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The Arc of Love

How Our Romantic Lives Change over Time

Is love best when it is fresh? For many, the answer is a resounding “yes.” The intense experiences that characterize new love are impossible to replicate, leading to wistful reflection and even a repeated pursuit of such ecstatic beginnings.

Aaron Ben-Ze’ev takes these experiences seriously, but he’s also here to remind us of the benefits of profound love—an emotion that can only develop with time. In The Arc of Love, he provides an in-depth, philosophical account of the experiences that arise in early, intense love—sexual passion, novelty, change—as well as the benefits of cultivating long-term, profound love—stability, development, calmness. Ben-Ze’ev analyzes the core of emotions many experience in early love and the challenges they encounter, and he offers pointers for weathering these challenges. Deploying the rigorous analysis of a philosopher, but writing clearly and in an often humorous style with an eye to lived experience, he takes on topics like compromise, commitment, polyamory, choosing a partner, online dating, and when to say “I love you.” Ultimately, Ben-Ze’ev assures us, while love is indeed best when fresh, if we tend to it carefully, it can become more delicious and nourishing even as time marches on.

Author Information

Aaron Ben-Ze’ev is professor of philosophy at the University of Haifa.


"Ben-Ze'ev offers in his book The Arc of Love a unique approach on how to gain and maintain an enduring loving relationship."
— XinhuaNet

“Aaron Ben-Ze’ev’s new book The Arc of Love is an enthralling account of why so many people today end up in a series of meaningless short-term relationships, hoping that one day they will meet their perfect match. But Ben-Ze’ev doesn’t settle for identifying the root cause of why we are having trouble finding profound long-lasting love. Throughout the book he offers practical advice that can help you get rid of your unrealistic ideals and show you how you can come to experience the magic of being able to grow old with the person you love.”
— Berit “Brit” Brogaard, author of On Romantic Love

“It is important, when contemplating the nature of love, to remember that every romantic love relationship, like the people involved in it, has a history. Love is not static; it is a thing with a story, a thing that takes place in time. Aaron Ben-Ze’ev’s wide-ranging new book, The Arc of Love, which focuses on this aspect of love, will be of interest to philosophers, psychologists, and others who are doing their best to think adequately about this significant, meaningful, very human phenomenon.”
— Troy Jollimore, author of Syllabus of Errors

The Arc of Love is a deeply thoughtful analysis that weaves together psychological insights with philosophy, neuroscience, sociology, economics, pop culture, literature, and real stories from real people to show how profound and enduring long-term romantic love is achievable. It untangles a dense web of unhelpful myths, mysteries, and assumptions about love and gives us an arsenal of handy intellectual tools with which to open up new romantic possibilities. It also strikes a playful balance between serious scholarly inquiry and almost poetic prose that makes it delightfully readable and, at times, laugh-out-loud funny. Ben-Ze’ev’s optimism about keeping and enhancing romantic and personal flourishing is contagious and inspiring.”
— Skye Cleary, author of Existentialism and Romantic Love

Audience: Professional and scholarly;