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Kremen, H. Kremen, B. (1971). Romantic Love and Idealization. Am. J. Psychoanal., 31(2):134-143.
  

(1971). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 31(2):134-143

Romantic Love and Idealization

Howard Kremen, M.D. and Bennett Kremen, M.A.

Thou shalt have no other god before me thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them

Exodus XX

Even some biblical men knew that false gods are false, though initially intoxicating and offering the illusion of salvation. And though all men know the hangover that follows the inevitable fall of an idol — be it a lover or a leader, your mother or your country, an idea, perfect orgasm, “genital man”, or Che Guevara — no one can shun idolatry. For unadorned reality, so rich in contradictions, complexities, and elusive gratification might prove unbearable.

Thus ensues flight into imagination which is capable of conceiving with conviction a more perfect and valuable reality than exists, this perfection pinned to some feature of the external world or to some concept such as God or love. This process which includes idolatry is called idealization. And what is idealized inevitably is adored, admired, or held in awe. But of all that is idealized, nothing is more amazing yet common than the intensity of idealization in romantic love, an intensity often approaching the madness poets speak of. Nonetheless, this mystifying visitation that eludes few of us and seems beyond comprehension does indeed conform lawfully to a set of conditions generating idealization in general and that of romantic love specifically. With romantic idealization, which will serve in this paper as a prototype of all idealization, at least four of these conditions can be observed, 1) partial knowledge of the beloved, 2) obstacles to her attainment, 3) discontent with oneself and 4) value attributed to the beloved.

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