Is Self-Fulfillment Essential for Romantic Love? The self-other tension in romantic love


  • Aaron Ben-Ze’ev Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná



Self-Fulfillment, Romantic Love, Self-Other, Emotions,


Two major features of emotions are their personal, interested nature and the centrality of the self-other relation. There seems to be a built-in tension between the two: this is evident, for example, in negative emotions such as envy and hate, where one person has a significant negative attitude toward another. This tension is also obvious in positive emotions, such as schadenfreude, where an individual is pleased about the other’s misfortune. Such tension may even be greater in romantic love, where the lover should give special attention and status to the beloved. The tension gains further momentum when we assume that self-fulfillment is an essential feature of romantic relationships. Indeed, it seems that in many low-quality romantic relations, the tension between self-fulfillment and the needs of the beloved is real and toxic. However, in enduring profound love, which involves the personal growth of each partner, self-fulfillment is not egoistic, and the tension drives mutual thriving.


Não há dados estatísticos.

Biografia do Autor

Aaron Ben-Ze’ev, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná

Doutor em Filosofia pela Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, UFSC;

Professor do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Filosofia Mestrado e Doutorado da PUCPR;

Professor do Departamento de Filosofia da FAE Centro Universitário.


Bauman, Z. (2003). Liquid love. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Baumeister, R. F., & Bratslavsky, E. (1999). Passion, intimacy, and time: Passionate love as a function of change in intimacy, Personality and Social Psychology Review, 3, 49-67.

Ben-Ze'ev, A. (2000). The subtlety of emotions. Cambridge, Ma.: MIT Press.

Ben-Ze’ev, A. (2017). The thing called emotion: A subtle perspective. In A. Ben-Ze’ev & A. Krebs (eds.), Philosophy of emotions, Vol. I., 112-137.

Ben-Ze'ev, A. (2019). The arc of love: How our romantic lives change over time. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ben-Ze'ev, A., & Goussinsky, R. (2008). In the name of love: Romantic ideology and its victims. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ben-Ze’ev, A., & Krebs, A. (eds.) (2017). Philosophy of emotion, 4 volumes. London: Routledge.

Bergen, K., M., (2006). Women's narratives about commuter marriage. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Buber, M. (1923/1937). I and thou. New York: Scribner.

Coontz, S. (2005). Marriage, a history. New York: Viking.

Drigotas, S. M. (2002). The Michelangelo phenomenon and personal well-being. Journal of Personality, 70, 59–77.

Finkel, E. J. (2017). The all-or-nothing marriage: How the best marriages work. Penguin.

Finkel, E. J., Hui, C. M., Carswell, K. L., & Larson, G. M. (2014). The suffocation of marriage: Climbing Mount Maslow without enough oxygen. Psychological Inquiry, 25, 1-41. Fletcher, G. J., Simpson, J. A., Campbell, L., & Overall, N. C. (2015). Pair-bonding, romantic love, and evolution: The curious case of homo sapiens. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10, 20-36. Frankfurt, H. G. (1987). Equality as a moral ideal. Ethics, 98, 21-43.

Frankfurt, H., (1999). Autonomy, necessity, and love. In Necessity, Volition, and Love. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Positive emotions broaden and build. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 1-53. Frijda, N. H. (2007). The laws of emotion. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum. Girme, Y. U., Overall, N. C., & Faingataa, S. (2014). “Date nights” take two: The maintenance function of shared relationship activities. Personal Relationships, 21, 125-149. Helm, B. W. (2009/2017) Emotions as evaluative feelings. In A. Ben-Ze’ev & A. Krebs (eds.) (2017). Philosophy of emotion, Vol. I, 174-188.

Helm, B. W. (2010). Love, friendship, and the self: Intimacy, identification, and the social nature of persons. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Higgins, E. T. (1987). Self-discrepancy: A theory relating self and affect. Psychological Review, 94, 319-340.

Jiang, L. C. & Hancock, J. T. (2013). Absence makes the communication grow fonder: Geographic separation, interpersonal media, and intimacy in dating relationships. Journal of Communication, 63, 556–577.

Kant, I. (1963). Lectures on ethics. New York: Harper. Kashdan, T. B., & Rottenberg, J. (2010). Psychological flexibility as a fundamental aspect of health. Clinical psychology review, 30, 865-878.

Kelmer, G., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2013). Relationship quality, commitment, and stability in long-distance relationships. Family Process, 52, 257-270.

Krebs, A. (2014). Between I and Thou–On the dialogical nature of love. In C. Maurer, T. Milligan, and K. Pacovská (eds.), Love and its objects. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 7-24.

Krebs, A. (2015). Zwischen Ich und Du. Eine dialogische Philosophie der Liebe. Berlin: Suhrkamp.

LaFollette, H. (1996). Personal relationships. Oxford: Blackwell. Levinas, E. (1998). On thinking-of-the-other: Entre nous. New York: Columbia University Press. Määttä, K., & Uusiautti, S. (2013). Silence is not golden. In Many Faces of Love (pp. 41-51). Rotterdam: SensePublishers.

Nussbaum, M. C. (2001). Upheavals of thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Reid, T. (1788). Essays on the active powers of man. In Philosophical Works (edited by W. Hamilton). Hildesheim: Georg Olms.

Schnarch, D. (1997). Passionate marriage: Love, sex, and intimacy in emotionally committed relationships. New York: Norton.

Schwartz, B. (2004). The paradox of choice. New York: HarperCollins. Simon, H. A. (1979). Rational decision making in business organizations. The American economic review, 69, 493-513. Sobel, A. (1990). The structure of love, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Spinoza, B. (1677). Ethics. In E. Curley (Ed.), The collected works of Spinoza. Princeton: Princeton University Press (1985).

Stafford, L. (2005). Maintaining long-distance and cross-residential relationships. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum. Taylor, C. (1985/2017). The concept of a person. In A. Ben-Ze’ev & A. Krebs (eds.), Philosophy of emotion, Vol. I, 42-56. Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2009). Nudge. Penguin Books.




Como Citar

Ben-Ze’ev, A. (2019). Is Self-Fulfillment Essential for Romantic Love? The self-other tension in romantic love. Revista De Filosofia Aurora, 31(54).