Love and Friendship
What is love? Love is a group of behaviors and emotions characterized by emotional intimacy, romance, devotion, and sharing. It involves emotional connection, caring, intimacy, devotion, affection, and trust from a romantic partner. However, love can change over the course of time and may vary in intensity from person to person. Love between friends may be light and easy while a love affair between lovers may be incredibly passionate and forever-lasting.
Some people are born with a clear “love meter.” Others may not even realize how much “love” they have until they are hurt by someone else. Some people may feel so much love for another person that they project this love onto the world at large, ignoring all others’ feelings and needs. On the other hand, some people may not feel love at all or may not be able to love anyone or anything at all. No matter your personal love meter, if you do not express it to another person, you are not truly loving him or her.
Love means different things to different people. For some people, “loving” means being in a continuous, committed, lifelong relationship. Other people may view “loving” as attending to a sick loved one or showing concern for another person who has experienced a tragic event. No matter what your own personal feelings about love, here are some of the common characteristics of romantic love:
Emotions. Romantic love includes strong, sustained emotions. These emotions are usually drawn from deep within oneself. In this case, “deep within oneself” refers to the core values and beliefs you have dedicated yourself to. Deep within yourself, you can find a source of true, passionate love for another person.
Attraction. To develop passionate love for another person, you must also develop attraction – or the desire to be loved. It is possible to feel attracted to someone without feeling any desire to interact with that person or do anything with that person. However, feelings of attraction are meaningless unless you also form relationships with those you are attracted to. With infatuation, on the other hand, you often experience an intense desire to interact with that person. In this case, you will actually develop an attraction to them before you know it!
As well as feelings of affection and infatuation, another characteristic shared by lovers is the desire to develop meaningful, lasting relationships. People who are in long-term relationships tend to be healthier, happier, more productive, and better-suited to their jobs and family than are single people. And yet, even within a relationship with a partner, a lover might say, “I’d really like to be just friends.”