The Romantic Love Test:
Do We Know If We
Are in Love?
This test names 26 features
of romantic love (A-Z),
each with a few question for examining
our own feelings
to see if we have what many regard as
But before looking at the test,
we should distinguish romance
from three other phenomena.
WITH ROMANTIC LOVE
Human sexuality has
been active for about 100,000 years,
ever since the human race began to speak.
Before that, presumably, our ancestors'
were more akin to the sexuality of animals.
respond to other
when they trigger our imprinted
These sex-scripts are stories, scenarios, & fantasies
that were imprinted into our minds at
an early age.
We did not choose the
nature of our sexual
And that is why sex sometimes
seems to surprise us or even overwhelm
Depending on the exact nature of our
we respond to certain bodily types
perhaps we respond to certain parts of a body.
We can discover our sexual imprinting
by watching what 'turns us on'.
MATE-SELECTION & MARRIAGE
People have been selecting
each other as mates
since before the beginning of recorded
Thus some form of marriage has been around
for several thousand years.
we have been looking
for a man or woman with whom to spend our lives,
we have imagined an ideal Mr. Right or
If someone corresponds with this internal
we might easily 'fall in love' with him
And we might be sexually attracted to
him or her.
But the marriage decision itself is more
rational and organized
than either romantic love
or sexual response.
We can easily 'fall in love' and 'get
by men or women whom we would never consider
Looking for a life-partner involves compatibilities
of personalities and purposes, which
do not always correspond
with our romantic and sexual responses.
Marriage is a more practical affair.
We need to know whether the potential
has any bad habits that would make it
difficult to live with him or her.
we have decided
that we are going to spend
most of our adult lives married to one
man or one woman,
we have built up some clear ideas
about what kind of man or woman that
We see such men or women married to others.
And we hope that we will be able to find
such a person for ourselves.
desire to get married
is relatively easy to explain.
It is the result of explicit instruction
We learn how people ought to behave
when they grow up:
We are supposed to find a good person
Marriage is a social phenomenon we can
But marriage itself sometimes gets confused
sexual responses and/or 'falling in love'.
the minds of many
of us, the ideal mate would be someone
who 'turns us on' sexually, who would
be a good parent,
and about whom we could feel romantic.
How often do all of these features arrive
in the same person?
The rational person may select for a
spouse the one he or she can live with,
even if their sex-life and their romantic
are not as intense as with other people,
some of whom,
of course, would not make good spouses.
Familiarity has been
a part of human experience
from the beginning of our race some 7
million years ago,
when we branched off from the other large
Familiarity is a feeling we share with
all animals that live in groups.
we have lived with
someone in the same household
for a few years,
feelings develop that
arise only from that specific relationship.
These are similar to the feelings that
develop in loving families.
When the siblings get along well, they
like to be together.
They do things together because they
enjoy being in one another's company.
Married or living-together couples develop
familiarity with each other.
And if their regular interactions make
them both happy,
they will want to continue to be together.
good long-lasting relationships
can have a sense of a loving togetherness
not based on the fantasy of romantic
not based on the imprinted sex-scripts
they had before they met,
not based on their pre-existing ideas
of who would be a good spouse.
Being comfortable together is based in
From their past experience of being with
the partners know they like each other.
The fantasy of romance might be gone.
The triggering of their sex-scripts might
have been replaced
by a special kind of sexuality that they
could not have predicted
before it actually happened between them.
And whatever prior expectations they
had for a marriage partner
has been replaced by real information
about this particular person.
of familiarity is raising children together.
Two people who have shared the trials
and rewards of parenthood
might develop deep connections with each other
that will never be repeated in any other
relationship of their lives.
NOW FOR ROMANCE
Romantic love is the
most recent addition
to these other feelings with which it
is often confused.
Romantic fantasies were invented about
800 years ago in Medieval Europe.
Since then these delusions have spread
over the whole world.
