We’ve been enchanted by love for thousands of years, it’s the subject of poems, novels and songs and the foundation of many a relationship. From an evolutionary psychology perspective, love is an important emotional process that helps keep parents bonded and committed to their offspring over the long period of time that children need to grow up into sexually mature adults.
But what is love exactly? It’s a feeling and it manifests itself in all sorts of ways – whether we’re talking about falling in love with someone, the way a person makes your heart go pitter-patter at their mere presence, or the love you have for a sports team or for your creative work. And while some psychologists will agree that there are a limited number of types of love, they will also agree that it is hard to pin down a definition for love as it can be experienced in many different ways.
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When we think about love, our brains get a bit overwhelmed with the complexity of it all. For example, it’s difficult to categorize love as an emotion because it doesn’t always come with the same physical expression, nor does it show up in the same parts of the brain each time. Love can feel like a giddy high, but it can also be like a crushing depression. And depending on the context of your love experience, it can have an impact on the decisions you make and the things that are important to you.