We all experience love at some level or another. For most people love is an emotion and behavior characterized by intense intimacy, devotion, passion, caring, and emotional connection. It often involves close sharing, caring, protection, attraction, confidence, and joy. Love can range in intensity from a simple appreciation to an intense emotional bonding that includes feelings of total involvement and trust. Love can change in intensity and is often associated with a host of other positive emotions, such as happiness, excitement, peace, life satisfaction, and joy, but it can also come in the form of hate, anxiety, fear, anger, resentment, boredom, sadness, guilt, humiliation, or boredom.
Attraction is the process by which two people develop a relationship based on matching attraction and desire. Neurotransmitters called dopamine are released in the brain when people are attracted to each other. Dopamine increases in the brain when appropriate stimuli (like food or alcohol) are offered up to the person who is being attracted to that person.
When love and attachment is strong enough, the neurons fire off signals to the brain that cause those neurotransmitters to be released. The result is the release of hormones like dopamine and oxytocin, which are responsible for the feelings of pleasure and security that love and attachment provide. But when these hormones are released in excess, it produces symptoms like: depression, irritability, anxiety, overeating, gambling, alcohol abuse, decreased libido, chronic pain, and decreased productivity. People suffering from addiction to alcohol, drugs, or sex are often the ones who exhibit these addictive behaviors.
Although love and attachment are positive feelings, they can become negative as well. When one partner is perceived as “unavailable” or “not good enough,” this can have negative consequences for the other partner. One reason why this occurs is because the person having difficulty in providing the security and love is typically unable to express and manifest his or her needs in the way desired by the other partner. For example, an individual who lacks confidence may try to compensate by developing exaggerated self-esteem. Unfortunately, the self-esteem goes hand in hand with depression, loneliness, lack of intimacy, poor health, lack of success, and less satisfaction in one’s relationships. Conversely, an individual who is very confident may suppress his or her feelings of love and attachment because the person assumes that he or she is “not good enough” or “not attractive enough.”
Developing an accurate love style is necessary if you want to feel more connected to your partner and realize the benefits of developing a fulfilling and loving relationship. Love styles are influenced by how we were raised, our beliefs, our emotions, our sense of humor, our occupational preferences, our sex, our occupational status, our sense of humor, and our ability to communicate effectively with others. A highly attached person may act in a way that is out of alignment with his or her love style.
For a healthy relationship, it is important that both partners are highly receptive to each other’s emotions. If one partner feels low energy, the other partner may also experience similar feelings. It is important to be able to “read” the other person’s emotions to determine what his or her true feelings are. When a person has difficulty sharing their emotions or their true feelings, they may seem distant from you, which will actually decrease their attraction and connection with you. If you are the more emotionally accessible partner, you will naturally attract those individuals who share your deepest emotions, feelings of love, affection and intimacy.