What is This Thing Called Love?

What is actually love? Is it an emotion, a drive, an action, a need, or something else?

What we certainly know is that every person in the world, without exception, has heard about it. Love is the most common thing everybody has experienced in their life.

We spend our lives longing for it, searching for it, and talking about it. But, what are the best words to describe it?

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Love Is All Around

People have always tried to explain, and to define this magical thing, which can be seen in poetry and prose, plays and movies, art and music. Although they’ve tried to put many of our romantic thoughts and feelings into words, it is so inexplicable we need professional help to explain its essence. That’s why psychologists are here to talk about how and why people fall in love.

We’ve all experienced different kinds of love: with our partners, parents, grandparents, children and friends. But the very first love we have met is definitely the one of our mothers, through touching and kissing, sounds and faces, aromas and tastes.

The Effects of Love

Love can affect our lives in different ways. It can be the most beautiful, but also can be the most painful thing that ever happened to us. It makes all the worries disappear. And opposite, it also produces all the worries we have in our lives.

We need to be loved from our first breaths, till the end of our lives. We are social beings, and there are bonds of affection and intimacy in our blood. Without those things we are vulnerable, lonely, meaningless, and we are more prone to depression and illnesses. A world without it is not one we want to live in.

The Biology and Psychology of Attachment

In the context of biology and psychology, we get a far better understanding of the causes and consequences of the thing called love. There is a group of hormones that are involved in developing and maintaining physiological bonds between parents and infants. This system also functions in the same way between adults. Those hormones facilitate social bonds, increase trust, and at the same time facilitate healing and good health. The system is triggered by physical touch, by contact between people – in this way they feel closer and more attached to another people.

This leads to one definition of love: it is the biology underlying affect hunger, the ability to form multiple strong social bonds and part of the human adaptive niche, the evolutionary history that has made us so successful as a species.

Is Love an Emotion?

Most of the people, especially students, are convinced that it is a true emotion. But, also in lots of debates held between many philosophers and scientists, we can see that a lot of them disagree with that opinion. They say that it involves more than one person, and it is not itself an emotion, but an emotion complex consisting of the emotions that two or a few more people have. It leads to a conclusion that love is actually special form of emotional interdependence.

The first step in the process of falling in love is the initial attraction –a powerful moment when we meet another person and we get excited, energized and feel our heart beating faster and stronger. When a romantic couple begins to spend more time together, they are overtaken of a love euphoria, and they see the world through different lens.

The three basic components of love are intimacy, passion, and commitment – according to the triangular theory of love developed by psychologist Robert Sternberg. One couple needs to have all the three components in order to be satisfied and fulfilled.

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In order to keep your romantic relationship healthy you need to be proactive, to make an effort to show your partner that you take care about him/her and sometimes even to make a sacrifice.

In the end, be the partner that you seek and live your life filled with romance and happiness.