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The Arc of LoveHow Our Romantic Lives Change over Time$
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Aaron Ben-Ze'ev

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226633909

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226634067.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Emotional Experiences

Emotional Experiences

(p.17) 2 Emotional Experiences
The Arc of Love

Aaron Ben-Ze'ev

University of Chicago Press

Emotions can be understood in light of their cause—i.e., a significant change in our situation—and their major concern, which is personal and comparative in nature. While acute emotions are unstable, intense, partial, and brief, extended and enduring emotions have longer duration. The dispositional presence of emotions—i.e., their potential to be repeated, actualized, and developed—is vital for lasting love. Diverse emotional experiences contribute to the cultivation of complex, deep, and meaningful love. Emodiversity relates to higher mental and physical health, as it provides more room for understanding and interacting with our romantic environment. This extends to the reciprocal relationship between partners who experience romantic diversity, when each can appreciate and love the other as a complete person. In long-term profound love, partners acknowledge each other’s complexity and intrinsic value. Their romantic environment is highly differentiated, thus leaving room for conflicting emotions or loving different people at the same time. It also makes space for activities that promote caring, reciprocity, and nurturing of the beloved and of oneself. Three major mechanisms responsible for our emotional balance and the feasibility of enduring affective attitudes are hedonic adaptation, positive mood offset, and enduring dissatisfaction.

Keywords:   acute emotions, adaptation, change, concern, complexity, disposition, dissatisfaction, diversity, mood

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