Love is one of the most complex concepts in human life. It has been a favored topic of philosophers, poets, writers and scientists for generations. It can be a feeling, an emotion, a state of being and an action. People use the word to describe their relationships with their spouses, partners, children, friends and family members as well as non-human animals, themselves, principles and religious beliefs.
Some people define love as a state of being, which can be described as caring, loyalty and devotion. Others describe it as an emotion that is characterized by feelings of attraction, tenderness and affection. In either case, it can be confusing to figure out what love means to you.
Even more confusing is trying to pin down what love actually feels like. Love can seem dreamy and euphoric, like walking on air or floating with the clouds. It can also be sexy, intense and all-consuming. It can lead to an irrational decision-making process and cause you to see the world through rose-colored glasses. You may miss your partner all the time, think of them constantly and feel an insatiable need to be with them. You might believe they are perfect and imagine that no one else could possibly meet their needs. During these times, you are in a high state of oxytocin, a natural hormone that increases when you’re in love.
Other types of love include infatuation, obsession and lust. They are often short-lived and don’t necessarily lead to a long-term commitment. Some experts believe that these feelings can lead to an ‘idealized’ version of the person you love, which is where the phrase ‘love is blind’ comes from.
Romantic love, which involves feelings of passion, intimacy and trust, is usually a long-term relationship. This kind of love is more likely to endure, though it can become stale or apathetic over time and requires constant renewal.
Another type of love is storge love, which is more about the shared values and interests of a couple than their physical attractiveness. People in storge love are loyal and supportive of each other, but they are not overly demanding or possessive.
Psychologists only began to study love as a specific concept about 75 years ago, and they have identified several different kinds of love. They have found that loving someone is different from being in love with them, and that romantic love can be either healthy or unhealthy, and helpful or harmful. Having a genuine, deep-level admiration for your partner is a key factor in making your relationship work. You should always consider whether your feelings for them are right for you before making any big decisions. If you’re sure it’s love (and sometimes your gut will give you a pretty good idea), then let them know. Having mutual respect and appreciation is the foundation of all happy relationships. Without it, love can quickly turn into a nightmare.