Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts. This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.

Commitment, on the other hand, is the expectation that the relationship is permanent. The last and most common form of love is sexual attraction and passion. Passionate love is shown in infatuation as well as romantic love. All forms of love are viewed as varying combinations of these three components. Non-love does not include any of these components. Liking only includes intimacy.

The word "love" can have a variety of related but distinct meanings in different contexts.
The word “love” can have a variety of related but distinct meanings in different contexts.

Many different theories attempt to explain the nature and function of love. Explaining love to a hypothetical person who had not himself or herself experienced love or being loved would be very difficult because to such a person love would appear to be quite strange if not outright irrational behavior. Among the prevailing types of theories that attempt to account for the existence of love are:

  • Psychological theories, the vast majority of which consider love to be very healthy behavior;
  • Evolutionary theories which hold that love is part of the process of natural selection;
  • Spiritual theories which may, for instance consider love to be a gift from a god;
  • Theories that consider love to be an unexplainable mystery, very much like a mystical experience.

Evolutionary Psychology

Attachment between adults is presumed to work on the same principles that lead an infant to become attached to its mother. The traditional psychological view sees love as being a combination of companionate love and passionate love. Passionate love is intense longing, and is often accompanied by physiological arousal (shortness of breath, rapid heart rate); companionate love is affection and a feeling of intimacy not accompanied by physiological arousal.

Psychologist Erich Fromm maintained in his book The Art of Loving that love is not merely a feeling but is also actions, and that in fact, the “feeling” of love is superficial in comparison to one’s commitment to love via a series of loving actions over time.

Humans are dependent on parental help for a large portion of their lifespans compared to other mammals. Love has therefore been seen as a mechanism to promote parental support of children for this extended time period. Another factor may be that sexually transmitted diseases can cause, among other effects, permanently reduced fertility, injury to the fetus, and increase complications during childbirth.

Complexity of the Feelings

Love is a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that ranges from interpersonal affection (“I love my mother”) to pleasure (“I loved that meal”). It can refer to an emotion of a strong attraction and personal attachment. It can also be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection—”the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another”. It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self or animals.

Commitment, on the other hand, is the expectation that the relationship is permanent. The last and most common form of love is sexual attraction and passion. Passionate love is shown in infatuation as well as romantic love. All forms of love are viewed as varying combinations of these three components. Non-love does not include any of these components. Liking only includes intimacy.

Source: Wikipedia.

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