What is Love? How do I know if I am in love or have experienced love? Love is selflessness and felt security… love is also a physical and emotional feeling

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Quick summary: The reason that love is so difficult to define has much to do with the fact that the word “love” means far too many things in the English language. I will define the three most common types of love. You can then decide which types of love you have found. Love is a euphoric to terrifying rollercoaster ride of emotions, love is a label for something we enjoy and would like to experience with great frequency, and love is when a relationship offers felt security, deep attachment, selflessness, and a place to freely experience authenticity (the real you… the you that is allowed to be vulnerable, confident and honest).

Type 1: Love which is a rollercoaster ride of emotions

 

Biological/neurological love (the infatuated romantic love) – when a human falls in love with a partner there is a measurable biological response.

  • Our brain releases hormones and neurotransmitters that give the person who is “in love” a cocktail of euphoria and strong feelings of desire. (Oxytocin is one of the main ingredients in this cocktail.)

 

  • The desire and euphoria are so significant that the person almost feels addicted to this new love and will act with heightened emotional reactivity, impulsivity, spontaneity, and at times illogical behaviors in an attempt to experience, to be with, and to receive from this loved partner.

 

  • This type of love only last about 1.5 years… after that amount of time the chemicals will not be released for free… you must have your emotional needs met (which usually calls for you meeting the needs of your partner) for the chemicals to be released after about 1.5 years.

 

  • So yes, you can be “in love” with someone who doesn’t meets any of your needs, but this love only lasts for about a year and a half.

 

  • When people say, “I never really loved him/her” they generally are confused because they experience this type of love, but did not experience the third type of love listed below.

 

Simply put… this type of love is how you feel when your brain releases a cocktail of feel good chemicals do to your partner. The expression “we have good chemistry” is actually quite accurate… the brain will not release all these chemical with just anyone.

  • Therefore people say they are “in love” when their partner is able to encourage their brain to release all these chemicals… most people have experienced this as you have little to no control over these feelings of “love.”

 

  • For this type of love the feelings do not need to be mutual. (People do actually fall in love with celebrities that they have never met).

 

Type 2: Love is a label for something we enjoy and would like to experience with great frequency.

 

Preference/pleasure love – People often say they “love” something when they intend to suggest that they receive much happiness and enjoyment from the subject.

 

  • This type of love occurs when a person has a very positive association with the subject and would like to engage with the subject with greater frequency.

 

  • This love does not have the strong feelings of attachment and security found in the next type of love… you would not feel overwhelming emotions of sadness or anxiety if this love was made less available… though you might be a bit upset.

 

  • People love certain people, beliefs, pets, food, activities, settings etc.

 

  • You may love your friend, as that friend is associated with feelings of happiness. You may quickly fall out of love if experiences with that friend are no longer fun or happy.

 

  • People say they are “in love” when they specifically mean to say… I have a very positive emotional association with engaging with this subject.

 

  • “I love the positive emotions that I experience with this subject,” would be a very accurate way of describing this type of love.

 

  • Unlike the other forms of love, this love does not tend to have as significant of an ability to encourage strong negative emotions.

 

Type 3: love which defines who you are as a person… love which serves to create personal meaning… love in which you are bonded or attached to despite practical issues or concerns.

 

  • This is the love we commonly have for family members and close friends – it is a love that we carry even when we hate the decisions, beliefs, or actions of the loved one…

 

  • It is a love which survives when we have decided that we can no longer occupy the same space as the loved one.

 

  • This love is used to explain and to offer meaning about who we are.

 

  • This loved one is the reason for how we are or for how we behave.

 

 

 

Type 3’s fullest potential: True love, Unconditional love this love is experienced when a relationship offers felt security, deep attachment, selflessness, and a place to freely experience authenticity… this love has permanence… this love defines much of who you are as a person. 

 

Unconditional love – this is the love that can never fully go away as this love is so influential… it helps to define who you are as a person… in good times it offers you a glimpse of selflessness, acceptance, and security. This love gives you the resolve to overcome the suffering inherent in life.

 

  • This is the elusive type of love that people find difficult to define.

 

  • This is the love that everyone wants so deeply, but not everyone gets to experience.

 

  • To receive this unconditional love you must allow yourself to offer this unconditional love. It is a love which exists when felt reciprocally.

 

  • This Love is perhaps most common between a mother and her children.

 

  • This is the love that most romantic partners dream about, yet do not have directions as to how to achieve such an end.

 

  • When this type of love is taken away there is marked distress that you may carry in some way for the rest of your life.

 

  • This is a love that does not end with divorce, death, or some other form of separation… this love is permanent and unconditional. (Even if your find yourself needing to divorce from a true love for logistical reasons… you will always carry this type of love in some way.)

 

  • This love is experienced when a person accepts you as you are and allows you the freedom to display your confidences and vulnerabilities.

 

  • This love gives you the sense that you are supported, nurtured, and that you are not alone in the world.

 

  • This love is able to empathetically identify your needs so that you can be nurtured and cherished while you grow through life.

 

  • When this love is felt you fear the death of your loved one with the same ferocity that you fear your own death.

 

  • In this love your loved one understands you and accepts what they understand.

 

  • In this love your loved one sees who you truly are and will help you to overcome the obstacles hindering you from being your authentic self… your loved one will courageously stand by you as you embrace the changes you must make to be your true self.

 

  • This love destroys egocentrism as you care for your loved one as much as you care for yourself.

 

When you experience all three types of love for the same person you are truly blessed.

 

And so then I am grateful… because of us… I am blessed… forever

 

Love you green eyes

William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.
William Hambleton Bishop
William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.

One thought on “What is Love? How do I know if I am in love or have experienced love? Love is selflessness and felt security… love is also a physical and emotional feeling

  1. The most common source of problems in marriages is that the couple misinterpreted their mutual feelings of attraction as love. This normally results in the couple trying to keep up appearances after about 5 years, and wondering where the love went.

    It is important to know that attraction is an emotional feeling that may fade, while love is a promise that has nothing to do with attraction. If you are thinking of getting married, then please read “Attraction is a feeling. Love is a promise.” by Grenville Phillips, president of Walbrent College. (Loveisapromise.wordpress.com)

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