In this article, we will answer the following question: What does love feel like?
We will discuss what biologists, psychologists and poets think about love. We will also find what the three phases of love are.
What does love feel like and why is it important to understand it?
Psychologist Robert Sternberg – defines true love as a combination of three elements: intimacy, passion and commitment.
When an element is missing, a certain combination is not as strong, and when two are missing, we do not have lasting relationships, so even if the proportion of the three elements will be unique for each individual, the most successful combination is of all three.
Psychologist Erich Fromm says that love is not just a feeling.
Even though it may initially be an involuntary feeling/emotion, it later becomes a conscious choice and a conscious commitment that involves action.
From a biological perspective, when we are in love, our body works differently.
When you are in love, things get “worse” and I think many of us can confirm this, not just research.
Studies show that when you fall in love, certain chemicals invade the brain, such as oxytocin, dopamine, adrenaline and vasopressin, which have narcotic-like effects.
After two people have been in love for a longer period of time, the body moves on to the next phase, producing a certain tolerance to the chemicals of pleasure.
The attraction phase replaces the attachment phase when oxytocin and vasopressin enter the brain, providing feelings of well-being and security.
What is love in Albert Einstein’s version?
Energy = Love X Speed of light 2
Einstein didn’t talk much about love in his lifetime. He chose to write about this in a letter to his daughter.
The letter is one of 1,400 letters donated in the 1980s by Lieserl, Einstein’s daughter, to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, stating that it would not be published until at least two decades after his father’s death.
In the letter, Albert Einstein reveals that the strongest force in the universe is Love.
The following is an excerpt from the letter:
“When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.
I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.
There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us. This universal force is LOVE.
When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force. Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it. Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others.
Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals. For love, we live and die. Love is God and God is Love.”
I am inclined to believe that this letter is authentic, and I can only bow before this letter, before the great Einstein, and let each one take what he deems appropriate from this letter.
The 3 stages of love in relationships
Anthony Robbins defines love as the oxygen of the soul.
The meaning of the word love takes on a different meaning when we think of couple relationships, children, parents, friends, divinity, self-love, humanity.
However, no matter how we say it, I think we can agree that love is indeed the oxygen for the soul.
The first phase – love me the way I want.
This phase is very similar to a child’s attitude.
In a way, it is the ultimate desire to be indulged, namely because consciously or unconsciously you think that everything must be offered to you, including love.
You want it, and you want it now!
You are not worried about offering something in return, tho.
At this stage, both partners focus on themselves, asking, directly or indirectly, argumentatively or not, for their partner to be in a certain way, to behave in a certain way, to love them in a certain way.
This level of love is not constructive, and if something does not change, it is only a matter of time before things get worse.
The second phase – I love as much as you love me.
This is where love begins to gain depth, yet it still resembles a business or the purchase of a product.
It’s like giving them money and after testing it you draw the conclusion whether it was worth it or not, and next time you won’t be buying anything similar.
This stage, like it or not, is practised by many of us and is quite characteristic of our society.
The tendency is to barter, exchange and evaluate whether we receive too much or too little love for what we offer.
There would be nothing fundamental in this instinct to evaluate what we offer and what we receive, the problem is that everyone has their own scale, their own rules, their own needs and it is almost impossible for both partners to conclude that the “exchange” is fair.
In a moment of honesty, we can see that the source of many misunderstandings is right here.
The third phase – I want to give you what you need.
This is level 3 of love, the one in which the focus is no longer on oneself and on the exchange, but on offering and meeting the needs of the other.
Thus, love acquires a form of action in which you no longer offer what you need, nor do you evaluate what you receive, but offer unconditional attention, affection, security, respect.
The ways in which love can be manifested at this point are virtually limitless and seem to be the form that really works.
At this stage, if you are still wondering if the other person is giving you love in return after you offer unconditionally and you are frustrated that you are not getting back, it actually means that you are still at level 2 and not at 3.
We must admit that it is difficult to go from 2 to 3, but especially for both partners to be at the same level at the same time.
And if you still have a partner operating at level 1, what do you do? The only solution is to operate at level 2 and 3.
If your partner has been operating excessively for a long time at level 2, it will be difficult to convince him that the exchanges are fair, so it is easiest to get to position 3.
To quote Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world!”
This is also quite true for relationships.
And to help you better understand what does love feels like, I will leave below some breathtaking love poems.
These, from my point of view, best describes what does love feels like. They are timeless treasures …
What do poets have to say about love?
Nikita Gill – The Girl he loves
“The girl he loves is midnight, like the blue of the sea cradled by the moonlight.
The girl he loves is verdant, the very green of the hill kissed by the summer delight.
The girl he loves is coral, as pink as the roses that grow in his mother’s garden.
The girl he loves is crimson, red like the autumn leaves that lay abandoned.
The girl he loves I can never be
Because he’s allergic to violets, and violets are too much like me.”
“You ask me what it is like to fall in love
and If I were pressed to answer,
I’d say maybe it’s a bit like walking through a forest
realizing a waterfall is close
you can feel it beneath your feet
as the water meets the ground full force
there is a faint gurgle,
a whiff of something majestic near
closer with every step
and suddenly you’re upon it
it’s roaring, the clash of water and earth
and hearts and souls
and there is nothing else left to hear.”
Thomas Hardy – A Broken Appointment
“You did not come,
And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb,—
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there
Than that, I thus found lacking in your make
That high compassion which can overbear
Reluctance for pure lovingkindness’ sake
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum,
You did not come.
You love not me,
And love alone can lend you loyalty;
–I know and knew it. But, unto the store
Of human deeds divine in all but name,
Was it not worth a little hour or more
To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came
To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be
You love not me?”
Kay Ryan – Tenderness and Rot
“Tenderness and rot
share a border.
And rot is an
keeps creeping over.
can be drawn
from this, however.
One is not
One is not meat
It is important
to stay sweet
Jue Jordan – Poem for My Love
“How do we come to be here next to each other
in the night
Where are the stars that show us to our love
Outside the leaves flame usual in darkness
and the rain
falls cool and blessed on the holy flesh
the black men waiting on the corner for
a womanly mirage
I am amazed by the peace
It is this possibility of you
and breathing in the quiet air.”
Sir Thomas Whyatt – They Flee From Me
“They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With unclothed foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand, and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.
Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small;
Therewithal sweetly did me kiss
And softly said, “Dear heart, how like you this?”
It was no dream: I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have to leave to go of her goodness,
And she also, to use newfangleness.
But since that, I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.”
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
What does love feel like?
In this blog, I have tried to answer this question from the perspective of psychologists, biologists, poets, and scientist Albert Einstein.
Now it’s your turn! Which of the versions listed above do you think is the closest to your version of what does love feel like?
- What Love Is: And What It Could Be
- Everything I Know About Love
- Helen Keller on What is Love (The Meaning of Love): Just for kids
- I Need Your Love, Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead
What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues
- If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.
If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.
Love poems – Poetry foundation
The 5 Disciplines of Love – Tony Robbins