Are human beings capable of experiencing love in all its glory and the challenges that come with it? Wait, what is love, and how do we know that it even exists?
Love is a complex concept that words can’t really define, but it has to be recognized and felt by our hearts and souls. That’s how you know it’s real.
Love is the feeling you get when you impatiently wait for your loved one’s reply or when a forehead kiss multiplies those butterflies in your stomach. Love is also feeling confused and not knowing if it’s real or not.
Love is so powerful that there aren’t simply enough paragraphs in the world to define its essence. Today, we’ll try to fix that. The following paragraphs are written in an attempt to simplify love and celebrate its divine complexity.
Is Love Real Or An Illusion?
We’ve all witnessed the lavishness of love portrayed in movies. Once two souls fall in love with each other, their worlds become brighter and more colorful. Of course, before they’re ready to indulge in the essence of pure love, they need to overcome a few challenges.
After that, they usually reach the happy-ever-after stage, and we’re all happy for them. Inspired by their romance, we start contemplating the definition of love in real life.
Are we capable of experiencing love as it is depicted in movies, or is all of this just a big lie sold to us to make us feel less miserable?
(Pardon me for the following digression.)
The other day, when I was in a cab, Hillsong Young & Free’s “Real Love” made the awkward silence extremely bearable. The This is real love lyrics are still ringing in my ears:
“Yeah, this love is for real
You will never let go
Never let go, oh
And it’s more than just words
Love beyond my control
Out of control
This is real love
This is real love…”
When the song finished, multiple questions occupied my brain, such as the following:
Suddenly, Lady Gaga’s “Perfect Illusion” lyrics started to mix with Hillsong Young & Free’s: “It wasn’t love, it wasn’t love. It was a perfect illusion (Perfect illusion)…”
So, I decided to do my research. Here’s what I found out based on my personal experience (and of people close to me) and data I found on the internet:
Love is real, but it can’t really be defined. You either experience the intense feelings of love, or you don’t. You either know it’s true love, or you don’t.
If you ask me, there’s no gray area here. Things are actually pretty simple: We fall in love, and we either stay in love with that person, or we fall out of love, and that’s the reality.
If you can express feelings of love, then you know it’s real.
Is Love At First Sight Real?
Is love real? Yes, it is. But, is love at first sight real, and why does it happen?
Whenever I try to imagine the concept of falling in love at first sight, I think of this: A man and a woman on the street (or at a bar) looking each other in the eye. Then comes the moment of sudden realization that they know each other even though it’s their first encounter.
Time stops. Everyone else around them becomes invisible, and it feels like a real-life movie scene of soulmates connecting through the eyes. But, is it really like this? Let’s find out.
There aren’t many studies on love at first sight, but here’s an interesting empirical investigation from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Researcher Florian Zsok and his team discovered that love at first sight happens rarely.
In their study, such love was based primarily on signs of physical attraction between two people. Basically, what these two people are experiencing is lust and not love at first sight.
However, through time, this lust turns into something more meaningful, and that’s when we can officially call it ‘love at first sight.’
So, is love at first sight real? Yes, it is real, but it is based on physical attraction, and every single one of us experiences it differently.
In case you’re not sure whether you’re experiencing it or not, here are a few signs of love at first sight:
- An urgent desire to know more about the other person.
- Lust is accompanied by a feeling of comfort, curiosity, and hopefulness.
- Consistent direct eye contact.
- Being unable to stop thinking about that special person.
Also, don’t forget to trust your gut feelings because they always tell the truth. This is often neglected by a lot of people.
What Is Love, Really?
Well, there isn’t one true definition of love that is universally accepted. Every single one of us experiences it in a different way.
Of course, there are some things that the majority of us experience, such as butterflies in our stomach that are really intense not only during high school but generally in the honeymoon phase. (I hope you noticed my sarcastic attempts.)
Even though I can’t give you a universal definition of love, I can try to explain it in my own words because I was lucky to experience it.
So, romantic love is the most natural feeling in the world because love feels easy. Of course, challenges are inevitable, but most of the time, love feels like breathing.
Love is two people trying to make the relationship work.
It’s when you can’t wait to share every single detail of your past and your life today with your significant other because it makes you feel even more connected to them.
You also want to know everything about them (their preferences, their past mistakes, goals, dreams). You can’t stop thinking about all those corny romantic things to say to them.
Love means fighting for one another, taking care of each other’s well-being, and being responsible for each other’s happiness.
Love means being together even when there’s no laughter or hope for better days because love stays no matter the circumstances.
Love also means writing 365 reasons why I love you for each day of the year because nothing is too much for the person you love.
It’s the warm feeling that you get every time you read their text message or hear their voice, even if you’ve been together for years.
It’s when you feel someone is thinking about you, and you know that someone is them. And whenever you kiss or make love, it feels like the first time.
What Are The Five Love Languages?
