What Is Rational Love

Women's Dating

What is Rational Love?

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

See full bio »

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!
Advertiser Disclosure

It’s hard to imagine, but centuries ago there was no such thing as romantic love, at least not in marriage.

Most marital unions were either arranged or based on a logical, rational decision to blend lives because it made sense for economic or political reasons.

Back then, romantic love lived in art, music, poetry and in the tortured hearts of men and women who were married to someone else.

Around the time of the industrial revolution, when a middle class began to emerge, the idea of romantic love became accepted as a basis to marry.

Soon after, art, music and novels began to show new themes.

Love songs now sang about commitment but also ominous lyrics and prose that told of downtrodden women who made poor romantic love choices and paid dearly for it.

Nevertheless, romantic love became the necessary ingredient for marriage in Western culture. And it has remained so for about a century.

Now researchers who study our most personal relationships are forecasting a return to rational love today, as the rise of women is producing dwindling numbers of male peers who can or will make a commitment within a woman’s fertility window.

“Women who ‘marry up’ think of love

as a choice instead of a lottery win.”

So what is rational love?

The difference between romantic love and rational love is an awareness of power and choice amongst the heady rush of dopamine and sex hormones.

If romantic love is based on chance and the total immersion into sexual attraction, rational love is based on self-control and sound decision-making skills.

Both can be hot and exciting, but rational love is unleashed in a calculated, responsible fashion.

In fact, research shows relationships that begin with hot sexual chemistry often have the worst long-term outcomes.

Relationships that begin with a friendship score higher on happiness, faithfulness and longevity.

Smart women have engaged in rational love for centuries.

Women who “marry up” think of love as a choice instead of a lottery win.

These women may appear to be social climbers, but they choose to unleash their passion and sexuality on men who exhibit signs of being a good provider, whether through money and social connections (or both).

However, with the dwindling number of successful men, Liza Mundy, author of “The Richer Sex,” interviewed women in the mating marketplace today who are choosing to “marry down” by selecting their mates based on domestic skills and fatherhood potential rather than income.

Mundy’s subjects still deeply love, trust and respect their husbands, but make no mistake, they have engaged in rational love.

Advertiser Disclosure

DatingAdvice.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). DatingAdvice.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

Our Editorial Review Policy

Our site is committed to publishing independent, accurate content guided by strict editorial guidelines. Before articles and reviews are published on our site, they undergo a thorough review process performed by a team of independent editors and subject-matter experts to ensure the content’s accuracy, timeliness, and impartiality. Our editorial team is separate and independent of our site’s advertisers, and the opinions they express on our site are their own. To read more about our team members and their editorial backgrounds, please visit our site’s About page.