Analysis Of Marilyn Friedman 's Poem, Romantic Love And Personal Autonomy Essay

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In Marilyn Friedman’s essay “Romantic Love and Personal Autonomy” she defines the ideal of love as: “A strong, complex emotion or feeling causing one both to appreciate, delight in, or crave the presence or possession of another and to please or promote the welfare of another” (taken from the Funk and Wagnalls’ Standard Dictionary of the English Language). Romantic love is a special subset of this, which has an additional erotic component. Friedman writes in the context of autonomy and gender roles of heterosexual relationships, but this fails to encompass the complete reality of modern romantic love. I take it that Friedman’s purpose in her essay is not to define love, but with such a narrow conceptualization her arguments on the loss of autonomy in romantic partnerships cannot hold outside of the scope of monogamous, heterosexual relationships. My purpose here is not to defend or refute the arguments of her paper; my purpose is to expand upon the ideal of a romantic love in such a way that it includes all romantic partnerships and does not involve a sacrifice of autonomy from any individual involved. In the following, I will explain why Friedman’s essay does not account for non-heterosexual relationships, propose an ideal of romantic love in which individuals don’t sacrifice their personal autonomy for their partners, speculate the conditions of romantic love, and apply those conditions to show that they account for all types of romantic relationships, LGBT and

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