Manic Loveless

Love is a curious thing, and we as humans have studied it since the ancient times. Cultures from all over the world have their own take on what is “true love”, and it means something different to everyone. To some, love is a warm feeling in the pit of your stomach. For others, it is a trust and bond that only a select few are privilege to.
There are even some who’d say they would die or kill for love.

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  1. shinichi says:

    Mania, and the Six Styles of Love

    Manic Loveless

    https://manic-loveless.tumblr.com/post/105980230729/mania-and-the-six-styles-of-love

    Love is a curious thing, and we as humans have studied it since the ancient times. Cultures from all over the world have their own take on what is “true love”, and it means something different to everyone. To some, love is a warm feeling in the pit of your stomach. For others, it is a trust and bond that only a select few are privilege to.

    There are even some who’d say they would die or kill for love. We’re here to talk about those people.

    While there have been many concepts of love throughout history, today I’d like us to focus on a more modern theory, developed by Canadian Sociologist John Alan Lee in the 1970s. It is an ideology of love that recognizes love as different styles. These styles differ quite radically, but rather than one being superior to another, he attributed these styles to resemble colors. There is no right style of love, just as to say there is no right color. However, there are colors that you may prefer more than others, and Lee argued that love can be seen in the same way. Some people like a calm blue, others a more passionate red.

    Among the love styles that Lee defined is mania, an intense, emotional love. Here at Manic Loveless, we will be studying manic love, unraveling its history and its use in fiction. Before we get to that, however, we must take a quick look at the other styles first. After all, one cannot create violet without red and blue.  So let’s take a look now at the three primary love styles.

    The Three Primary Styles of Love

    • Eros (RED): The passionate, erotic love. A sexual and physical desire for one another. It is a love that knows what it wants, is romantic, and very intimate.
      • Common thoughts from an Eros lover:
        • We were made for each other. I couldn’t imagine life without her.
        • Seeing my beloved after work makes me want to run into his arms.
    • Ludus (BLUE): Flirtatious, uncommitted love-play.  They see love as something to experience with as many people as possible.  Being devoted to one relationship is not their thing.
      • Common thoughts from a Ludus lover:
        • I get bored when guys talk about getting serious and moving in together.
        • It doesn’t matter who I was with yesterday. I’m with you right now.
    • Storge (YELLOW): A calm, unromantic friendship. It is a mutual trust and respect for one another. They care for their lover and enjoy spending time together.
      • Common thoughts from a Storge lover:
        • My roommate and I do all of these activities together and I really enjoy spending time with him.
        • It’s great that I can trust my sister with my troubles. She’s someone I can really depend on when things get tough.

    Just like colors, when you mix different love styles together, you lose a few of the old attributes to make way for new ones. The following are secondary love styles, which are made up of the primary styles but have unique characteristics of their own.

    The Three Secondary Styles of Love

    • Pragma (GREEN): Practical, logical love. The lovers actively look for people who are compatible and have similar goals, interest, and equity (security, money, offspring, etc.).
      • Common thoughts from a pragma lover:
        • Looking at the poor neighborhood she grew up in, I decided she isn’t for me.
        • My fiancé and I both make similar wages and work within the same company, so it made sense for us to start a relationship.
    • Agape (ORANGE): Selfless, sacrificing love. The lover enjoys giving their all with nothing to expect in return. They will unquestionably put aside their own interests for their lover’s happiness.
      • Common thoughts from an Agape lover:
        • I gave up my original career plans so I can find a job that pays better to make my spouse happy.
        • I’d rather suffer through activities I don’t like than make my husband go to places I like.

    And lastly…

    • Mania (VIOLET): Possessive, obsessive, and intense. It is an emotional love filled with highs and lows, fear of rejection, and absolute dependence on the lover.
      • Common thoughts from a Mania lover:
        • If he left me, I think I would kill myself.
        • I don’t want my girlfriend to ever leave the house, in fear that she might find someone better than me.

    Manic love is a popular trope that we often associate with crazy exes who can never let go, or stalkers who know everything about you. They may even make secret shrines in their closet dedicated to you.

    What Lee says on Manic Love

    Lee calls manic love the kind of love that “strikes the lover like a bolt from the Gods”, or what Plato and the Greeks called, theia mania, “the madness from the Gods”. It is meeting someone for the first time and instantly falling in love, despite knowing very little about the beloved. This means that mania mainly afflicts younger people experiencing love for the first time, though there are cases of mania appearing in middle age as well.

    Note that mania is different from the romantic eros, which is intimate, and knows what does and does not attract it. Mania, on the other hand, can cause one to fall in love with almost anyone. Where eros shows an outward passion and intensity, manic lovers become mentally preoccupied and obsessed. Almost immediately, they start planning a fictional wedding and future together, even if they haven’t been formally introduced!

    Typical Profile of a Manic Lover

    • Unhappy childhood
    • Lonely in adult life, and dissatisfied at work
    • Strong need to “be in love”, but also afraid of difficult and painful relationships
    • Uncertain what types of people attract them
    • Often look for qualities in a partner that actually doesn’t attract them at all
    • Often find themselves partnered with someone they don’t even like
    • Attempts to see their partner every day, and is easily upset by delays
    • Goes to extremes to prove their love
    • Alternates between large demonstrations of love and drawing back
    • Often demands that partner shows more affection and commitment
    • Rarely finds sex with beloved satisfying or reassuring
    • It is always the partner that ends the relationship, and the manic lover will take a long time to get over it

    Closing thoughts

    Of all the love styles, mania may be the most interesting. It is as tragic as agape, but more passionate.  It is as loving as eros, but lacking in its self-confidence. Mania is an unhealthy love that plays for keeps, and consumes everyone involved in its destructiveness: friends, family, and of course the beloved. Without proper care and therapy, it is possible one may never move on to safer styles of relationships. However, there is hope. Lee believed an individual could recover as long as the experiences that brought on the manic behavior were identified and changed. As well, many people who first experience this type of love may evolve and mature to more healthier means of showing affection on their own. So a fatal attraction does not necessarily have to mean a fatal end!

    Please join us over the many weeks to come, as we move forward and delve deeper into the heart of manic love and discuss its use in movies, books, and everything in between.

    References and more information

    Most of the information here has been drawn from Chapter 3 of The Psychology of Love, a compilation of many other love theories.  You can also read in more detail of Lee’s theory on love styles in his book, The Colors of Love.

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