hedonism vs love?

Is it possible for a person who claims to be a hedonist to have a deep and meaningful, reciprocal relationship with someone else?
Does the word “love” need to be redefined to accomodate this?
What if someone who claims to be a hedonist also claims to have a deep, loving, spiritual connection with someone else? Is that a front??
I know Freud postulated that hedonism is the only true way to happiness, but didn’t he also believe that true happiness is impossible?

I don’t see how love is contradicted by the pursuit of pleasure. Can you explain where you see the conflict?


I guess that my vocabulary isn’t sufficient to explain it fully…

I don't necessarily see a conflict between love and the pursuit of pleasure...  

That’s why I asked if “love” needs to be redefined.
If the person who claims to be a hedonist is against having a “committed relationship”, per say, is it pointless to continue something that might end up with the other person WANTING a “committed relationship”? And I don’t think that love=“committed relationship”, but eing “in love” sometimes does imply a certain expectation of reciprocity like one might find in such a relationship…

I think it’s pointless to attempt to have a committed relationship with someone who doesn’t want one. Everything else is too specific to the individual case to answer.


If a deep and meaningful, reciprocal relationship with someone else is a source of pleasure for a hedonist, then why wouldn’t it be possible?

Is the definition of a committed relationship, “I will love and be with you even when it makes me miserable and unhappy?”

Why would someone want to be loved by a person who is not happy loving them?

In my opinion, it can be extremely rewarding to work through problems in order to sustain a worthy romantic relationship. But once it becomes clear that the relationship doesn’t make you happy…it is insanity not to move on. It is not a matter of hedonism, it is simply the definition of a healthy relationship.

Of course, I am only talking about romantic relationships. Relationships with children do have additional weighty considerations. That is why you really need to know who you are and what you are doing BEFORE becoming a parent.

FudgeNugget, that is a great point…
I don’t know if the person involved sees those types of relationships as pleasurable, but I certainly do, so… and the OTHER person involved doesn’t even need that type of relationship, just the possibility of one…

A friend once said to me that hedonists are unable to form meaningful connections with others because of their own selfish desire for self-pleasure, but then I started thinking that if it causes pleasure to cause pleaure in others, isn’t that as meaningful as you can get? Then both parties are happy…

Hedonists don’t necessarily have to be selfish. Anything that’s pleasurable goes, from the selfish stuff like drugs and alcohol to having a loving relationship. If both parties are happy, then I say again, its certainly possible for a hedonist to be in a good relationship.

Well, I’m going to have to address these points seperately…
No, I don’t think of a “committed relationship” as one that is love no matter what the situation. What I’m talking about is “You are the one I want to be with above all others, I have an emotional attachment to you and all that you stand for”… but of course if it makes either person miserable then moving on the most respectful and responsible thing to do.
I think your second question is more to the point of my central question, though… love is such a broad term, and though a person can love someone as a human and love things about that person, someone could not force their romantic love on that person nor expect him/her to return it without explicit consent.
Yes, working through problems in a worthy relationship is healthy. In fact, I think it’s a hallmark of a worthy relationhip if those involved can decide to work through their issues. The person I refer to has repeatedly spoken of not wanting “structural dependence”,; I guess they had been in a very controlling relaitonship previously and don’t ever want the possibility again… it just seems like that’s closing the door on what could be a very positive experience…

As for children., you’re right, that does take on an added dimension. Speaking from experience, children can easily take up so much time that working through relationship issues just takes a back burner. I, for one, have almost no idea who I really am anymore, having spent the past 6 years being mom and lover and worker, etc. Makes me WANT to take a hedonistic approach to the things that I do, even though I know that a lot of worthy things cause as much pain as pleasure. I can totally see why someone would be unwilling to enter a situation that is controlling by nature, wherein they don’t have a choice as to what they do or what their real interests are. With children, the choice is very limited… I don’t have a choice, for instance, as to whether I work or whether I’m at home being mom, or whatever, I made that choice when I decided to become a parent. but that’s a different topic, my apologies javascript:smilie(’;)’)

“The person I refer to has repeatedly spoken of not wanting “structural dependence”,; I guess they had been in a very controlling relaitonship previously and don’t ever want the possibility again… it just seems like that’s closing the door on what could be a very positive experience…”

Yea…that is a very common situation. If this person is a good, loving, honest soul…and male…then he is rare and I would just continue to enjoy the time you have with him. If you love him and are patient, and you make each other happy, one day he will relax.

But if he is really simply a player taking what he wants no strings attached, don’t delude yourself into thinking he will ever want more than regular booty calls.

It sounds like a “committed relationship” is what will make you happiest. But there simply are not a lot of decent men in the world. If this person is a good one, I would be reluctant to give hime the boot simply because he is currently not ready for a rigid relationship.

On the other hand, if you are talking about a woman, unless they are really something special, I suggest moving on. There are plenty of wonderful honest loving women in the world looking for a committed relationship. Continue “dating” this person and continue to meet other people. In fact, either way that is probably a good idea.

(hope you aren’t offended that I don’t know if you are talking about a male or female. I didn’t see anything in your post that clearly told me. I don’t even know if you are male or female. But in my estimation, it makes a big difference for your situation.)

wait…you are a mom…so you are a woman. Sorry for being a dolt. :slight_smile:

heheh no problem. Actually, this issue only peripherally (sic?) involves me… It does, however, involve someone that is very close to me and someone I’ve only just met… the guy (my good friend) and this chick (the “hedonist”)… and I like 'em both quite a bit, so I don’t wanna seem too down on either side…
He really thinks she is something special, and he’s concerned that if they start a physical relationship then he might “fall in love” with her, even though he has no clear answer as to whether or not that would definately happen. And she has made it clear in her dealing with me that she thinks love ought to be free of attachment, but has not specifially said she wouldn’t appreciate or enjoy his forming such an attachment.

And there’s a lot of other <ahem> sticky issues, some of which do involve me, but none of them is central to the point. This woman sez she’s a hedonist and wouldn’t want to cause pain to anyone in the situation … and seems to imply that being a “one and only” would be painful to one or both of them… And she also sez that she doesn’t believe in romance, cause it’s just a product of chemistry, which is to propagate the species… and I believe differently, and I know this guy believes differently (though he’s loathe to admit it right now).
And to make it all the more confusing, I’m in more of a position to agree with both sides than either one of them is to agree with each other on this point. Everyone here agrees on the principle of love withought attachment and expectation… just love becuase it feels good to love someone (and I’m not necessarily talking physically) and becuase you enjoy someone’s company… but when you start talking about love as an institution or love as a lifelong prospect, then it gets hairy. I, for one, feel like there’s alawys someone out there with whom I might want to spend the rest of my life… And I think my friend feels the same way… and I’m not certain the chick thinks so. soo…


Wow, the woman is the hedonist who loathes attachment? Highly unusual.