When you fall in love, you can’t help but feel a giddy feeling that may be difficult to describe. However, love is much more than a feeling. It is the way you act, the things you do and the commitment you make.
While some people believe in the concept of “love at first sight,” most experts say that real love requires time to get to know someone and for the feeling of deep affection to develop. Unlike simple liking, true love cares about the person and their well-being as a whole and is unconditional.
In the past two decades, scientific research on emotion has increased dramatically. Researchers have categorized three primary and three secondary and nine tertiary emotions, including fear, anger, sadness, jealousy, happiness and love. The most common emotion described as love is a combination of passion, intimacy and loyalty. It is a complex emotional state, and it’s also a powerful force for good in the world.
People who experience love describe it differently, and it is influenced by their genetics, personality and relationship history. Generally, loving people tend to have a more mature understanding of relationships than those who are not in love. They are also more likely to seek out and share positive experiences with the people they love, according to research.
Many people have more than one type of love, and they usually exhibit a mix of the three primary styles: eros, pragma and agape. Eros is a passionate, sexual love that is based on attraction and physical intimacy. It is often accompanied by physiological arousal and a desire to spend more time with the loved one. Pragmatic love is a kind of practical, realistic commitment that often results from a desire to make the best possible choices for a relationship. It’s characterized by a strong need for security and a preoccupation with the well-being of the partner. Agape is a self-sacrificing love that stems from a sense of duty and morality.
It is important to note that while the feeling of love can change and mellow over time, it never really goes away. It is just that sometimes there are days, weeks or even longer when you don’t feel all mushy-gushy in love with your significant other. And that’s okay!
Neurophysiological studies show that when you are madly in love, your brain is flooded with dopamine, the brain’s natural feel-good chemical. In particular, an area called the ventral tegmental area is active during a rush of euphoria triggered by romantic love. The same area of the brain is activated when you take cocaine, a mood-enhancing drug.