Why is love forbidden?
First of all, I think it’s important to define what’s forbidden. I’ve always found it crazy that there are forbidden loves, but there are so many factors that can disrupt a relationship... Starting with the family! Yes, the ban can come from family rules (in other words, from a toxic family 😅).
I experienced this when I fell in love for the first time. My first boyfriend’s mother thought our age gap was too big. So she asked the man I was in love with at the time to leave me, or she’d cut him off. Of course, he quickly made up his mind, as he was barely of age and a student, and the situation would be too complicated.
Sometimes, couples are also confronted with differences of religion or even skin color. Worse still, in some countries, LGBTQIA+ people can’t have a relationship for fear of the death penalty. There are laws banning homosexual relations, notably in the Dominican Republic or, closer to home, in Morocco or Algeria 😥...
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An even more intense love
“Forbidden love is always the strongest.” Freud
The problem is that we’re often attracted by the forbidden, which makes the relationship even hotter. Mind you, I’m not talking about people who are subjected to inhumane laws. Rather, I’m referring to the bans we receive from people, as in my case. We knew that my ex-mother-in-law didn’t want us dating, but that made our relationship even spicier 😬.
However, why does it do that to us 🤔? In order to fully understand, I looked into a number of research studies. Here are the reasons I found:
- 👉 The scarcity effect: Psychologists Stephen Worchel and Jack Brehm explained that we give more value to something rare. As a result, in our eyes, a forbidden love immediately becomes much more precious!
- 👉 The excitement of transgression: I’ve already talked about this a little, but there’s a real theory of excitement developed by psychologists Stanley Schachter and Jerome Singer. Basically, our physical arousal intensifies our emotions, so the more forbidden it is, the more powerful our feelings are!
- 👉 The Romeo and Juliet effect: Here, I’m totally concerned by this theory by Driscoll, Davis, and Lipetz as their study showed that parental opposition to a relationship strengthens the love between the two partners.
- 👉 The drama side: I’ve talked a lot about Bowlby’s attachment theory on here, but it’s also relevant to our topic. According to the psychiatrist, obstacles to a love affair can create a sense of insecurity that strengthens attachment and the intensity of feelings towards someone.
Result? We rush headlong into this impossible story 🙃!
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Do we give up or not?
Ok, I’ve dissected all the aspects and reasons that push us towards forbidden love, but I still haven’t answered the central question: do we give up on it or do we get burnt? In fact, it all depends on what you have to lose, in short what’s at stake 👀.
Let me go back to my story. For me, I didn’t have much to lose because the forbidden part came from the family of my boyfriend at the time. He decided to give up on it because we were young and if we continued, he’d lose too much. His family, his financial support, the roof over his head, etc. So the decision was quickly made for him and even though it was a brutal break-up for me, now, with hindsight, I can fully understand.
The signs of doubt
There’s another question to ask yourself: is the other person worth the effort? Are there any potential red flags? In my story, we were young, and I think there were a lot of uncertainties 😥. So it’s good to do a bit of introspection and see if you have any doubts about this love affair or the person. There’s a proverb I like on this subject that says it all: “if there’s a doubt, there’s no doubt”. If you’re not sure, it’s better to give up on it rather than cut ties with your family or put yourself in danger 😞 (physical, mental, financial...).
The only person who can make this decision
Finally, to make the most informed choice possible, it’s important to remember that self-reflection is the only thing that can help us, as psychologist Alexandra Solomon explains. It’s essential to ask yourself why you’re attracted to this situation. Often, our desire to get involved in complex love stories is a reflection of unresolved problems, as researcher Judith Sills explains. In fact, she suggests that it’s better to work on this rather than continue the relationship 🤕.
It’s therefore crucial to be wary of our emotions and what the forbidden provokes in us. Every story is different, as is every life journey. We need to find the answer within ourselves to know whether we should risk living this forbidden love 💌.
Editor’s note: Feelings to be explored
Forbidden love is exciting, but the path is full of pitfalls. It’s essential to remember that in the tumult of emotions, it’s sometimes necessary to look for a lighthouse to guide us. A psychologist can be that lighthouse, providing a safe space to explore our feelings and help us navigate the complex waters of forbidden love. If you find yourself at a crossroads, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a professional. It could be the first step towards a deeper understanding of your heart and your path in life.
🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!
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