1. It occurs between adult human beings
2. Its intentionality need not always be characterised by beliefs, but could be characterised by mere thoughts or images
3. It might outlast its originating beliefs about the beloved
4. It is a long-term emotion, one that is possessed by the lover for a long period and as such need not be constantly felt (especially when reciprocated)
5. It seems to include the desire on the part of the lover to be with the beloved
6. Like many other emotions, it is inherently neither morally good nor bad
7. It typically starts passionately, only to calm down as time goes by, without, however, necessarily becoming any less deep or intense; indeed, it may, and probably does, deepen as the years go by (especially when reciprocated)
8. It has the desire to have sex with the beloved (a desire that might not remain throughout a long-lasting love relationship)
9. It is exclusive
10. When reciprocated, it exists between only two people
11. When reciprocated, it pushes the lovers towards marriage (legal or substantive)
12. When reciprocated over a long period, its emotional intensity and dependence are more intense and thorough than what we find among friends and different in kind than what we find between parents and children
13. There are social expectations that the lovers are the primary recipients of each other’s time, attention and energy, and affection
14. When reciprocated, it limits the autonomy of the lovers.
15. It has jealousy as one of its main accompany emotions
16. It always has concern on the part of the lover for the well-being of the beloved
According to Professor Raja Halwani, who had made a study of the Philosophy of Love, Sex and Marriage, only one of these factors is absolutely necessary to romantic love – Number 16. Factors 8 to 15 are generally necessary, and factors 1 to 7 are only sometimes found in romantic love.
Professor Halwani’s work is an attempt to look at love, sex and marriage analytically, not through the lens of psychology, psychoanalysis, anthropology or sociology or even Continental philosophy. His hope is that by reflecting on these things, we will clarify our thinking, think more about our values and make changes to our actions and lives “so that we treat others more justly, think of them more openly, and place the proper values on love, sex, and marriage”. The list above features early on in the book and is descriptive not normative …
The list principally seems to describe a relationship that is dyadic, that two people agree on. It assumes an agreement over the content of the relationship (such as the amount of time devoted to the beloved vis a vis other people, for example) and the limits or reach of the relationship. It differentiates romantic love from all other forms of love, yet many other forms of love share many of its features. It is, however, not neutral as to its value, or its relative value when compared with other forms of love, for it assumes that it is given a priority over other love relationships (Factor 13).