Speaker says romance fades fast

Andrea Onstad

If Valentine’s Day was a disappointment, don’t worry — it’s all a hoax, said one critic of romantic love.
University alumni and campus minister James Park presented a “Romantic Love is a Hoax” seminar Friday at Coffman Union. Park told an audience of 15 to transcend illusions and fantasy feelings of a romantic love and build relationships on substance and reality.
“Romantic love is not something that can last very long within a relationship,” said Park. “The romantic illusion disappears, then the relationship ends.”
The pre-Valentine’s Day program usually attracts people to a discussion of love and relationships.
“In the past, this program has received a lot of attention” said Forum Committee Chair Ann Le. This is the third year for Park’s program at the University, which was sponsored by the committee.
Park is used to negative reactions to his views of romantic love, attributing the controversy to people doubting their own feelings.
According to Park, romantic fantasies and delusions were invented for entertainment in medieval Europe 800 years ago. Since then, “romantic love has been a part of our culture as much as the English language, to such a deep degree it becomes natural.
“Romantic feelings are regarded as a natural response, and are often confused with sexual attraction, mate-selection and familiarity of being with the person,” said Park.
Romantic love is a result of cultural programming, Park added. Novels, songs and movies reinforce the notions of romantic illusions.
One audience member said she learned of the romantic responses to love by emulating others in romantic relationships. This reiterated Park’s view that “we see others who are in love and try to duplicate those feelings and responses within ourselves.”
During his seminar, Park emphasized “loving from authenticity requires communication, not just allowing feelings to flow.”
“It’s a common thing to run with our feelings,” said audience member Ryan Streeter. “We usually don’t think about them.”
Park said he doesn’t want to be known “merely as the grinch that stole Valentine’s Day.” He wants people to be aware of romantic ideals and to protect themselves from them.
“If you never question romantic love, you spend your whole life going around in circles, in and out of love,” said Park.