We’ve all experienced the gut wrenching, plot flipping, sweaty palm emotion that we’ve come to know as love. But love is much deeper than these panicky reactions. In fact, once you have a chance to get comfortable and let those feelings pass, you’ll know if it was truly love; or something else.
So, what does love mean?
The concept of love is very easily mistaken for its similar counterparts; lust and infatuation
The feelings we experience during the beginning stages of any of these tend to blur our judgment; mistaking something casual for something very deep and meaningful. But there are a few very prominent distinctions that can help you to decide what it is that you’re actually feeling.
Love: an intense and constant feeling of deep affection
- Happens over time.
- Lasts, gets deeper with time.
- Accepts the person as a whole, flaws and all.
- Deeper than physical attraction.
- Improves overall deposition; brings balance to your life.
- Survives arguments.
- Considerate of the other person.
- In love with the actual person.
Lust: very strong sexual desire
- Happens instantly.
- Tends to be fleeting.
- Completely superficial, only involves an individual’s personal appearance and performance.
- Very fickle; won’t last in the face of conflict.
Infatuation: an intense but short-lived passion for someone or something
- Occurs instantly.
- Powerful but fleeting.
- Idealized image of partner, only showing them your good side.
- Focus on physical attraction.
- Emotionally draining.
- Brings out jealousy & possessiveness.
- May cause you to neglect other relationships.
- Avoids arguments.
- In love with the feeling of love.
The Greeks answered the question “what does love mean” with 7 types of love
“According the Greek Mythology, humans were originally created with two heads, four arms, four legs, and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate beings, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other half” — Plato
The Ancient Greeks had strong theories and explanations when it came to love and how we love. The quote above is in relation to soul mates, if only we could all be so lucky as to find that one person who we feel truly completes us. Unfortunately, you’re on your own in that department. Luckily, we are all capable of deciphering the type of love that we are, or the lover that we happen to be at the moment, as it tends to change. The Greeks broke up the different types of lovers and love into seven categories.1
1. Agape: Known as the unconditional love, but also a universal love. A love for your fellow man, children, God, nature, whatever it is that makes them swoon. This love is accepting, regardless of flaws, in fact the flaws are embraced. They can still love without liking the object of their affection at the time. It is a unselfish love, sacrificing without the intention of receiving. It is a translation of love in the verb form; it is love being demonstrated by another.
2. Phileo: An affectionate kind of love. Warm and tender. Typically a platonic love. Phileos desire friendship, and strive to make deep bonds with their acquaintances. It is translated as love in the noun form.
3. Storge: The love of family and friendship. It is the love that parents feel for their children. It is the love that causes best friends to fall into a romantic love, and for lovers to transition into best friends. This love is unconditional, and accepting of flaws. This love is committed, sacrificial, secure, comfortable, and safe.
4. Eros: A passionate and intense love that arouses deep romantic feelings. This love triggers feelings of euphoria, and makes you want to profess your love to your partner. (Perhaps sometimes a bit too soon.) It is deeply emotional and sexual. This love tends to be fleeting and fizzle out quickly. It is more infatuation that it is true love.
5. Ludus: Playful, uncommitted love. A lustful love. Acts of this love may be through dancing, teasing, flirting, and seducing. This love is noncommittal and requires absolutely no strings attached.
6. Pragma: Practical love, focused on duty or long-term interests. Sexual attraction takes a back seat while variables such as personal qualities, compatibilities and goals are the priority.