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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: 16 May 2022

Love in Later Life

Love in Later Life

(p.190) 11 Love in Later Life
The Arc of Love

Aaron Ben-Ze'ev

University of Chicago Press

Later life is a patchwork for profound love—it presents some of the best circumstances for it as well as some of its greatest obstacles. Since time nurtures profundity, maturity can enhance romantic profundity. The loss of a partner in old age can be tempting to give up on love completely. However, as love is so vital to flourishing and well-being, it is important to find a suitable new relationship, though the type and timing of such a relationship differs from person to person. When one partner passes away, widows tend to idealize their deceased partner, so establishing new love becomes more complex. Adding to the hurdles for love in old age, dementia often impedes profound meaningful interactions and experiences. Emotional experiences in later life are likely to be marked by calmness rather than excitement. Obstacles to love are scattered throughout our life. Old age can rebalance partners’ ability to engage constructively in the relationship. When dementia figures into the equation, the maintenance of love calls for great sacrifice. Serious considerations must be given to the impact of such sacrifice on the relationship and one’s personal flourishing. This is how we honor the wholeness necessary to sustain profound, romantic relationships.

Keywords:   Alzheimer's, calmness, death, dementia, maturity, old age, profundity, widow

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