Love is one of the most complex emotions. It can be euphoric, terrifying, sexy, and self-sacrificing all at the same time. It may also be temporary or permanent, and it can vary from person to person or culture to culture.
Many people believe that the feelings of love are influenced by biology and culture, while others say it’s a basic human emotion like any other. The belief that it is a biological phenomenon is supported by research showing that our brains respond differently when we are in love, compared to when we are not.
The concept of love has been explored throughout history in religion, philosophy, and science. Today, the fields of psychology and anthropology continue to explore the nature and effects of love. While most psychologists agree that there are a limited number of types of love, there are still debates about whether it’s a choice or an instinct, and whether it is permanent or fleeting.
In the early stages of falling in love, the emotion of euphoria is caused by the release of a jumble of chemicals that include dopamine (pleasure), norepinephrine (alertness), and adrenaline. These chemicals are why your cheeks feel flushed and your palms get sweaty when you meet someone for the first time who you’re attracted to. Once you reach the stage of attachment, the release of these chemicals is replaced by oxytocin, which produces the feeling of closeness that leads to making long-term plans and commitments.
This type of love is characterized by feelings of intimacy, companionship, and trust. It’s sometimes referred to as platonic love, and it’s the kind of love that exists between friends and family members. It’s also the kind of love that we feel for pets, creative projects, and favorite sports teams.
In contrast, passionate love is characterized by feelings of intense attraction and desire. It’s often accompanied by idealization of the person you love, and it can lead to jealousy and insecurity. It’s also the kind of love you may experience if you’re in a romantic relationship or suffer from a psychological disorder called erotomania.
While it’s possible to fall in and out of these different kinds of love, some researchers suggest that most romantic relationships contain both of these love styles. A third love style, referred to as agape, is defined by selfless acts of kindness and service.
Writing About Love
The way you write about love can have a major impact on how your readers feel about it. Avoid writing in a sappy, unrealistic way. Instead of focusing on every gut-wrenching sensation, let your characters show their true colors and bring your audience into the emotional ride.
You can also use your writing to help your readers understand how to navigate the ups and downs of loving someone else. For example, you could describe how your character’s flaws drive them crazy while they are infatuated with each other and then demonstrate how they work through those issues to maintain their relationship.