infidelity?
T. Romantic love is an overwhelming experience.
142. Am I swept along by a surging power I could never control?
Is love like riding the crest of an ocean wave?
U. Romantic love is the most important thing in life.
147. Has my passion become so strong
that all previous concerns have fallen by the wayside?
When I am in love nothing else matters.
V. Romantic love includes suffering.
150. Does my emotional attachment to _____
cause me to overlook conflicts, unhappiness, and even abuse?
W. Near its end, romantic love clings to any shred of hope.
163. When I feel love slipping away, does my heart ache?
When I believe that he/she has 'fallen for' someone else,
do I feel sick?
Do I get other psycho-somatic reactions
whenever I get some sign that our love may be over?
X. Romantic Love is temporary—lasting 18 months to 3 years.
168. When I have 'fallen out of love',
does it seem that scales have fallen from my eyes,
so that I can see the one I used to love as he/she really is?
Y. When romantic love is over, it sometimes becomes hatred.
172. After love is gone, is my emotional orientation reversed:
Do I then exaggerate every fault I can think of?
Does it seem that nothing about a former lover is good?
Am I somewhat disgusted by the one I once 'loved'?
Z. Romantic love resists analysis.
179. Do I fear thinking too deeply about love
because questioning any part of the myth
may cause the whole house of cards to collapse?
More than 20 yes-------You are in romantic love.
13-20-------------------------You are only half love-sick.
7-12---------------------------You are recovering from being 'in love'
or you were immune to this disease.
less than 7----------------You are emerging from the illusion
(or you were never deluded by romance).
And you might be ready
for loving beyond romantic illusions.
Romantic love can be an enjoyable and harmless emotional game
—as long as we do not attempt to construct our lives around it.
When we look deeply into the causes of romantic love,
we see that it is a complex, conventional set of feelings
implanted in us by popular culture.
This emotional response is private and self-contained,
sometimes stimulated by another person or an image of our Dream Lover.
But instead of 'falling in love',
we can create unique, singular relationships
—reality-based interactions, free, loving commitments,
based on knowledge, respect, and mutuality.