Falling in love or harassment?Joanna Craig
During last year around the time there were changes made to the law on harassment, I was reading a book by Robert Dunbar ‘The Signs of Love and Betrayal’ where there is a description of a recognised condition known as Clerambault’s syndrome (named after a French psychiatrist). It is an obsession or more particularly a delusional belief that a particular individual is very much in love with them. This particular belief is usually so intense that nothing the object of desire says or does will shake it. All attempts to stop the unwelcome attention of the individual concerned are interpreted as playing hard to get in order to test the suitor’s resolve. It is evidently more common in women. In fact it occurs more frequently in older women and more often women who are or have been married. There are a few examples of celebrities who have suffered from this and it also features in Ian McEwen’s novel ‘Enduring Love’. From an evolutionary point of view this kind of obsession makes a certain sense. Once you have made up your mind whom to take as your lifelong partner, then the best thing is to go for it as hard as you can. Although women are impressed by attentiveness, men are probably more easily swayed by persistence, if only because to quote the book “they are usually happier than women to settle for whatever they can get”. As Dunbar goes on to say life is much too short to waste time searching for Mr or Ms Perfect. There is a trade-off to be had between continuing to search forever and just getting on with the biological business that having a relationship is all about – reproduction. You are not going to do significantly better by rejecting an endless series of suitors in search of the perfect mate. Do not forget too, that even if the perfect mate does exist, they know how perfect they are so will only be willing to settle for the perfect mate of the opposite sex. They end up with the pick of the bunch.
If you wait around too long you may be completely left out. Anyway there is no such thing as the perfect mate although perhaps you need to believe you have found him or her.
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