Love is one of the most powerful and enduring emotions in all of humanity. It’s an emotion that has inspired poems, songs and even the odd movie or two, but it’s also a very complex thing. For centuries, we thought that love arose from the heart but it turns out that the brain is where it all begins.
In fact, scientists only really started studying love as a specific emotional state in the last 75 years or so. During this time, we have found that there are two types of love that most people experience: romantic love and companionate love.
Generally, when we fall in love, we feel a rush of emotions and are often obsessive about our partner. We want to spend all our time with them and we find their little quirks endearing. But as time goes by, the initial feelings of intense arousal and attraction tend to fade. This is because we start to see them more as a partner and less as someone that satisfies our sexual desires.
For many, this is when a relationship hits a rough patch. And it’s important to recognise that this is totally normal and to be patient with the process. It may take a day or a week, or maybe longer but eventually that person you’re in love with will make your heart beat faster again. And in that moment you will feel as if your heart is going to burst and that you can’t possibly hold all this love for this person any more – and it’s absolutely worth the wait.
If you’re unsure of where you are in your relationship, there are some very simple things that you can do to get back to feeling in love. For example, if your partner has a “love language” of acts of service, try showing them that you care by helping with a chore, cooking their favourite meal or running an errand for them. These small gestures will show your love that you are thinking about them and will help to keep the spark alive in your relationship.
However, it’s also important to remember that a good relationship is more than just love. It requires mutual respect, compromise, kindness and trust. And if you are in a toxic or unhealthy relationship, the effects of that can be much more damaging than not being in love at all.
So, the next time you are feeling unloved or like the world is ending, remember that the most important thing is to love yourself and stay strong during the rough patches. That way, when the sun comes out again, you’ll be ready to soak it all in. Paige Ahern is a writer who looks good in hats and loves Game Of Thrones. She is a Deakin University student, specializing in journalism and media studies. She is also a co-founder of The Conversation AU and is passionate about social justice. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.