You have probably heard about the concept of the 5 love languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. These love languages include affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. Every person has their own love language (or a few of them), so learning different types of love languages helps create the needed balance in a relationship:
Words of affirmation
This love language includes spoken words, praise, and appreciation. A person with this love language enjoys receiving inspiring love quotes, love songs, cute texts, I miss you quotes, hearing sweet I love you sayings, etc.
If your loved one speaks this love language, use words of affirmation to make them feel special and appreciated. You can do this by complimenting them or simply expressing your feelings in various ways.
Spending quality time together means giving your loved one your undivided attention. Indeed, the most precious thing you can give someone you care about is your time.
This means taking a break from your cell phone (no social media), maintaining eye contact, and actively listening to their every word.
This love language expresses love in one of the most intimate ways, and it helps you establish a deep connection, which is the key to every healthy relationship.
People with physical touch love language express love through physical touch. This includes holding hands, subtle touches, giving your special one a massage after a long day at work, etc.
Physical touch also includes long cuddling sessions (my personal favorite). If your partner speaks this love language, make sure to express your affection through the magic of physical closeness and touch.
Acts of service
This love language includes little acts of service, such as helping with the dishes, random chores, making them coffee, helping them with different tasks (especially when they ask you to).
Doing little things for your loved ones is one of the most romantic ways to express your ultimate love and affection. At the end of the day, it’s the little things that make us happy.
Gift-giving is a symbol of love and affection where time and effort invested in the gift is as equally praised as the gift itself.
Don’t get me wrong. People with this love language don’t expect expensive gifts, but they pay more attention to what’s behind it because there lies the true appeal.
Is Love Scientifically Proven?
Yes, there is actual science to love because when we fall in love, there are biochemical changes that happen in our brains.
Many studies in neuroscience have indicated that as people fall in love, they all go through the three stages of love. Each one of these stages is driven by a unique blend of brain chemicals:
- Lust: Lust is governed by the levels of testosterone (men) and estrogen (women) in our bodies.
- Attraction: Attraction is governed by adrenaline (fight or flight), norepinephrine (alertness), dopamine (pleasure), and serotonin (happiness). When combined, these chemicals are responsible for feeling euphoria, skin flushing, sweaty palms, and increased heartbeat. That is when the early signs of compatibility and powerful signs of chemistry start to develop.
- Attachment: Attachment is driven by oxytocin and vasopressin. Oxytocin is known as the ‘cuddle’ hormone, and that’s the reason people begin to feel closely bonded to each other. Also, this is the hormone that drives the bond between mother and child.
If you’re still asking yourself, Is love real? now you know for sure that it is because if it isn’t, we wouldn’t be able to scientifically prove it, right?
Some of you might think now: There is no such thing as love. It’s your brain playing tricks on you. Well, maybe you’re right about that.
You can call it ‘love’ or your ‘brain playing tricks on you,’ but we all know that it goes far beyond simple neurons, pheromones, and chemical reactions in the brain.
These chemicals explain why it is so painful to break up a romantic relationship (especially a long-term relationship).
Getting over heartbreak hurts so much because losing someone you love is almost the same thing as going through withdrawal. Finding love after heartbreak is even more challenging, and some of us even develop philophobia (the fear of falling in love).
How Do You Know If It’s Real Love?
Now that we’ve established that love does exist, another question arises: How can you know if the love you feel is real love? We’ve all heard stories about fake love, and some of us have even experienced it.
If you have gone through it, know that I’m truly sorry. I encourage you not to lose hope in real love because it does exist. Now you are probably wondering: But how can you prove it?
I have a question for you too: Have you ever fallen in love with someone but were unable to express in words why you like that person so much?
If yes, then that’s how you know it’s the real thing. It’s when you feel deep down in your heart that they are your special person and your love is real, but you cannot prove it to anyone or yourself with neither words nor actions.
If you’re interested in the concept of true love in romantic relationships, here’s how to recognize it:
Real love is not demanding
Such love accepts flaws and imperfections, giving you enough space to express yourself and be who you really are.
Waking up without any makeup, not shaving your beard for some time, and sharing tears and happy moments are all priceless experiences that make your bond even stronger.
Real love comes naturally
If you’re asking yourself too many questions about your relationship, your partner, and your future together, then something is not right. Then, you know you’re probably not in love.
When you’re truly in love, everything feels natural, and you know you’ll always be there for each other, no matter what happens.
You’re no longer afraid of the future because you know you have each other’s backs, even if the whole world is against you. That’s the ultimate power of unconditional love, aka undying love – the kind of love that many of us chase without knowing that it comes naturally.
It is reciprocal
Real love doesn’t support only giving or only receiving. Real love is reciprocal and balanced, and it makes sacrifices for each other’s well-being.
You know you’re in a loving relationship when you’re focused more on giving than on receiving. When both partners feel that way, balance is created. That balance is called real love.
Real love is based on friendship
To experience real love, you need to be friends with your partner. This includes spending quality time together, sharing jokes, talking about things that annoy you and things that inspire you.
