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What love means in psychology?

Updated: 4/28/2022
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Have you ever been in love? Some people are not quite sure. Other people say that they know they are in love now, so what they thought was love in the past must not have been. Knowing if you are in love is not always easy because love is such a complex emotion.

For centuries, artist, poets, philosophers, writers, and musicians have tried to define love through their work. Romantic notions of love express it as a quality of devotion that one feels towards another person. Yet the meaning of love for each person is highly complex. Here are some examples of how it has been expressed

"Love does not consist in gazing at each other but looking in the same direction together." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is love." - Sophocles

"Love sees with the heart and not the mind; therefore; winged cupid is painted blind." - William Shakespeare

"My love there's only you in my life... You're every breath that I take; you're every step I make." - Lionel Richie,

"My love is like a red rose, that's newly sprung in June, My love is like the melodies, that's sweetly play's in tune." --Robert Burns

"You say that you love me like a river, a river you say will never run dry...Don't use that magical, mysterious, intoxicating, joy, fantastic, fascinating word called love unless you love me to the nines...the kind of love that takes over your body, mind and soul." --Prince

"Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions." --Woody Allen

"Love cannot be explain, it can only be understand" - Syed Qutubuddin

Another reason why it's so difficult to define love is that many people confuse it with the feelings of lust. Love makes you feel energized, content, and emotionally stable. Lust makes you feel anxious, jealous, and possessive. Lust, or infatuation, is based on sexual attraction. At first when you meet someone you are attracted to, you may feel a strong connection and label it as love or even, maybe, as love at first sight. But what you are most likely feeling is attraction, of lust.

If you only wants to have sex with someone you love, then how are you going to be sure that you love someone? Most often, time is the factor that answers this question. If you let several months pass and you still feel love for the person then you might be more certain that your feelings are real. As your involvement with the person grows, you may feel a deeper affection and a need to bond ever more with the person. In this case, love may grow into attachment.

With each person, the feelings of "falling in love" will be new type of sensation sometimes you fall in love with a friend you have known for years. Sometimes you fall in love with stranger you see across a crowded room. No two loves are alike

According to psychologist Richards Sternberg's theory of love, true love is based on a balance of three elements: commitment, intimacy, and passion. He explained that if any of those elements is missing you could still have love, yet different kind of love. The following illustration explains.

Because there are so many different types of love, and because everyone defines love so differently, it will be helpful to your relationship if you explain to your partner the type of love you feel. I'm hopeful that you will both understand each other maybe ever feel similar types of love for each other!

Intimacy = FRIENDSHIP

Passion = INFATUATION

Commitment = EMPTY LOVE

Passion + Intimacy = ROMANCE

Passion + Commitment = LUSTFUL RELATIONSHIP

Commitment + intimacy = COMPANIONSHIP

Commitment + intimacy + Passion = TRUE LOVE

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