The feeling of love is an all-inclusive, complex and elusive emotional state that has been the subject of art, culture and scientific research over the centuries. The complexity of the subject and its varied meanings makes it particularly difficult to define and explain, making it one of the most controversial topics in psychology.
Psychologists, therapists and researchers disagree about the nature of love and whether it can be considered an emotion in itself (Sabini & Silver, 2005). Some say that love is simply an essential physiological drive, while others consider it an entirely separate emotional state with its own set of characteristics. Still others argue that love is a cultural phenomenon, one that arises partly due to social pressures and expectations (Sabini & Silver, 2006).
When in love?
When you fall in love, you tend to feel a strong, positive, optimistic feeling that comes with the knowledge that the person you’re in love with is there for you. This type of feeling is called a “signal” and can help you decide if you’re in love, says psychologist David Kang.
It also gives you a sense of security and stability in your life, says therapist John Gunther. This feeling of safety is based on the relationship’s bond and mutual trust, he adds. It also helps you deal with challenges and problems in your life.
Love is an emotion that varies from one person to the next and can change over time. It’s important to recognize the differences between your own and your partner’s feelings, so you can both work toward a healthy relationship.
You should never be afraid to seek professional help for your love life, especially if things are getting out of hand. Licensed marriage and family therapists can help you navigate through your emotions and build a stronger, more lasting relationship.
Defining love in terms of a love style
There are three primary love styles: eros, storge and pragma. People follow these styles when they are in a romantic relationship with a partner or in a friendship or family relationship.
During the course of a relationship, a person can go through a range of emotions and moods, from being in a state of passion to being in a state of fear. These changes can be hard to track and understand, but they do occur.
Scientists have used MRI scanners to study the brain activity of people in love and found that people who are madly in love have more activity in certain areas of their brain, including the caudate nucleus, which is part of the reward system and associated with desire.
They also found that the brain activity of those who are in a romantic relationship changes when they experience pain, and that the love can mask some feelings of pain by stimulating a similar area of the brain to the ones used by painkillers.
The science of love has evolved tremendously over the years. The latest research indicates that love is a complex emotional state that can be defined by three key components: intimacy, passion and commitment.