Almost everywhere, people 'fall in love'.
And they regard it as a natural response,
perhaps in part because they confuse
(1) sex, (2) mate-selection, and (3)
The Romantic Love Test is intended to
highlight our romantic feelings,
as defined in the 26 section-headings
within the test.
ROMANTIC LOVE TEST
Do We Know If We
Are In Love ?
should help us determine
whether our feelings correspond with
the conventional experience of romantic
Answer each question "yes" or "no"—agree
Keep a count of your "yes" answers.
The scoring is explained at the end of
A. Romantic love arises from
1. Before I 'fell in love', did I feel within myself
a mysterious urge to find someone to love,
an emptiness or longing to connect with someone?
2. Before I met the one I now love, did I feel lonely?
Did loneliness cause me to 'fall in love'?
Did I sometimes feel an emotional hunger,
emptiness in my heart,
which I wanted to fill with another
3. Did I enter the 'love-market' with strong expectations
of what love was supposed to feel like?
4. Did my present love begin shortly after the end of a previous love?
Did I 'fall in love' on the 'rebound'?
When one love ended,
did I just begin loving the
next available person
who did not have too many negative
5. Did I simply tell myself that I was ready to 'fall in love'?
B. Romantic love begins
suddenly, creating instant intimacy.
6. Did I 'fall in love' with _____ when I first met him/her?
7. Do I experience love as an emotion happening to me?
Is 'falling in love' a passive experience—like falling asleep?
8. Is love a deep response arising from my soul?
9. Did I just let myself fall madly, passionately, gloriously in love?
10. Have we experienced instant intimacy,
the feeling that we know each other immediately?
11. Have we been soul-mates from the beginning of the world?
12. Do we have a sudden feeling of agreement about everything?
C. Romantic love is blind.
13. Was I temporarily blinded by an intense flash of love
so I could no longer see who the other
14. Do I prefer not to know everything about the one I love?
Am I afraid to know more about
because the facts might undercut my feelings?
15. Is _____ the most wonderful person I have ever met?
D. Romantic love is often
one-sided; it loves from afar.
16. Do I have obsessive day-dreams about a distant love-object?
Do I imagine how it would be for
some distant person to notice me
—and 'fall in love' with me?
Have I worked out a whole story
how I might meet my love-object and begin a long
17. Have I ever been 'in love' with a celebrity?
For instance, have I sent love
letters to famous people,
hoping they would miraculously respond
18. Do I gloss over the fact that thousands of other people
are also 'in love' with the same person?
Does being in a crowd of people
all 'worshiping' the same person
make me feel even more 'in love' with
19. If there is no real relationship, if we have never even talked,
does the image of my love-object
keep appearing in my mind
—unbidden, sometimes unwelcome
because it prevents me from
getting on with my life?
20. Have I sometimes wanted someone to love me
even tho I did not want to love him/her?
E. Romantic love watches for small
signs of reciprocation.
21. Do I examine carefully the behavior of the one I love
for signs that he/she really cares
Do I manufacture signs of love
from almost nothing?
22. When I am ignored or rejected by my love-object,
do I look for subtle signs of love even
in the discouragement?
23. Do I interpret any
as a sign that he/she really notices
and cares about me?
Do I sometimes keep a 'love' going
for a long time,
sustained by mere crumbs of hope?
24. Do I sometimes spend hours
pining for my secret love?
25. Do I become more obsessive, the less response I get?
F. Romantic love is often
uncertain and fearful of rejection;
exclusive, possessive, and jealous.
26. Do I worry about the depth of my beloved’s feelings for me?
27. Do I wonder if I love him/her more than he/she loves me?
28. Do I often ask "Do you love me?"—perhaps phrasing it some other way?
When my beloved tells me that
he/she loves me,
do I wonder what that means?
Do I want something more than mere
to convince me that my beloved really
29. Do I create little tests of my beloved's emotional involvement?
Do I worry that my beloved does not care enough about
Do I watch for signs that my
is 'falling out of love' with me?
