Romantic love emerged as a literary idea and an unrealistic and idealized type of love. Men and women who have romantic values of love tend to idealize a partner and a relationship. If both partners are romantically involved, we can say they are in a romantic relationship. The greater their idealization and admiration of each other, the more romantic their love is.
Based on a thorough review of many studies, I have described the 9 main characteristics of romantic love. Here I put together some of the specific beliefs and romantic values about love:
- Believing that their beloved is an ideal romantic match,
- Thinking that the beloved is the best and most unique individual,
- Paying attention to the positive qualities of the beloved,
- Overlooking his or her negative qualities,
- Trusting to follow your heart,
- Believing that love conquers all (Karandashev, 2021b)
These romantic values and beliefs in love may have positive and negative effects in different interpersonal situations and cultural contexts (see for review Karandashev, 2019).
What Are the Romantic Myths of Love?
These romantic beliefs are opposite to pragmatic beliefs in love. They resemble “romantic myths” of some kind (De Roda et al., 1999). Elaborating on these romantic beliefs, Spanish researchers assembled them into the following groups:
1) the equivalence myth,
(2) the “better-half’ myth,
(3) the exclusiveness (of being love) myth,
(4) the eternal passion myth,
(5) the omnipotence (love conquers all) myth,
(6) the fidelity myth,
(7) the marriage myth,
(8) the couple myth.
What Cultures Have the Most Romantic Beliefs about Love Across the World?
According to many studies of the second half of the 20th century, people in France, Spain, Germany, and Russia had higher romantic beliefs compared to Americans. The strong European romantic cultural traditions of the past might influence their romantic nature.
American people exhibited romantic beliefs of a moderate degree, which are much lower than the American cultural myths represented in the 20th century’s consumeristic images and Hollywood movies. Because of the long-standing puritan and practical ideals that the early generations of settlers in America lived with, Americans expressed rather companionate and friendship-oriented love beliefs.
People in several African societies also had lower romantic beliefs compared to Europeans and Americans. They probably were less exposed to the European and American cultural romantic ideas of the 20th century. Their cultural understanding of love in African societies was a mixture of their traditional indigenous conceptions of love (like “ubuntu”) with the Western ideals of romantic love.
The romantic beliefs of people from Caribbean regions, such as the West Indies, were relatively similar to those of Americans. This could be because of their greater exposure to American romantic ideas through cultural media and touristic exchange. Caribbeans exhibited higher romantic beliefs compared to Africans. In East- and South-Asian societies, Indians, Chinese, Japanese, and Turkish people were less romantic than North Americans and Europeans. Their love beliefs were more socially pragmatic and in accord with East Asian collectivistic traditions of submission of personal identity for the sake of the group (see for review Karandashev, 2019, 2021b).
What Cultures Are Conducive to Romantic Values of Love?
Generally, the romantic values of love are pronounced
- in the societies with more social mobility than with less social mobility,
- in societies with richer romantic literary and artistic traditions,
- in individualistic independent cultures than in collectivistic interdependent cultures, and
- in modernized societies (modern cultures versus traditional societies).
In short, French, British, German, and Russian cultural traditions significantly influenced the romantic values of people in several European countries, as well as in many other countries of the world. The North-European American culture was less romantic, despite cultural stereotypes. Nevertheless, it was moderately romantic due to the values of independence and autonomy. The East Asian Japanese and Chinese, South-Asian Indian, Middle East Turkish, Latin American Caribbean, and African cultures were much less romantic in their beliefs. The educated people of middle or high socioeconomic classes in Western cultures have traditionally been more likely to fall in romantic love (see for review Karandashev, 2017).
The Current Changes in Romantic Values
However, modern people have been changing. And romantic ideals and beliefs may be vanishing in the minds of modern generations. Currently, less educated people believe in romantic love more than the more educated people, and the people of an older age believe it more than the younger people (e.g., De Roda et al., 1999, see for review Karandashev, 2019).
No studies of romantic beliefs have been undertaken in recent years. However, many observations allow us to believe that romantic attitudes are declining in North American and European countries, while they are increasing in several other societies described above (see for review, Karandashev, 2019, 2021b, 2022).