Romance is a particular kind of courtship in which the man courts by indirect and costly signals of the quality of his genes and his ability and willingness to his invest resources in the woman and future offspring, with particular emphasis on beautiful behavior.
The existence of romantic investment on part of the female is one of the most widespread obvious lies in human history. The closest female behavior is bonding as a promise of sexual exclusivity which men desire as paternity assurance and fear they will be abandoned or starve, being themselves incapable of survival in historical context.
Overview[edit | edit source]
Romance is what you get when modesty norms prefer that the man signals his ability and promise to provide in indirect ways rather than simply signing a contract. Such indirect signaling may consist in relinquishing other plans just for the woman, or spending a lot of time crafting a gift or perfecting a skill just for her. The more expensive, i.e. more romantic the courtship is, the more valuable the woman becomes in men's eyes as a result of sunk cost fallacy. Hence, playing coy and downplaying their sexual interest, women can provoke more expensive courtship display and can trick men into more reliable resource investment.
Women have evolved this behavior as they depended on men's resources throughout human evolution. How much women desire such signals is evidenced by the fact that they more often hope any given relationship results in heavy romantic investment on part of the man of course, e.g. 60% of women said they hoped a recent hookup would lead to a romantic relationship compared to only 13% of men. Further, even feminist women prefer men who date care of them.
As evidenced by the failure of nice guys and women's literary interest in rapey romance novels, romance is not enough unless the guy is good looking and neurotypical. Rather, woman's mating preferences are only fully met when romance is accompanied by a demonstration of physical dominance, which women report, primarily lies merely in the threat rather than actual harm, and involves the female taming the man. (On the other hand, women do have actual rape fantasies, so it is not clear to which extent this is actual preference or just political correctness.)
Some social constructionist scientists have claimed romance would be a social construct, but in cross-cultural studies by ethnologist Eibl-Eibesfeldt, he found flirting and romance to be prevalent and pretty much the same across the world.
Relation to shit tests[edit | edit source]
Women's expectation for men's romance can be understood as shit test in that the woman tests whether the man can afford all his costly signaling, such as relinquishing other social opportunities in life that the man could have spend his time on rather than expensive courtship, to see whether he can really afford it.
Fear of death sparks romance[edit | edit source]
Early romance is often spurred by a fear of death, and once in a relationship, that fear often diminishes.
"Originally, terror management theory proposed two psychological mechanisms in dealing with the terror of death awareness-cultural worldview validation and self-esteem enhancement. In this article, we would like to promote the idea of close relationships as an additional death-anxiety buffering mechanism and review a growing body of empirical data that support this contention. Based on a comprehensive analysis of the sociocultural and personal functions of close relationships, we formulate two basic hypotheses that have received empirical support in a series of experimental studies. First, death reminders heighten the motivation to form and maintain close relationships. Second, the maintenance of close relationships provides a symbolic shield against the terror of death, whereas the breaking of close relationships results in an upsurge of death awareness. In addition, we present empirical evidence supporting the possibility that close relationships function as a related yet separate mechanism from the self-esteem and cultural worldview defenses."
Relationships without romance[edit | edit source]
"My husband and I have never done romance. I don't have candle light dinners or celebrate valentine's day or whatever else romantic people do. It's just not me. We do have sex though, but I wouldn't call that romantic either."
References[edit | edit source]
- Eibl-Eibesfeldt I. 1989. Pair Formation, Courtship, Sexual Love. In: Human Ethology. Rougtledge. [Excerpt]
- http://doi.org/10.1111/pere.12220 (Weitbrecht 2017)
- Mikulincer, M., Florian, V., & Hirschberger, G. (2003). The existential function of close relationships: Introducing death into the science of love. Personality and social psychology review, 7(1), 20-40.
See Also[edit | edit source]