30. Does the intensity
of his/her emotional response
seem more important than the day-to-day
activities we share?
Even in the midst of an enjoyable
do I sometimes wonder about the
emotional commitment of my beloved?
31. Do I sometimes resist phoning the one I love
because I want him/her to care enough
about me to take the initiative?
32. Do I keep track of how often he/she spontaneously says "I love you",
without first hearing that I love
33. When preparing to get together with the one I love,
do I worry that I will look wrong or say something foolish?
Do I worry that something about me
will 'turn him/her off'?
34. Do I spend considerable time rehearsing an encounter
to make sure everything will be just
35. Does my fear of rejection cause me to distort myself
in order to be a better match for the
one I want to love?
36. Can I love only one person at a time?
When I 'fall in love' with someone
nothing further need be said about
my old relationship
—it is automatically over.
37. Love means that we belong to each other;
that's why I will feel jealous if a
rival tries to steal my beloved.
G. Romantic love is a
prefabricated emotion projected onto others.
38. Do I censor myself, concealing the things _____ will not like,
in order to seem more compatible?
39. Do I sometimes try to
create feelings of love?
Do I want to believe that my
feelings are "true love"?
40. Do I sometimes confuse being in love with pretending to be in love?
41. Does 'falling in love' transport me to a dream world?
42. Am I enchanted by
43. When I think of us together, does it sometimes seem like a fairy
Am I clinging to an illusion,
something that was never really there?
44. Do we sometimes remain silent
because speaking might break the spell
45. Does love seem like a stage play already in progress:
We slip into our costumes and begin to
enact our ready-made roles?
46. Do my friends sometimes wonder what I see in _____?
47. Are my feelings based more on fantasies than facts?
48. Is my love a wander-lust, always pursuing new fantasies?
49. When I reach out for love, does it sometimes disappear like a
H. Romance creates an illusion of
50. Have I found the lost half of my being?
Do we merge with each other?
51. Can I see directly into _____'s soul?
Is communication no longer
because we have become one person?
52. Do we cling to
each other for security?
I. Romantic love depends on
53. Before I 'fell in love', did I have a Dream Lover in mind?
54. Did _____ seem to be the fulfillment of my dreams?
55. Did I have elaborate love-feelings before I found a target for them?
56. Do I sometimes dwell in a self-contained dream-world of love?
57. Is my Dream Lover mostly a projection of my imagination?
58. Might my handsome prince/princess turn back into a frog?
59. Does romantic love sometimes seem to be an artificial feeling?
60. Do I feel we will have a perfect future together?
J. Romance is being in love
—attempting to actualize a feeling
learned from others.
61. Do I like the emotion of being in love?
62. Do I feel tuned
like a harp,
ready for my Dream Lover to play songs
63. Do I feel set
like a mouse-trap, ready for "my intended" to come along?
64. When I imagine 'falling in love', do I get a warm glow?
65. Am I enjoying primarily my own internal feelings of love?
66. Is 'falling in love' an enjoyable emotional game?
K. Romantic love sometimes
depends on manipulation.
67. Do I sometimes wonder what I should do
to make my beloved 'fall in love' with
Do I strategize various things I
could do or say
to bring about the response I want from
68. Have I sometimes played 'hard to get'
in order to intensify the feelings of
69. Do I sometimes refuse to return phone calls
in order to make my beloved more
desperate to please me?
70. Have I sometimes used my sex-appeal
to get someone to 'fall in love' with
71. Do I sometimes play games
such as pretending to draw back from
or trying to stimulate jealousy in my
in order to intensify his/her feelings
L. Romantic love is like
watching a movie.
72. Do I feel I am re-enacting a movie I once saw?
Am I sometimes trying to re-create
I saw on TV or read in a novel?
