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Let’s unpack some of love’s deepest secrets and discover what love is, and how and why we feel it.
From novels like Pride & Prejudice to plays like Romeo and Juliet and songs like “Can’t help falling in love”—it seems that love has always fascinated the human mind .
You might be thinking that everyone knows what love is—it’s the feeling you have for your partner, family and friends. However, as with all things in life, there’s more underneath the surface. For example, did you know that there are four types of love?
Love comes from our subconscious mind, containing ten times more information than our conscious mind, thus making love an uncontrollable feeling that we cannot get rid of.
Oxytocin is the love hormone for a reason and gets released by your body once you embrace or cuddle with someone. The hormone is found in the brain and sexual organs and could contribute to the bonding process between two individuals.
A common belief is that men who kiss their wives in the morning live up to five years longer. Kissing sparks the brain’s pleasure centers, leaving you feeling euphoric throughout the day. A kiss from your loved one can lighten your mood and reduce stress, which is highly beneficial to your health.
Love can be healing for couples with deep connections. If your partner is going through a rough patch, you can soothe them by holding their hand.
Agape is a concept of love found in the Bible that describes God’s love for humankind and humankind’s love for God. The word “Agape” is of Greek origin and is considered the highest form of love not only by Christians but by other religions too. Buddhists believe that Agape is the foundational love for all humanity.
Philia can describe the love of a long relationship , a good friendship or familial bonds. This type of love can be comforting and make you experience more positive emotions.
Storge is the love parents have for their children. Mothers are very familiar with this type of love as it comes naturally to them when they give birth. Storge can be seen as an unconditional love as parents (especially mothers) tend to love their children regardless of bad behavior.
Eros is a dangerous type of love fuelled by passion and can become addictive. Passionate love depends not on values and personality but sexual attractions and desires.
Love helps us feel safe and cared for. We need it to function in our everyday lives because we can’t reach our goals without assurance and support. Studies have shown that babies who do not receive nurturing and affection would later grow up to be psychologically damaged.
How do you know when you’re in love? Here are some signs that might help you:
An emotionally dependent relationship stems from neediness rather than true love. Emotionally dependent partners may think they’re in love, but they require attention, support and approval from their partner because of a lack of self-love.
The process of love can be broken down into three stages which everyone will go through to discover their passion. The three stages of love are:
According to psychology, dreams reveal our deepest desires, secrets and fears and anxieties . Love dreams can reveal many hidden truths about ourselves. For example, a dream about falling in love with a stranger could mean that you’re feeling unfulfilled. Or a love dream about your partner could mean that you have a strong connection.
Infatuation is a fleeting but strong connection to someone or something, whereas love takes time to forge a deep relationship between two people.
You can be in love with multiple people at the same time without cheating on your partner depending on what type of love it is. You might still have a passion for an ex, or fall for someone new while you’re in a relationship.
Also, love is complex, and it could have a different meaning for everyone. Some people are set on meeting the “one”, while others might embrace open relationships .
The earlier man could not love the way we do today. With the enlargement of our brains, we developed our cognitive abilities and communication skills. And with the growth of these skills and language, we became more self-aware, thus creating an awareness of love. As we evolved, so did love from its humble beginnings of a mother/infant bond.
Here are the seven types of love:
Men and women experience love differently; for example, men fall in love within 18 seconds, while it takes women up to 15 days. Research shows that women are less likely to initiate sex when they’re in love, and with men it’s the opposite. Other studies have found that men are more romantic and will likely say “I love you” first.
There are many cultural differences in love. Our differences in values, beliefs, and traditions impact how we perceive and experience love. For example, in Indian culture the needs and interests of the family precede that of the individual. Or, the Amish put their love for God and their community (Agape love) before any other type of love.
Your emotional intelligence (EQ) can affect how you receive and give love. A high EQ can help you with your emotional awareness, which will benefit and aid in a long-lasting relationship.
Examples of a high EQ include the ability to share your feelings with others, showing empathy and being an excellent listener.
Love can produce a lasting attraction which results in a deep connection. Lust is an uncontrollable desire to be with someone physically, and hormones rather than the mind cause it.
Researchers have discovered that your body releases hormones that suppress your appetite when you fall in love.
Falling in love can leave you with sleepless nights due to certain hormones released in the body during sexual endeavors and acts. The hormones will boost your mood and energy, making it harder to fall asleep.
If couples spend over two days without any communication, it can cause them to feel a type of homesickness which is known as feeling lovesick.
Research suggests that the “love hormone” oxytocin can reduce the effects of a headache. So try hugging your partner instead of running to the medicine cabinet the next time you have a headache.
