What Does Love Really Mean?

Love is a profoundly complicated emotion, one that inspires philosophers and poets as well as ordinary people. It can break boundaries, change lives, and give people the strength to endure pain and hardship. It can also make us feel weak and fragile at the same time — especially when we fall in or out of it.

In fact, it is so complicated that researchers have a hard time agreeing on what exactly it means to love someone or something. Some think that “love” is a feeling of great affection and tenderness for another person or creature; others believe it’s more like a desire for companionship or respect. People also use the term to describe their religious beliefs, or their feelings for a particular political ideology or country.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have struggled to understand what love really is. Early explorations of the nature and causes of love sparked controversy, and some politicians derided them as a waste of taxpayer dollars.

It’s difficult to know whether you are truly in love with someone until you’ve experienced some of the classic symptoms, such as a tingling sensation or a giddy feeling that doesn’t go away. But other qualities can indicate that you’re in love, including feelings of closeness and security, an interest in a common future with your romantic partner, and the commitment to work on your relationship together. For instance, you’re showing your commitment to your partner when you make plans to spend time together.