73. Am I the stage-manager of my drama of passion and suffering?
74. Do I enjoy allowing myself to fall gloriously in love
the way it happens in the movies?
75. Am I trying to reproduce
a feeling of love that others have had?
76. Do I sometimes filter out negative facts
to make my love-scene closer to what I
77. Does my relationship with _____ sometimes resemble a soap opera?
Do I sometimes feel that I am
by a simple-minded script I cannot
78. Have romantic songs and movies prepared me
for an ecstatic romantic release?
M. Romantic love is an
79. Does love seem to dominate my whole heart?
80. Am I euphoric whenever I am with _____?
81. Does the thought of _____
make my heart beat faster or even skip
82. Does it take my breath away?
83. Do I seem to melt
when I am in the arms of _____?
84. Do I feel light-headed when we embrace?
85. Do I want to maintain my emotional 'high' as long as possible?
86. Is being assured of love the best emotional fulfillment?
87. Do I sometimes float away in the rapture of love?
Does love lift me into the clouds?
Do I seem to be walking on air?
88. Does being in love make me ecstatic?
Am I a little delirious when I am
89. Does being in love lift me out of humdrum reality?
90. Does love make me feel temporarily insane?
Do I feel deranged, irrational,
irresponsible, slightly crazy?
91. Am I transported to another level of reality when I am with _____?
92. Does something special, even magical, happen when we are together?
93. Do I accept the suffering of love
because I enjoy the ecstatic feelings
94. Does love raise my emotional level from depression to ecstasy?
95. Is being in love the happiest experience of my life?
Does it feel so good to be in love
that I want to return to love
(or remain in love) for the rest
of my life?
96. Was the peak of my passion just before the open declaration of love?
N. Romantic love is an
altered state of consciousness.
97. Does my mind seem to be in a whirl?
98. Does the intensity of my emotion sometimes surprise me?
99. Is the power of my feeling sometimes exhausting?
100. Does being in love feel like intoxication?
101. Does the whole world reflect my emotional state?
102. Does love raise me to new levels of suffering and joy?
103. Am I more concerned with how I feel at the moment
than about the long-range
O. Romantic love sees the
beloved as perfect.
104. Do the wonderful things about the one I love
seem even more wonderful
under the influence of romance?
105. Do I sometimes almost worship the one I love?
106. Do I overlook his/her faults or interpret them as charming?
Do I sometimes
transform the negative dimensions
of my beloved into
107. Do traits that would normally 'turn me off' in other people
become more attractive in
the one I love?
108. Will I later say that I was suffering "selective perception"?
Did I see my beloved
thru rose-colored glasses?
P. Romantic love causes violent
109. Am I subject to abrupt changes of emotion
—from elation to despair—
depending on the
response of my
110. Do my feelings for _____ seem like a roller-coaster ride
—momentary weightlessness at the
peak of feeling,
followed by crushing
pressure at the bottom of the slide?
111. Was the highest point in our relationship the declaration of love
—perhaps symbolized in the marriage
112. Do little misunderstandings between us cast me into despair
—because I think he/she no longer
113. Is my emotional condition completely dependent
on the response of my
Can I be as high as a
kite or a low as a mole
—depending on the responses I get
from my beloved?
114. Does my beloved control my level of feeling far more strongly
than I can understand
Q. Romantic love causes
preoccupation and distraction.
115. Am I always thinking about _____?
Does the image of
_____ pursue me everywhere?
116. Do I want to be with _____ every moment—day and night?
Would I like to spend
the rest of my life
linked with _____ like
117. Does being in love distract me from my normal
118. Do I have trouble sleeping or eating because I am in love?
119. Do I enjoy being in love because it drowns my cares?
R. Romantic love causes intrusive
120. Does a movie keep repeating in my head with minor variations?
121. Do these compulsive thoughts keep coming back
even tho I try to dismiss
them and get on with my life?
Does my mind seems to
have "a mind of its own"
—so that love-fantasies take over—
like the wrong radio station
breaking into the
program I was enjoying?
