What is love?

Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the point of existence, for others it's the manifestation of the divine, for some it is a tool of oppression. No other subject has spawned so much poetry. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a mystical aspiration, a social construct, a neurological glitch, or nothing at all?

Love is pure emotion

Love is the sensation, feeling and emotions you feel when you find the right person.

Love is pain

Although we may not want to acknowledge it, love is pain. Pure, unadulterated pain.

Love is an unmistakable feeling

Love is a raw feeling distinguishable from other feelings.

Love is the emotional interdependence between people

Love is the deep emotional dependence that develops between two people.

Love is about building a 'We'

Love is the abandonment of two 'I's and the formation of a single 'We'

Love is when another soul completes your soul

When two people meet and fall in love, the two souls merge to form one, complete, shared soul.

Love is a verb

Like any other verb, love is a relational action, something we engage in and act upon.

Love and eroticism

Eroticism is a fundamental part of what we consider love to be.

Love is gifts and tributes

In cultures around the world, specific gifts or offerings act as important signifiers of love.

Love is a choice

Love is not something passive that happens to us. We have a choice and we choose to love someone.

Love is a concrete action

Love is demonstrated best through action, not just words.

Love is a societal tool

Love is an artificial construct which oppresses women and reinforces the patriarchy.

Love is oppressive

Love, as it exists under current social constructs, is an oppressive tool of the patriarchy.

Love is a commercial tool

Love is a concept that has been co-opted by capitalist industries to sell us things.

Society needs free love

Free love is a political movement advocating the societal acceptance of all kinds of love.

Love is a coping mechanism

Love has become a societal reaction to industrialization. As more people move into cities and experience its isolating effect, the more they seek out love for companionship against loneliness.

Falling in love is an appraisal of the other person's value

When we decide who is worthy of our love, we carry out an appraisal.

Notions of love are Culture-specific

Many different cultures have specific ways of defining and experiencing love.

Love is counter-revolutionary

In Communist China in the 20th century, the total “renunciation of the heart” was expected.

Love is magic

Magic has been a fundamental part of love in many cultures over time.

Love is in silence

In some Native American cultures, an indicator of authentic love is the ability to sit in silence.

Love is secondary to pragmatism

In cultures that practice polygamy or arranged marriage, pragmatism is considered the most important, with 'love' potentially following later.

Love is separate from sexual desire

In some cultures, love is considered a totally separate phenomena to sexual desire, to the point that love may be marred by sex.

Courtly love

An understanding of love arising from the European Middle Ages, focussing on the woo-ing of women.


According to the Spanish dictionary, love is an intense feeling of the human being who, starting from his or her own insufficiency, needs and seeks the encounter and union with another being.

Love is biological

Love can be reduced to chemicals and hormones, it is rooted in human evolution, our genetics and our desire to produce healthy offspring.

Love is all chemistry

Every aspect of love, from the love-at-first-site butterflies in the stomach to companionship in later life can be reduced to chemicals in the brain.

Love is a product of genetics and evolution

We are genetically conditioned to love those that share our bloodline (family) and those that would make a good mate (romantic).

Love is a psychological bond

Love happens on a psychological level, in which we form a deep psychological bond with another person.

Love is infatuation

What we see as true love comes from the dopamine hit of infatuation.

It depends on the type of love

There are many different types of love. Each one is something different.

Romantic love vs deep emotional attachment

There are two kinds of love. One is romantic love, which can often begin with lust. The other is a deeper emotional attachment.

The seven types of love

The ancient Greeks had names for the seven different types of love.

God is love

The bible tells us God is love. Because God is unknowable and undefinable, love must be the same.

Linguistic understandings of love

What the word for love connotes to a French speaker may be totally different to a Russian speaker.
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This page was last edited on Monday, 28 Sep 2020 at 10:01 UTC