I’ve been thinking about this topic for quite a while. I don’t mean to get all mushy…but what is love, specifically romantic love? Everyone has different points at which they consider they love their partner. My friends have often told me that my threshold for saying that I’m in love is pretty low. If circumstances are right, it will usually take about a month.
People who have a high frequency of love experiences tend to have high self-confidence and low defensiveness… Insecure people who do not have a coherent sense of self and who are not self-actualized tend toward a game-playing style of love and have relationships with low levels of intimacy and high levels of conflict. – Bakadesuyo
I for sure have high self-confidence, and I’d like to think at least moderately low defensiveness, so maybe that’s why I tend to fall in love quickly. However, I think semantics also have an important role. Everyone thinks of love as meaning something slightly different, and nobody is able to give a clear definition. Let’s start with what dictionary.com says:
Love: a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
Now, let’s dissect that a little:
Profound: originating in or penetrating to the depths of one’s being
Passionate: expressing, showing, or marked by intense or strong feeling
Affection: fond attachment, devotion, dedication
So, love is a strong fond attachment, devotion or dedication for another that is deeply tender. So what the $#%& does that mean in actuality?
Research shows we don’t really fall in love with a person — we fall in love with how we feel when we’re with them. This is best demonstrated by the concept of emotional contagion: we’re bad at telling what made us feel a certain way, but good about making associations. Feeling excited, stimulated and aroused is often associated with the people around us, even if they’re not the cause. – Bakadesuyo
Repeated exposure also intensifies any feelings that are already present. Everyone has experienced the super annoying person they see all the time, and every time seeing them just makes them seem more and more annoying. The same is true with love. The more you see your partner, the more intense the love will feel.
60% of people believe in Love at First Sight. I’m fairly ambivalent to the idea, but what sort of definition do people use for this? Is this “take a bullet for you” kind of love? Or is this “I think I could see myself really enjoying being with you for a long time”? It just doesn’t seem to follow that “love” can be taken to mean venturing through the depths of hell to find your one lost love…while the very same term is used to refer to a random guy you happen to meet at a flower shop. Yet “love” has not lost any meaning, culturally speaking. While marriage has become a bit of a joke, between extremely short celebrity marriages, more and more people choosing to not get married to their “life partner,” and the fight for marriage equality…”love” has remained as true and meaningful as it always has.
So basically, nobody knows what the $#%& love is, or at least where the line between “generic affection” and “love” is drawn. Love, unlike arousal or orgasm, is scientifically immeasurable. There is no scale or definition that makes sense. So what does it even mean when you say “I love you”?
When I say “I love you,” I mean I smile every time I see you and when I think about you, my heart seems to beat up in my throat. I mean I thoroughly enjoy being with you, and I think you’re immeasurably attractive at every level, even when you’re sleepy or grumpy or sick. I mean I want to spend as much time as I can with you (accommodating busy schedules, of course). I mean seeing you smile makes me happy and I want to do everything I can to facilitate your being happy, even if it means making a choice that otherwise wouldn’t be my ideal.
Addition: Nice Kimchi Cuddles on the topic of Love!