When I am involved
doing other things,
do thoughts of my beloved
come crowding into my mind?
122. Does his/her image come to the surface without being invited?
123. Does my mind lock
on the image of my beloved?
124. Is my beloved always on
Do I spend more than
half of my free time thinking about my beloved?
S. Romantic love causes
thoughts and feelings.
125. Do I brood every
day about my relationship
and the level of my
beloved's feelings for me?
126. Do I wonder about what will happen next in our relationship?
Do I run various
scenarios thru my head
—with small variations—
until I have a story
127. Do I find that every thought relates back to my beloved?
Do I process all of
the events of my life
in terms of how I will
share them with my beloved?
For example, when I
read a book or see a movie,
am I preparing in my head
how I will discuss it with my beloved?
128. Have I lost a sense of being a separate person,
with private thoughts and
129. Have I spend hours
going over a simple encounter,
attempting to make it mean
something that it does not obviously mean?
For example, do I sift
and re-sift the fragments of a conversation
for evidence of what my
obsessive minds wants to find
—either proofs of love or proofs of
130. Do I sit by the phone, hoping he/she will call?
131. If my beloved forgets to call,
does this mean that I am
not always on his/her mind?
132. Do I think of him/her all the time,
whereas he/she easily puts
me out of mind?
Am I more involved in this
relationship than he/she is?
T. Romantic love is an overwhelming
133. Do I feel gripped by a cosmic emotional force,
overwhelmed by a power
larger than myself?
134. Do I feel out of control,
swept away, by love?
135. Does 'falling in love' feel like opening the flood-gate
to release the water behind
136. Is my mind totally consumed by my fiery passion?
137. Does love feel like a magnetic force drawing us together?
138. Was 'falling in love' easy and automatic?
139. Does my romantic response arise from deep within myself?
140. Do we create an emotional feedback-loop between us,
each reinforcing the
romantic response of the other?
141. Do I sometimes resist the overwhelming feeling of 'falling in
142. Am I swept along by a surging power I could never control?
Is love like riding
the crest of an ocean wave?
143. Do my emotional responses
feel like a computer
program running irresistibly thru my self?
U. Romantic love is the most
important thing in life.
144. Has love finally given me something to live for?
145. Is being in love one of the highest goals of my life?
146. Has love replaced other activities that used to be important?
147. Has my passion become so strong
that all previous concerns
have fallen by the wayside?
When I am in love
nothing else matters.
148. Am I willing to make more sacrifices for love than for anything
149. Is the emotional fulfillment of being in love
more important than sexual
Is hearing a deep and
convincing declaration of love
—having my romantic feelings
more fulfilling than
Do I want to hear "I
more than "I want to
have sex with you!"?
V. Romantic love includes
150. Does my emotional attachment to _____
cause me to overlook
conflicts, unhappiness, and even abuse?
151. Are my feelings of love chaotic and stressful?
152. Am I desperately unhappy when we must be apart?
153. Would I be devastated by the loss of this love?
If my beloved left me for another,
would I want to kill myself?
154. Have I ever considered suicide because love went wrong?
Have I wanted to kill
myself because my love was not returned?
155. Have I wanted to die because the one person who mattered abandoned
Have I considered suicide because my
only reason for living was gone?
156. Have I sometimes threatened to kill someone else
if I did not get my
157. Can I empathize with the feeling:
"If I can't have him/her,
no one else will either!"?
or "If you won't live with
me, you won't live with anyone!"?
Can I imagine killing the one I used to
love because he/she abandoned me?
W. Near its end, romantic
love clings to any shred of hope.
158. Do I keep coming back even tho we have terrible fights
because once that part is
over, we love each other even more intensely?
159. Do I interpret ill-treatment (physical or mental abuse) as signs
160. Am I attached to _____ in a way that I do not understand?
161. When I fear that I am about to be replaced,
do I cling even more
strongly to the one I love?