Real love means sharing passions and understanding each other’s dreams. True love is based on friendship because true friendship lasts forever.
It is committed
Being truly in love with someone means not wanting to be with anyone else but them. You know it’s unconditional love when nothing and no one can replace your loved one.
No matter how attractive other people are (both mentally and physically), you simply don’t feel the need to be with others. Why?
Because they are not your significant other, and you know they would never be able to make you as happy as them.
Real love lasts
True love lasts because when you truly love someone, you’re ready to work through anything just to stay together. It lasts because both partners fight for it day after day.
Neither serious nor trivial problems can destroy real love’s balance because a couples’ determination, love, and respect for one another are stronger than any obstacle out there.
You know it’s real love when you no longer ask yourself that one question, Is love real? because you finally know the answer to that question.
Still having doubts?
If you love someone, let them go. If they come back, then you know you’re meant to be together, and it’s real love.
Is Love Real Quotes
Still wondering if true love exists? There is no better way to depict what real love really is than with heartwarming unconditional love quotes. These quotes will help you understand what it feels like to love and be loved truly:
1. “True love lasts forever.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin
2. “True love doesn’t happen right away; it’s an ever-growing process. It develops after you’ve gone through many ups and downs, when you’ve suffered together, cried together, laughed together.” – Ricardo Montalban
3. “True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself. It is equal and pure, without violent demonstrations: it is seen with white hairs and is always young in the heart.” – Honoré de Balzac
4. “Real love is always chaotic. You lose control; you lose perspective. You lose the ability to protect yourself. The greater the love, the greater the chaos. It’s a given, and that’s the secret.” – Jonathan Carroll
5. “Loving someone and having them love you back is the most precious thing in the world.” – Nicholas Sparks
6. “True love brings up everything – you’re allowing a mirror to be held up to you daily.” – Jennifer Aniston
7. “True love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have. And, if you go to draw at the true fountainhead, the more water you draw, the more abundant is its flow.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
8. “True love is choosing the many things a person did right rather than the one thing he did wrong. True love does not keep a record of wrongs.” – Unknown
9. “Love is pure and true; love knows no gender.” – Tori Spelling
10. “True love is not a strong, fiery, impetuous passion. It is, on the contrary, an element calm and deep. It looks beyond mere externals and is attracted by qualities alone. It is wise and discriminating, and its devotion is real and abiding.” – Ellen G. White
11. “True love that lasts forever… Yes, I do believe in it. My parents have been married for 40 years, and my grandparents were married for 70 years. I come from a long line of true loves.” – Zooey Deschanel
12. “True love does not only encompass the things that make you feel good, it also holds you to a standard of accountability.” – Monica Johnson
13. “True love is knowing a person’s faults, and loving them even more for them.” – Unknown
14. “True love is finding your soulmate in your best friend.” – Faye Hall
15. “I could not tell you if I loved you the first moment I saw you or if it was the second or third or fourth. But, I remember the first moment I looked at you walking toward me and realized that somehow, the rest of the world seemed to vanish when I was with you.” – Cassandra Clare
16. “Two things you will never have to chase: True friends & true love.” – Mandy Hale
17. “Love is not an equation, it is not a contract, and it is not a happy ending. Love is the slate under the chalk, the ground that buildings rise, and the oxygen in the air. It is the place you come back to no matter where you’re headed” – Jodi Picoult
18. “I believe in the immeasurable power of love; that true love can endure any circumstance and reach across any distance.” – Steve Maraboli
19. “It is only with true love and compassion that we can begin to mend what is broken in the world. It is these two blessed things that can begin to heal all broken hearts.” – Steve Maraboli
20. “The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That’s what I hope to give you forever.” – Nicholas Sparks
21. “True love doesn’t need proof. The eyes told what the heart felt.” – Toba Beta
22. “True love is not a hide-and-seek game: in true love, both lovers seek each other.” – Michael Bassey Johnson
23. “True love is taking the risk that it won’t be a happily-ever-after. True love is joining hands with the man who loves you for who you are and saying, ‘I’m not afraid to believe in you.’” – Cara Lockwood
24. “My heart is set as firmly as ever the heart of man was set on woman. I have no thought, no view, no hope in life beyond her; and if you oppose me in this great stake, you take my peace and happiness in your hands and cast them to the wind.” – Charles Dickens
25. “To be deeply loved means a willingness to cut yourself wide open, exposing your vulnerabilities… hopes, hurts, fears, and flaws. Hiding behind the highlight reel of who you are is the real you, and that person is just as worthy of love. There is nothing more terrifying or fulfilling than complete love; it’s worth the risk… reach for it.” – Jaeda DeWalt
Love Is Real If You Believe It Is
So, is love real or an illusion? Hmm… The real question is: Is anything real nowadays? Just because we can’t see or touch love doesn’t mean it’s not real.
Love is a feeling, and it’s a powerful one. It can trick you into doing things you never thought of doing, and it can make you question your sanity and reality. Love is real if you believe it is.