We, understanding the psychology of romantic love

by Robert A. Johnson

Book, 1983



Call number


Call number



San Francisco : Harper & Row, c1983.

Original publication date


Physical description

xv, 204 p.; 22 cm

Local notes

Provides an illuminating explanation of the origins and meaning of romantic love and shows how a proper understanding of its psychological dynamics can revitalize our most important relationships.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Diwanna
When I first picked up this book I thought "Great. It's another one of those books where they try to symbolize every bit of a story. I continued to feel that way until about the middle of the book when I was hit in the face with some pointed remarks regarding romantic love, it's illusions, and the
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secrets to a long-term relationship. I ended up loving the book. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member maryhollis
In this re-telling of the myth of Tristan and Iseult, Robert A. Johnson uses Jungian psychology to re-define what love should and can be.
Johnson traces the evolution of romantic love from its Cather/troubador origins in the twelfth century to modern times.
In medieval times, passionate love, in its
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ecstasy and suffering, was a means for transformation. The passion of love spiritualized the elect in anticipation of the ultimate transformation: Death.
In contrast, through the influence of romantic love that has permeated Western culture, modern man places too much emphasis on anima/animus - the distorted, projected fantasy of a perfect person who complies with all demands and fulfills all dreams and expectations. This projection reaches into all areas of modern life, giving rise to dissatisfaction, boredom, a need for instant gratification, and a misplaced sense of entitlement.
Romance has no room for friendship--romance and friendship are complete opposites. Romance means the use of each other to create passion for its own sake, for the sake of one's own fulfillment, one's own thrills, one's own dreams coming true. Romantic love, in all of its intensities, deteriorates into egotism.
A relationship based on loving Each Other, not "being in love" with a projected ideal, provides the stability and commitment that is lacking in modern culture. Real human love is mature love with realistic expectations of another person. Human love transforms even the most mundane things into a joyful, fulfilling part of life. Relatedness and friendship are the main components of human love. Friends affirm rather than judge, back each other in tough times.
Modern man longs for the transforming experience that gives life meaning and completeness. Johnson advises that instead of placing all expectations on another person, withdraw from projection and consciously take responsibility for becoming a complete person. Be willing to change in spite of the conflict, the self-questioning, the painful uncovering of deceptions. This then can be the ultimate transformation: A new life.
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