What is love?
Love is one of the most profound emotions you can experience. Love is bigger than what you are, as you can’t choose when and how to love. Sometimes, it’s so powerful, you can find yourself in love with a person you don’t even like. Because love doesn’t have an agenda, doesn’t come with conditions or even reason. And still, how does it appear, what does it mean?
The 3 psychological dimensions of romantic love
The lust or sex drive. The need of mating in order to reproduce and insure the survival of the species is present in humans like in any other beings. Lust is a part of love, but it can’t be substituted to love itself. You can choose to have sex with people you are not in love with to satisfy a craving, but you surely feel lust towards the person you are in love with.
The attraction or romantic love. The obsessive thoughts you have towards the person you love are probably the most consuming you have felt so far. No matter what you do, you think about the other person and that makes feel you better about yourself and more confident in your strengths, happier, and more optimistic.
The attachment or feeling of deep union. The loyalty and commitment love causes makes you feel blind to temptations or external factors that could perturb your love and well-being. When the attachment is created, you feel the need to share and experience everything with your loved one, creating a new singular entity – the couple.
The scientific definition of love
According to anthropologist Helen Fisher, Senior Research Fellow at the Kinsey Institute, chemicals in our brains are the ones responsible for the emotions we are experiencing when we are in love. These emotions can range from bonding to bliss and they appear as the feeling evolves through the 3 psychological dimensions mentioned above. Novelty drives up levels of dopamine and oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin is a chemical that makes people calm and helps them become attached to one another.
Love as infatuation, commitment and compatibility
There are different ways you can choose to experience love. Infatuated love, for instance, means letting an obsession with someone become the root of the relationship. This means that you are rather in love with the idea that you are in love and in a relationship than with a real person and what that person is and means to you.
Committed love is the love that requires and feeds out of loyalty, dedication and exclusivity. This type of feeling can’t be shared with anyone else than your loved one, has no comparison and relies on exclusivity, persistence and longevity. Also, it is developed and nurtured by constant hard work.
Compatibility means awareness and enthusiasm to the fact you and your loved one share common values, likes, dislikes, interests, political or philosophical points of view. Although sometimes opposites attract, relationships have better chances to grow and last when they are developed within a calm, natural and easy going environment, between people who can easily communicate, adapt to each other’s schedule, interests or goals.
The “holy rules” of love
No matter the person you have felt in love with, remember that:
You can’t make someone love you and you can’t prevent someone from loving you.
Love can’t be bought with gifts or favors.
Love is not a commodity and you can’t trade it for any gain.
Love is not a reward. You can’t turn it off as a punishment and you can’t offer it as an award.
Love doesn’t necessarily mean sex. Sex can be part of a loving relationship, but sex doesn’t always mean love.
Love makes you kind, giving and understanding towards the other person. An obsessive, jealousy-prone and control-obsessed attitude is an indicator you are not truly in love or you are not in love with the right person.
Love has no deadline. When you are in love, you can’t control your feelings based on a schedule.