Is Love a Feeling Or is it Something else?
The concept of love is so broad that it encompasses many different ideas, concepts, characteristics, and even individuals. Most often when people think of love they focus on the emotions of love and how they affect the other person or the relationship. However, love is also a collection of behaviors and emotions characterized by romance, passion, intimacy, commitment, and devotion. It encompasses love, trust, safety, caring, intimacy, and appreciation.
Love is normally associated with an array of positive emotional states, such as excitement, happiness, life fulfillment, and joy. These emotional states occur when the brain becomes excited about finding or attracting a partner that has similar qualities to one’s own, based on how they match up to one’s own emotional requirements. In this sense, love results from a mental simulation of one’s partner. However, there is more to love than meets the eye and the neurological process of attachment can actually be triggered by several different aspects of human psychology, including sexual attraction.
Attraction is considered the first emotion experienced by a person when he or she enters into a relationship. It is often considered one of the most powerful and earliest emotions that influences a relationship. However, there are two separate and distinct types of love; emotional love which is described by feelings of love and physical attraction while sexual attraction is typically defined by an intense sexual desire between two people.
Another important component to the definition of love is closeness. Closeness refers to emotional and physical connection. The feeling of being emotionally connected or “closer” to another person is usually associated with romantic relationships. However, this is not always the case as closeness can occur between two people who do not have romantic relationships which are more platonic in nature.
Brain imaging has shown that there are differences between how we feel and how our brains respond to certain stimuli. For example, when someone looks at you it does not necessarily mean that they feel something when looking at you. However, the way that they processed the information contained in that visual stimulus could have an effect on how they felt about you. Therefore, the brain areas that respond to feelings versus information is very similar in humans to the way in which the brain responds to events in the romantic relationship. This shows that the emotional states which result from romantic relationships are actually neurological responses which occur without the presence of an intimate partner.
Love in general is an extremely complex phenomenon involving a variety of complex biological, psychological and cognitive components. Although much has been written on the subject, most of what is written on this topic tends to focus on explanations for sexual attraction between two people. The actuality is that all types of relationships involve the development of both love and affection. However, it is true that love and affection are two separate components of human relationships that often lead to romantic relationships.