Love can help you to grow. A supportive partner will motivate you to reach your goals and fullest potential. But the wrong type of love can be harmful and keep you from prosperity. Many people will also adapt and change their behaviors or habits to accommodate their sweetheart.
Love is like a drug, and it has similar neurological effects on the body as cocaine. Both love and cocaine induce a similar sense of euphoria.
Psychology says that when we’re romantically involved with someone, our perception of them will be based on positive illusions rather than reality. Thus our judgment of character becomes suppressed when faced with a loved one; in our eyes, they’re perfect, and so love is blind.
Your heart may skip a beat as you approach your beloved or crush, but that is just a side effect of everything in your brain. Studies revealed that several parts of your brain light up in response to looking at someone you love, which means that the brain is the keeper of love.
Oxytocin may make you feel warm and euphoric, but it also has a dark side. The love hormone can lead to emotional pain. For example, when the body has elevated oxytocin levels due to you being in love, it can trigger negative feelings like jealousy and agitation.
A couple’s heart rates can synchronize after gazing into each other’s eyes for longer than three minutes, resulting in many corny lyrics such as “our hearts they beat as one”.
Chocolate contains a component that has the same euphoric effect that love has on the body. So the two combined can result in a love frenzy, which is why chocolate became the top gift to give to our better halves.
Strangers can fall in love with each other by maintaining eye contact. When someone is staring at you, your body releases the same feel-good chemical found in chocolate.
Falling in love happens quickly, and trust and loyalty take time. It takes only a few seconds or minutes for the subconscious to decide if you are in love.
Some love experts say that too many similarities may cause couples to clash, while others argue that similarities can bring two people closer together. It is more about time and trust than having the same likes or interests—having something in common should be a bonus and not a determining factor in a relationship.
Love can make you do silly things you wouldn’t normally do. Sexual desires can affect your critical thinking and rationality, leading you to do questionable things.
Love evolves from romance to commitment throughout a long-term relationship at some point. So once the honeymoon phase is over, you’ll discover if your partner is ready for commitment.
Heartbreaks can hurt just as badly as physical pain. After losing a loved one, you can suffer from a condition known as “broken heart syndrome”, and it mainly affects women. What’s even scarier is that a broken heart can lead to death.
Some research has found that when we’re reminded of our loved ones, it could improve our abstract thinking, boosting our creative abilities.
Relationship OCD causes some people to act out behaviors associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder toward their relationship and partner.
Neuroscientists have discovered a link between strong, passionate feelings and a decline in cognitive control, which means that love can take your focus away from many other things.
If you were wondering if someone is into you, all you have to do is look at their body language. If someone cannot keep their eyes off you or won’t stop smiling around you, chances are they find you attractive.
When you’re falling in love, the butterflies you feel are an actual sensation caused by an adrenaline rush.
You know you are falling for someone when you do either one of these things:
How do you know you’re falling in love with the right person? There is no perfect match, but some people are better suited for each other, making them feel that they’ve met their soulmate .
We often prefer to share the music we cherish dearly with those we love. Music and emotion seem to have a compelling cohesion, and when you listen to love songs, it will intensify the passion you feel for someone.
Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between a crush and love. It comes down to time; a crush can die quickly based on physical attraction. On the other hand, love takes time to grow, and it does so based on trust, honesty, affection and other deeper qualities.
Psychologists say that two basic types of love are compassionate and passionate. Compassionate love draws from mutual respect and understanding, whereas passionate love draws from sexual desires, intense emotions and anxiety.
Getting over someone could take weeks or even months, depending on how meaningful the relationship was to you. Psychology states five stages of grieving after a break-up: denial, anger, bargaining, depression , and acceptance.
Some psychologists’ theories suggest that the process of love is similar to how children become attached to their parents. Studies reveal that those who have had bad childhood experiences with their parents would later seek a love interest that could replace the “normal” bond that was supposed to have formed between parents and children.
Throughout history , “love potions” were created with a person’s sweat to try and draw in their crush. That is because you’re more likely drawn to the scent of the person you find attractive—a subconscious act that helps the brain decide whether you love someone.
Not everyone wants to love or feel loved—a fact that might be hard to believe. However, some people have a fear of love. This intense fear is known as Philophobia. The fear of love can be caused by past traumatic relationships, infidelity, heartbreak, abuse and betrayal.
Love is a vital aspect of the human experience; it has caused wars , inspired art forms, it created life, family, friends and bonds that make us feel happy. After all, we are social beings, so to many of us, including some psychologists, love is an essential thing to exist.
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