Why Love Hurts Book Summary - Why Love Hurts Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Why Love Hurts summary

Eva Illouz

A Sociological Explanation

3.5 (47 ratings)
12 mins
Table of Contents

    Why Love Hurts
    summarized in 6 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 6

    Love between women and men was long characterized by inequality, but now things are improving.

    If you walk into a bookstore, you’ll find shelves loaded with self-help books about love and marriage. This proliferation of literature suggests that people are having an increasingly difficult time finding and keeping a suitable mate.

    But why is that?

    Well, it might be psychological. Some people are too shy to approach potential partners, or may have had poor relationship experiences in the past. But there are also social reasons for the increasing difficulty of dating – and these social factors have a long history.

    Love between women and men used to be marked by stark inequality. From the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, the concept of love was overloaded with ideas of chivalry and romance.

    Men were expected to defend women, who were considered weaker, and could expect a woman’s devotion in return. During this time, the inferiority of women was deeply ingrained in the way people conceptualized love.  

    Since women were considered more fragile, men’s role was to protect them. In this way, love became a way of displaying masculinity and honor, while entrenching gender inequalities.

    Thankfully, inequality between men and women has decreased with modernity, which has also transformed the nature of love.

    This change was especially marked during the 1960s when heterosexual relationships were reshaped by the sexual revolution and a new wave of feminism. The result has been a dramatic movement toward gender parity and a division between sex and emotions.

    At the same time, socioeconomic shifts made love more important in marriages. In the past, socioeconomic compatibility was a precondition for love because marriage was seen as a strategic decision to form alliances and reinforce two families’ finances. But as forming alliances became less important, love became central to marriage.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Why Love Hurts?

    Key ideas in Why Love Hurts

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Why Love Hurts about?

    Why Love Hurts (2012) is about the history of love, romance and relationships. These blinks detail the gender differences, cultural expectations and social structures that shape our conception of love and make it one of the more difficult emotions to experience.

    Best quote from Why Love Hurts

    Men need womens recognition less than women need mens recognition . . . , men and women both need other mens recognition.

    —Eva Illouz
    example alt text

    Who should read Why Love Hurts?

    • Men who are fed up with being called unemotional
    • Women who are tired of being considered clingy
    • Singles who struggle to maintain relationships

    About the Author

    Eva Illouz is a professor of sociology and anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She researches the history of emotions and capitalism’s impact on our private lives. Her recent titles include Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism and Saving the Modern Soul. Therapy, Emotions, and the Culture of Self-Help.

    Categories with Why Love Hurts

    Books like Why Love Hurts

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    26 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial