When you’re in love, it can feel like walking on air or floating with the clouds. And when you fall out of it, you can sink into a muddy pit of self-pity or feel as though your heart has been torn apart by a truck. This is why a lot of people have trouble writing about love — it’s too emotional, too intense. But if you want to write about love without sounding sappy or bitter, here are some things to keep in mind.
The first thing to remember is that there are many types of love. The love you feel for your parents may be different from the love you feel for a close friend or your romantic partner. Similarly, the love you have for your children is not the same as the love you feel for your pet. All of these are forms of love, but they differ in intensity and context.
Even psychologists can differ a bit on the characterization of love. Some think it’s not an emotion at all but a necessary physiological drive, like hunger or sleep. Others believe that it’s a secondary emotion, one that develops from a combination of primary emotions.
Regardless of the exact characterization, most psychologists agree that love is complicated. This is largely because there are so many different ways that we can express our feelings of love for a person, place or thing. For example, the love you feel for your child might be a mixture of parental love, compassion and simple narcissism. But it’s also possible that your love for your child is primarily motivated by the desire to protect and nurture him, or to teach him all that you know.
Another thing to remember is that the way you feel about a person can change over time. For example, you might find yourself in a love that is more infatuation than commitment when you’re young but move into a relationship when you’re older.
Finally, the way you love someone can vary based on their behavior and how much you value certain traits. For example, you might be able to forgive your partner for always being late or tolerate their tendency to check Instagram during lunch because you appreciate the way they care about their kids or their creative project.
Despite the confusion about the characterization of love, most psychologists do agree that there are certain characteristics that all forms of love share. These include: