Love is a complex emotion that’s been the subject of many literary works and films. It’s an emotion that can make you feel like you’re on top of the world, or it can leave you feeling like you are completely lost. There are many different types of love, from romantic love between partners to familial and platonic love between family members. The concept of love can also be applied to non-human animals, political beliefs, and religious belief systems.
Despite the complexity of love, researchers have some general ideas about what it is and how it works. Some researchers believe that love is a biological drive, similar to hunger or thirst. Others believe that love is a complex emotion composed of several primary emotions. Still, other experts suggest that it may be impossible to define exactly what love is, as it’s a unique experience for each person.
Romantic love is one of the most well-known types of love. It’s the kind that makes your cheeks flush and your palms sweat, and it causes a jumble of chemicals in the brain, including dopamine (pleasure), adrenaline (alertness) and norepinephrine (adrenaline). When you fall in love, these substances are released into your bloodstream, giving you that rush of euphoria and desire. As you continue to spend time together, the levels of these hormones decrease and those of oxytocin (the ‘cuddle’ hormone) increase. This is when you begin to feel close to the person and start making long-term plans.
The physical and emotional effects of romance include a dry mouth, butterflies in your stomach, weak knees, separation anxiety, and craving for sex as well as an emotional union. There is even an evolutionary basis for this type of love, with research showing that it exists in 147 of 166 cultures studied.
Intimate partner love is another type of love that’s been studied extensively by researchers. This type of love is the basis for many relationships, including marriages and families. Intimate partner love is a combination of three main components: attraction, lust and attachment. Attraction is the initial attraction between two people, lust is the sexual excitement that comes with being in love, and attachment is the emotional bond that develops as you become closer to the other person.
Other forms of love include friendship and parental love, which are both more stable than romantic relationships. Friendship and parental love are both based on mutual respect, care, and affection, which is often shown through actions such as spending time together, sharing food or stories, and giving each other support. They are also less intense than romantic love and usually last longer, though they can fade over time if you stop doing the things that made you fall in love. However, they can be just as rewarding and satisfying if you put in the work to keep them alive.