Many of us have heard the saying, “Love is a vibration.” This statement has been used so many times to show how important love is. Unfortunately, when someone is hurt, or someone expresses their hurt feelings, they are told, “You’re only expressing your emotion.” But love isn’t just a feeling. Love is a series of behaviors and emotions characterized by commitment, intimacy, passion, caring, and romance.
Love can range in intensity, from mild affection to complete romantic love like a relationship that lasts a lifetime. It involves a wide range of positive emotional states, such as happiness, excitement, anticipation, vitality, peace, and joy, but it does also involve the brain areas related to memory, language, and understanding. One area that is critical to romantic love is the region of the brain related to memory. People who have experienced love know that it requires remembering the significant events in one’s relationship. If you have not memories of how you fell in love, or how you felt when you first met, it could be because you haven’t stored those feelings in your long-term memory.
Another area related to love and intimacy is intimacy. Erotic love and intimacy can involve physical touching, kissing, hugging, cuddling, or sexual touching. Physical intimacy is related to physical arousal which releases hormones that stimulate the brain areas related to arousal. Intimacy is about the feelings of being connected to another person or an object. It’s possible that intimacy can involve a variety of positive emotions like attraction, connection, trust, security, and approval.
The third type of relationship that is related to love and intimacy is attachment. Attachment occurs when two people become so emotionally connected that they develop a sense of “clinging.” When this happens, the level of attachment becomes so strong that it prevents them from separating. People in long-term relationships sometimes say that they are “in love” with their significant other before they are truly in love. People in these relationships know that they are in love with each other but don’t yet have all of the other components of the relationship.
Love and intimacy are only part of the ingredients that make up a healthy love relationship. There is also a developing and strengthening of the relationship foundation, which makes it more likely that the love and the attachment will endure. The basis of the relationship must be strong enough to support the love and the attachments. This means that if one or both partners in the relationship have poor self-esteem or low self-image, it is unlikely the love will last. People need to have the ability to believe in themselves first before they are able to believe in their partners.
People must also be willing to accept and be committed to the other person before they can commit to another person physically. Just because one or the other partner wants to get physically attracted to another person, it does not mean that they will stay that way once they get married. One or the other partner in the relationship may think that they are in love with the person that they are dating, only to find out that they are only thinking about the physical attraction. Therefore, it is important for a couple to put themselves into the right frame of mind to take the next step and begin a healthy relationship.