Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Admiration

Several days ago, I talked to my Brazilian friend. She told me she still admires me. The word admiration struck a nerve. I’ve never written about admiration in relationships. I do know how important it is: when I lose it, the flame dies. Valentine’s Day is an appropriate day for this topic.

Research by Dr. John Gottman of the Gottman Institute showed that “fondness and admiration are two of the most crucial elements in a rewarding and long-lasting romance. Getting through stressful times and managing conflict is much easier if you and your partner regularly show how highly you value each other” (Gottman).

A 2012 Psychology Today article may explain why: admiration and affection or fondness build an emotional bank account of positive feelings prior to (marital) conflict. PT-2012: “As the account builds, we tend to override our tendency to see our partner negatively when stress causes irritability, allowing us to use our reservoir of positive feelings to be forgiving.” Please also see my related 2016 blog The ledger of a relationship.

One of the most remarkable insights came from a 2010 Psychology Today article: “The woman should desire the man and the man should admire the woman’s characteristics“. Aaron Ben-Zeév, the writer, is surprised as he “felt sure that the opposite is true”. The article continues by explaining the validity of this quote by Professor Yehshieo Leibovitz (Wiki?).

PT-2010: “we can conclude that women generally give less weight to the aspect of physical attractiveness and hence the issue of (sexual) desire is of less significance for them. If despite the lesser weight, a woman greatly desires her man it indicates that she is highly attracted to him and that is likely to be connected to her admiration of him as well.”

PT-2010: “The same reasoning applies to men. If, despite the lesser weight men give to such characteristics, a man admires the characteristics of his woman, it indicates that he rates her characteristics highly and that is likely to be connected to his great desire for her.”

The question whether you can love someone whom you don’t admire is the topic of several articles: Elite DailyExploring Your Mind, HuffPostPsych Central. Love without admiration might explain today’s high divorce rates. People may also confuse love with lust (eg, Elite DailyGuardian, sexMD, YourTango). Both may explain the success of dating apps (eg, Tinder).

In my 2016 blog, I mentioned the 7 criteria for a successful relationship, being: communication, forgiveness, intimacy, respect, togetherness, trust, and vulnerability. With the knowledge of hindsight, admiration would have been more appropriate as a criterion than respect. Admiration is always for the other person while respect no longer is (my 2015 blog).

Love is a combination of admiration, respect, and passion. If you have one of those going, that’s par for the course. If you have two, you aren’t quite world class but you’re close. If you have all three, then you don’t need to die; you’re already in heaven.” A quote from William Wharton.

I Can’t Make You Love Me (1991) by Bonnie Raitt
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

‘Cuz I can’t make you love me if you don’t.
You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t.

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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