Love and friendship


Latest Popular


Addiction Ageing and death Childhood and adolescence Cognition and intelligence Consciousness and altered states Family life Gender and identity Language and linguistics Life stages Love and friendship Mental health Mood and emotion Neurodiversity Neuroscience Personality Pleasure and pain Psychiatry and psychotherapy Self-improvement Sex and sexuality Sleep and dreams Social psychology Spirituality Teaching and learning Technology and the self Wellbeing
Illustration by Paul Blow
Essay/
Ethics
A theory of jerks

Are you surrounded by fools? Are you the only reasonable person around? Then maybe you’re the one with the jerkitude

Eric Schwitzgebel

Photo by Redux/eyevine

Essay/
Sex and sexuality
Kept women

Mistresses are big business in China, where no official is a real man without his own ernai. What’s in it for the girls?

James Palmer

From a 1959 edition of the Ladies’ Home Journal. Illustration by Coby Whitmore

Essay/
Family life
Lock up your wives!

Advice columns from decades past provide a chilling glimpse into the horrors of marriage counselling before feminism

Rebecca Onion

French teenagers on a boat in the Seine river, Paris, 1988. Photo by David Alan Harvey/Magnum
Essay/
Love and friendship
Bad friends

Even the best of friends can fill you with tension and make you sick. Why does friendship so readily turn toxic?

Carlin Flora

Photo supplied by the author

Essay/
Love and friendship
My mom

I love her and it’s a secret. I love her so much it kills me, and you bet I’d sooner die than tell her

Mary H K Choi

Photo by Ilya Naymushin/Reuters

Essay/
Love and friendship
Buddhists in love

Lovers crave intensity, Buddhists say craving causes suffering. Is it possible to be deeply in love yet truly detached?

Lisa Feldman Barrett & John Dunne

After all these years. Photo by Chris Stowers/Panos Pictures
Essay/
Family life
Endless love

We no longer expect passion to last a lifetime, but some couples do stay in love to the end. What’s their secret?

Aaron Ben-Ze’ev

Photo by Jean-François Monnot/EyeEm/Getty

Essay/
Love and friendship
Real love stories

Romantic expectations are often ridiculous and unhelpful, but attachment science can guide us to real and lasting love

Sue Johnson

Anna and Elsa from Frozen (2013). Image courtesy of Disney Inc. All rights reserved

Essay/
Film and visual culture
Love isn’t what it was

In a strangely unremarked-upon twist, Disney films have taken to subverting romance and rethinking the happy-ever-afters

Sophus Helle

 What Freedom! 1903 by Ilya Repin. The Russian Museum, St Petersburg. Courtesy Wikimedia

Essay/
Gender and identity
Romantic regimes

Love in the West is consumerist – we choose a partner to give us what we think we need. But Russians do things differently

Polina Aronson

Austin, Texas. 1963. Photo by Thomas Hoepker/Magnum

Essay/
Social psychology
Rejection kills

The brain makes no distinction between a broken bone and an aching heart. That’s why social exclusion needs a health warning

Elitsa Dermendzhiyska

Elise Hardy/Gamma-Rapho/Getty
Essay/
Mood and emotion
Only the lonely

Loneliness is hell: debilitating yet formative. Can we avoid the pains of loneliness yet enjoy the pleasures of solitude?

Cody Delistraty

‘Hold back the talons of your paws/Let me gaze into your beautiful eyes.’ Charles Baudelaire, ‘Le Chat’. Photo by Gallery Stock

Essay/
Love and friendship
If a cat could talk

Felines walk the line between familiar and strange. We stroke them and they purr, then in a trice they pounce

David Wood

Couple in the kitchen, USA, 1952. From the series ‘Love Story’. Photo by Dennis Stock/Magnum

Essay/
Love and friendship
Love is a joint project

For Simone de Beauvoir, authentic love is an ethical undertaking: it can be spoilt by devotion as much as by selfishness

Kate Kirkpatrick

Antoñito. Romería de Santa Marta de Ribarteme, the Festival of Near-Death Experiences. Galicia, Spain, 1981. Photo by Cristina Garcia Rodero/Magnum

Essay/
Death
Against mourning

It takes a lifetime of preparation to grieve as the Stoics did – without weeping and wailing, but with a heart full of love

Brian D Earp

Hmmmmm... Photo by Getty

Essay/
Love and friendship
Why women stray

Evolutionary theory says men stray to increase offspring, but what motivates women? Enter the mate-switching hypothesis

David Buss

True love: more made than found. Rome, 1994. Photo by Steve McCurry/Magnum

Essay/
History of ideas
What is love?

Forget the modern romantic notion of ‘the one’. True love means looking beyond the couple and out towards life

Mark Vernon

A mother and daughter in Chinatown in New York. Photo by Steve McCurry/Magnum

Essay/
Love and friendship
The science of love

We each carry an intricate machinery of love, calibrating and attuning our moods and bodies to one another

Barbara Fredrickson

Photo by Martin Parr/Magnum

Essay/
Ethics
Imagine there’s no jealousy

Why we should understand jealousy as nothing more than a vice that ought to be replaced by the new virtue of compersion

Luke Brunning

Five O'Clock. Plate VII from the series Intimacies (1898), by Félix Edouard Vallotton. Courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago

Essay/
Love and friendship
The joy of intimacy

A polyamorous friend challenges me: are you really happily monogamous or are you just hung up about your philandering dad?

Lily Dunn

Photo by Ante Badzim/Getty

Essay/
Sex and sexuality
Being asexual

What is it like to feel love and share physical intimacy yet feel no sexual attraction to the person you are with?

Natasha McKeever & Luke Brunning

Photo by Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty

Essay/
Love and friendship
How to find The One

Hold out for the perfect partner or settle for good enough? In the calculus of love, flourishing means getting it right

Aaron Ben-Ze’ev