162. Does competition from rivals intensify my feelings of love?
163. When I feel love slipping away, does my heart ache?
When I believe that
he/she has 'fallen for' someone else,
do I feel sick?
Do I get other psycho-somatic
whenever I get some sign
that our love might be over?
164. At the end of a relationship, do I cling to the smallest gleam of
X. Romantic Love is temporary—lasting 18 months to 3 years.
165. Did we both 'relax' once the commitment had been made,
perhaps in the form of
marriage or a promise of marriage?
166. When the magic and mystery have gone out of a relationship,
do I begin to think I
should be moving on?
167. Do my love affairs last about two years or less?
168. When I have 'fallen out
does it seem that scales
have fallen from my eyes,
so that I can see the one I
used to love as he/she really is?
Y. When romantic love is
over, it sometimes becomes hatred.
169. After a romantic affair is over, do I find it impossible to be
170. Once my passion for _____ has passed,
do I feel an irrational
urge to inflict pain, hurt, and harm on him/her?
171. Near the end of a romantic involvement,
do my feelings oscillate
between irrational love and irrational hate?
172. After love is gone, is my emotional orientation reversed:
Do I then exaggerate every fault I can think of?
Does it seem that
nothing about a former lover is good?
Am I somewhat disgusted by the one I once
173. Could my passionate love turn into profound hatred?
Z. Romantic love resists
174. Do I believe that 'falling in love' is a natural phenomenon?
175. Do I reject any suggestion that romantic love is an invention of
176. Does love seem self-validating—when it has happened I know it?
177. Is love mystical and mysterious
—something that should not be
178. When I question whether I am really in love,
do my doubts threaten my
179. Do I fear thinking too deeply about love
because questioning any
part of the myth
might cause the whole house
of cards to collapse?
180. Do I want to be 'in love' even if it is an
More than 150 yes —You are in romantic love.
—You are only half love-sick.
—You are recovering from being 'in
or you were immune to this disease.
less than 50
—You are emerging from the illusion
(or you were never deluded by romance).
And you might be ready for loving beyond romantic illusions.
Romantic love can be an enjoyable
and harmless emotional game
—as long as we do not attempt to
construct our lives around it.
When we look deeply into the causes of romantic love,
we see that it is a complex, conventional set of feelings
implanted in us by popular culture.
This emotional response is private and self-contained,
sometimes stimulated by another person or an image of our Dream Lover.
But instead of 'falling in love',
we can create unique, singular relationships
—reality-based interactions, free,
based on knowledge, respect, & mutuality.
James Park is an existential
philosopher and author of
New Ways of Loving:
How Authenticity Transforms Relationships,
the first chapter of which is called
"Romantic Love is a Hoax! Emotional Programming
to 'Fall in Love' ".
essay above has also become a chapter in a new book:
Prevention: Loving Beyond
Romance, Sex, & Marriage.
If you have appreciated this critique of one dimension love,
you might also enjoy the deconstruction of other illusions.
you would like to have your own printed copy
of the whole test,
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The printed version of The Romantic Love Test
is a tall book of 12 pages inside a red card-stock cover:
11 inches tall, 4-1/4 inches wide.
It will not be reprinted when the current stock is sold out
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If you have already decided to get your own printed
of The Romantic Love Test,
you might want to consider other related books
such as New Ways
How Authenticity Transforms Relationships
or Growing in
21 Ways to Become Less Dependent & More Authentic
The publisher's website gives full information:
All your books can be sent in the same package,
thus saving you shipping costs.
Full information about New
Ways of Loving by James Park.
This link will also lead you to the contents
of Chapter 1:
"Romantic Love is a Hoax! Emotional
Programming to 'Fall in Love' "
Go to a complete
listing of resources critical of romantic illusions:
Return to the LOVE
Go to the opening page
for this website:
Existential Philosopher's Museum