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Monday, May 20, 2013

Character Archetypes 101: The Lover

I'm happy to have The Lover with me today, who took time off from passionately seeking personal fulfillment in order for me to analyze (and only analyze) him while he's on my couch. The Lover is also known as The Partner, Sensualist, Intimate, Friend, Enthusiast, Spouse, and Team-Builder.

The "Good"

When you think of the word "lover," the mind goes to sex, but the Love is far more than the physical act. Think broader in terms of sensuality--using all one's senses in all the areas of one's life--to passionately open up the realm of his experience and be moved on a deeper level. The Lover appreciates beauty and relationships of all types, and enjoys connecting with and committing to others through shared interests, social pursuits, and emotional intelligence.

Lovers are charming and charismatic, friendly and fun. They have an enthusiastic appetite for life (bon vivante), and greatly appreciate emotions, intense feelings, idealism, optimism, and harmony. They are most fulfilled by building relationships, whether romantic or platonic. However, infatuation, seduction, falling in love...these are states of being with which the Lover is most familiar.

They put a lot of energy toward gaining the reciprocal love of another and achieving intimacy. Romantic forms of expression are fulfilling, a way of being whole. A Lover may want to engage in multiple sexual encounters or simply have sex for the sake of the act, but they may also be celibate Lovers who prefer to fantasize about being in love instead.

The "Bad"

As you might expect, there is no small amount of drama with Lovers. From teen heartache to tawdry affairs to broken homes and marriages, the impulsive search for intimacy and fulfillment can lead to jealousy, envy, fixation and obsession. (Glenn Close, anyone?) Maliciousness and vindictiveness can take root, and Lovers can use their skills to lure others away from their quests (like a siren) or seduce for sake of conquest.

Lovers can objectify others and even develop addictions to romance and/or sex, which leads to out-of-control behavior and sexuality. Promiscuity is one thing, but taken to an extreme shadow side, the Lover can experience a need to greedily devour the object of their love.

Lovers are known aesthetics who appreciate physical beauty. They work hard to make good impressions, and their self-esteem can be tied to their perception of how others interact with them. They might have such an outward-directed desire to please others that they risk losing their own identity. They may avoid conflict to be part of the clique, resulting in them being untrue to themselves.

Likely Goals

To be intimate
To be in a relationship
To sustain a relationship
To experience life to the fullest
To create harmony amongst others

Likely Fears

To be alone
To be rejected/unwanted/unloved
To lose the love they already have
To instigate disharmony 

Examples in the Media

Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic
Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca 
Glenn Close as Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction
Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility
Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet
Delilah in the BibleAnthony Quinn as Alexis Zorba in Zorba the Greek
Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
Nicholas Cage as Ronny Cammareri in Moonstruck
Don Juan

Archetypes Who've Completed Therapy

The Innocent
The Orphan
The Hero  
The Caregiver
The Explorer  
The Rebel

Let's Analyze

After reading about The Lover, are you surprised that s/he also has the moniker "The Friend?" It seemed a bit out of place to me at first, but upon reflection, I can see many ties. What about you?