Love makes the world go ’round, or so they say. And I sincerely believe that it is almost literally true, because love is a powerful force in the universe. It is an energy and an elemental power that sustains life, lights the stars and suns, and keeps the planets moving. It also makes human life worth living – we see the proof every day in our daily lives and dealings with people. But, as important as love seems to be in human existence, a deeper and more interesting question is, should a person ever be in a relationship with no romance?
A Relationship With No Romance – Will It Ever Work?
Part of the problem in considering this question comes from the confusion of the two words in our usage – love and romance. We understand that love is an emotion that a mother can have for a son, or a man for his grandfather, and that romance is not a part of that love. We also know that typically a wife can have love for a husband in the former sense, and also feel romantic love for him. So, it is logically possible to be in a loving relationship and yet not have romance in that situation. Historically this has been called a Platonic relationship, after the Greek philosopher who first considered the issue millennia ago.
However, Platonic love is by definition love without a sexual component, and we generally equate romance with the sexual part of a couple’s relationship. But it is certainly possible for a man and a woman to meet each other’s sexual needs without having a romantic element. So being with another person in a couple, whether married or unofficially committed, and having everything but the romance is definitely possible. But is it something a person should ever conceivably settle for?
It is very likely that people exist in this world – the variety of human behavior is well known – who need to be in a close, even intimate relationship with another person for basic companionship, and yet not need or want romance. There is without a doubt a certain type that sees romantic love as anti-intellectual and as a distraction from real life. Basic human needs can be satisfied for this kind of person without involving the idea of romance and passion. After all, not everyone is a Don Juan or the female equivalent, and we all know folks who just take take life extremely seriously, in a business-like fashion. For them, a romantic element in a relationship can be done without, and should be.
The woman (or man) who marries for financial security for herself and for her children is a common plot device on tv shows and in the movies, as well as in literature. One would assume that if that is the case, there is a lack of romance in the situation, just as in an arranged marriage. But as much as we are familiar with the idea, we tend to pity these people for missing out on romance in exchange for basic needs.
We feel this way because a relationship without romance is like food with no salt – the spark, the passion, the yearning is what makes love come alive, and in turn what makes life worth living. If love is indeed the most powerful force in the world, then romantic love is a very close second – and no one should settle for less.