The Feelings of Falling in Love

What is Love? Is it attraction? Is it intimacy? Is it attachment?
Love, in fact, is all of these things combined together. "Love is spiritual,
not physical. It is a union of souls and hearts and minds, not something you
can\'t put under your microscope and understand!" Love is an emotion combined
with a series of feelings. These feelings can be immensely powerful and
wonderful. Romantic love is defined to be an intense emotional state that one
person experiences in relation to another. These types of feelings appear to
be among the most intense that most of us are capable of, and at least in some
cases, grow rather than diminish with time. Falling in love can be one of the
most unexplainable feelings a person can endure.
There are two sets of feelings that are the basis of modern romantic
relationships. The first is attraction. Attraction is the excitement you feel
when falling in love. To better explain this feeling, attraction is what you
feel when you have met someone new who really excites you and you begin to feel
aroused when thinking about this person. Although this sounds very sexual, this
feeling is just the first of what will most likely become a sexual passion.
When in this first state of attraction, your body feels different - more bouncy,
more energetic, and in need of less food and sleep. When in this state of
attraction, one feels very happy and different every time that they are with
this person. Frequently the presence (or sometimes merely thought) of the
loved one can evoke specific physiological reactions. These physiological
reactions include: erections for the male, wetness for the female, a lump in
the throat, sweaty palms, weak knees, cold feet, a pounding heart. dizziness,
and butterflies in the stomach. These physiological reations are completely
normal when falling in love.
The second type of feeling that one endures when falling in love is
attachment. Attachment is a bond or a special tie between people that are
attracted to one another. Attachment helps keep people together and has more to
do with feelings of security than of excitement. Romantic love requires
attraction plus attachment. Someone can be very strongly attracted to another
person but never become attached. Without some feeling of attachment,
attraction is nonspecific. Once you have begun to fall in love with someone,
this process becomes more and more important and you begin to feel more attached
to this person. When in this state of attachment, each person would feel as if
they are one person combined together. A special bond is shared and a sense of
comfort and togetherness is felt in most any situation. This attachment is very
normal in close relationships and healthy to a certain extent. Many times one
person becomes more dependant on the other and this can be very unhealthy
because everyone needs their own sense of identity. Without your own sense of
identity, you might feel smothered or unable to funcion without your mate.
Either way it is a lose-lose situation. For a healthy relationship, one needs to
be able to function without total dependence on their mate.
There are three main aspects of love. According to the triangular
theory of love, these three components include intimacy, passion, and
decision/commitment. Intimacy is the feeling of being connected and close to
another person. It is getting to know the person beyond the friendship level
and understanding them on a romantic level. An example of this might be going
to dinner or the movies with a prospective mate, rather than the casual
encounters that someone might have with them in everyday interaction. Intimacy
does not only pertain to specific acts, but also in verbal and non-verbal
expressions of love. Although verbal expressions of intimate feelings through
self-disclosure is important to relationship quality, the nonverbal expression
appears to be more important. In general people rely more on nonverbal thanb
verval cues to interpret messages. Some examples of these nonverbal cues
include touch, gaze, gestures, and time spent together.
The next aspect of love is passion. Passion is the feelings or physical
attraction and sexual consummation that people have for one another. This is
more than idolization of a superstar such as Tom Cruise or Demi Moore. It is an
attraction that one might have for a peer or a person with whom they are
aquainted. Passion acts as the fire that helps the relationship function.
The last aspect of love is decision/commitment. Decision/commitment
refers to the belief that one is in love and committed to a certain romantic
relationship. This bond may be as informal as