For generations, philosophers and poets have pondered love, and people of all faiths and backgrounds have debated its meaning. Although most people agree that the term means strong feelings of affection, loyalty, protectiveness and warmth, it can mean different things to each person. Love can also refer to a general state of being happy or to specific behaviors, such as caring for children, animals and religious beliefs.
Generally, it takes time to develop true love in a relationship. In the beginning, when a couple first meets and starts dating, they may feel that they’re in “love at first sight.” They might kiss or hug each other frequently, spend all their free time together, and text or call each other constantly. But this phase isn’t forever. Eventually, challenges arise and flaws emerge, and the rose-colored glasses come off.
At this point, the real work of a relationship begins. It’s important to talk about expectations and boundaries, and decide if you’re on the same page in terms of commitment and commitment level. Many couples wait until this stage to say “I love you,” and it can be difficult to know whether their partner feels the same way.
The earliest stages of romantic love can trigger emotional and physiological instability, such as exhilaration, euphoria, insomnia, loss of appetite, trembling, accelerated breathing, heightened energy, and even panic and anxiety. These feelings can cause problems in a relationship, especially if you’re not on the same page about what kind of commitment you want.
Some researchers have found that the “love at first sight” feeling is largely due to primitive neural systems in the brain, similar to those activated when we think about food or water. However, this research has not taken into account nonheterosexual relationships or transgender individuals, and it’s important to remember that everyone experiences the love at first sight phenomenon differently.
Happiness expert Dan Gilbert has found that people who are genuinely happy focus on what they value in life. This might include spending time with friends and family, working on a passion project, or pursuing health and fitness goals. It can also include things like embracing change, expressing gratitude and practicing mindfulness.
Actively choosing love can be as simple as recognizing and appreciating the positive aspects of your partner. You can do this by complimenting them, giving them a sincere apology when necessary and reaffirming your commitment to the relationship. You can also show your love by making healthy choices for yourself and your partner, such as eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and reducing stress.
Finally, you can express your love by committing to spend time together and making plans for the future. This could be as simple as saying you’ll meet them for coffee at 9 am instead of 10 am, or taking on a small task each day for a month (such as cleaning the bathroom or tackling a pile of mail) to help one another live more efficiently and productively.