Love is a complex feeling that cannot be described with just a few words. It’s what makes us forgive our partners for their annoying habits, push ourselves to finish that creative project, or feel devastated when a sports team we love loses. It’s also the reason we keep T-shirts and playlists from our past loves, or why we invest so much time and effort into our children and pets.
Psychologists have only recently started studying love as a specific concept, but they agree that there are many different types of it. Some, like eros (romantic love) are driven by physical intimacy and desire. Others, like storge (family love) are concerned with emotional intimacy and care for the well-being of the other. Still others, like compassion (caring for the spiritual growth of another) and empathy (feeling what your beloved feels) are more altruistic.
The exact nature of love is debated in science as well as in philosophy and religion. Some scientists believe that it is a mammalian drive, similar to hunger or thirst, while others see it as more of a psychological phenomenon.
What’s important is that we find what works for our individual needs, and that we are aware of the different ways that we can love someone or something. It is also vital to remember that sometimes, what we thought was love in the beginning may no longer be so, and that’s ok. Learning to let go is a part of loving, and it’s a necessary skill for healthy relationships.