What Is Love: Feeling Or Decision
Often we hear the phrases “love at first sight” or “falling in love.” But do people really fall in love? What is love exactly anyway? Is it an emotional reaction or a strong feeling that you have for someone, or is it a decision that you make to commit to someone?
What Do You Feel In Your Heart?
There are a lot of factors that come together to start a romantic relationship. Physical attraction, friendship, and sometimes even just pure sexual tension can start an infatuation that can start the fire of a romantic relationship. A lot of times, it may seem like an uncontrollable urge that brings two people together. What is it that keeps those relationships together or causes them to fall apart? Do people fall in love and then fall out of love?
Romantic relationships based on sexual attraction that never grow beyond that often make it seem like love is just a feeling. Having someone in your life that you care about and that cares about you can give you a wonderful feeling. In a new relationship, emotions fill you to the point of overflowing. Your hearts are hopeful about what you can build together. It is an exciting time.
Falling In Love
Do we really fall in love though? In a sense, yes, I do believe in love at first sight. We all have in our minds this picture of our ideal mate. This image contains personality traits, interests, beliefs, ideas, and of course, physical characteristics. I think that when love at first sight occurs, it’s because we have seen someone who embodies the image in our heads of the perfect mate. Because their appearance matches that image in your head, you also start applying those other traits that are ideal to you to that person.
In effect, you’ve shaped in your mind that this person that you just met embodies all of those ideals. And it can be heartbreaking when you find out that they have no interest in you. It is even more heartbreaking when the two of you do match up to each other’s mental images of your ideal partners only to find that there was little beyond the physical attraction. The worst is when you match up on so much more than that, but you just can’t manage to make the relationship work.
Deciding On Love
Is love a decision or commitment that we make to another person? I believe part of it is. As we seek out a mate, a partner to share our lives with, we seek those traits that we prefer, the traits that we already have an affinity for. Once you meet that person, as you get to know them and they get to know you, you both discover traits in each other that are less than desirable. It is from here that love goes from being a feeling to deciding whether or not you commit to each other.
Ultimately, I believe that love starts as an emotion or a feeling, but as a relationship matures love becomes the decision to commit to the relationship for life. This decision to open your heart to another person in and of itself is a very emotional experience. In the end, with true love, it is impossible to separate the emotion and the decision to love. And the question really becomes, can it be love if either factor is missing.
Teaser: Next time we’ll take a look at connecting with others.