Next month, there’s a new movie coming out with Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal called “Love and Other Drugs,” so I thought I’d take this opportunity to discuss the ways that romantic love can function as an intoxicant and how serial romance relates to other forms of addiction.
In an earlier post about different forms of love, I described one version where loving a person springs from the way he or she makes you feel and involves little concern for the other. What the “lover” wants is the heady feeling of intoxication, that blissful state where you feel as if life has become a sort of heaven on earth and all your troubles have disappeared. Falling in love means living happily ever after. Hollywood, that relentless pusher, pedals this drug in one romantic comedy after another.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to stay high forever. As we come down, we begin to realize that the person we love isn’t so perfect after all. Even worse, we find that we still hate our job, we still don’t make enough money, and nothing about reality and its frustrations has changed. Obviously, we made a mistake in our choice of love object … time to move on. Lather, rinse and repeat.