What is love?

Graphic Courtesy: http://clipartbarn.com/human-heart-clipart_9948/

Graphic Courtesy: http://clipartbarn.com/human-heart-clipart_9948/

Patrick Gallager, News Editor

Love is one of the most complex and unexplained feelings that one can feel. Many animals don’t feel this emotion at all, and none feel the romantic aspect of it that humans apparently experience. This said there is much controversy over whether or not the feeling of love that most believed in actually exists – the type of love where you look at someone and want to devote your life to them because you enjoy them so much. This may just be a romanticized version of the actual love that humans feel. Many even say that no one can truly feel love only infatuation, and many believe love is simply a choice that you make to stay with someone for a prolonged period of time.

It is not up for debate whether or not that humans feel infatuation. It is a natural part of the body to react to other human beings by enjoying them for their physical characteristics. It is also completely natural to want to procreate with other human beings as almost all animals wish to carry down their DNA through their offspring, and for the most part humans also have this mindset. However, with superior intellect and many activities in their daily lives, some people don’t wish to have offspring and will choose to go throughout their whole life without having children. Past the concept of infatuation though, there is lots of controversy surrounding “love”.

Love at its base is a mixture of different chemicals including dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. The dopamine is responsible for the feeling of happiness that you experience when thinking about, or looking at someone you “love”. Adrenaline and norepinephrine are the main causes of your heart beating faster, your palms sweating, and why you might go red to the face when looking at that special someone. The most confusing part about all of this, however, is that those who are infatuated with another person, and those who are in “love” with another both feel the same mixture of hormones and chemicals. This makes it hard differentiate between infatuation and love.

There are two different prevalent opinions on what love is, and how it separates itself from infatuation. The first one talks about love being an emotion categorized in different stages, whereas the other talks about how love is simply a choice. The opinion of love as an emotion basis itself on three different stages. The stages go in order starting with lust towards the individual, which then turns into genuine attraction, and ends with attachment to them. Starting  with lust – which is similar to infatuation – results in is no love, and only want for the body or emotional support of another, can last hours, or even years depending on how fast you then move on to the attraction to the other, or stop liking them altogether. Attraction Is when the person starts to find more than just an animalistic sense of pleasure from the individual and starts to enjoy them for everything they are, and this usually lasts as long as they are not in a relationship, or in the early stages of the relationship. The final stage of attachment is when the two people feel a sense of security, and stability with each other, and this is said to be when love truly starts. Some people may never reach this point, but many do and find true enjoyment.

The other belief is that love is simply a choice. It says that first you become infatuated with someone, and you feel all of the feelings that those would associate with love. However, these feelings eventually diminish and you are forced to choose whether to stay with that person or leave, and in choosing to stay with that person you are choosing to love them. This seems like an over simplified version of love, but almost everyone has a “honeymoon” phase that they eventually fall out of, and many feelings they had for each other before disappears. Though love is very confusing, and still very unknown you can go on loving without worry.