The Psychology of Love: How to Love and Be Loved
You might not realize it yet, but you are surrounded by love. When you wake up in the morning, the first things that you’ll probably see are the eyes and smiles of your family as they say their morning greetings.
You step out of your house to head to work and your dog comes up to you, tail wagging, to see you off. While driving to the office, you turn on the music and what do you hear? Ditties about love.
While stopped by a traffic light, you look out the window and see a middle-aged couple sharing breakfast in the coffee shop across the street. You turn to look at the car next to you and see a mother gently wiping a speck of dust from her daughter’s face.
Suddenly, the giant billboard on the façade of a building catches your eye and you smile as you read the inspiring love quote flashing on it. When the light turned green, you continue driving, smiling and feeling light and wonderful.
So much manifestations of love everywhere, and that was just in a small fraction of your day.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LOVE
Love is everywhere. Unfortunately, not everyone recognizes this fact, and that is mostly because they do not fully comprehend what love is. Love, for some people, is that emotion shared between two individuals, involving a deep connection and intimacy. When they hear the word, they immediately think “romance”. They also equate it with the affection that one feels for a family member or blood relative, or a friend that they care about.
Ask someone to define what love is, and you’ll probably end up just staring at each other – with you waiting expectantly as he freezes, trying to come up with a coherent reply. In the end, he might just claim that it is something that cannot be truly defined. Why, even the most brilliant minds seem to have trouble assigning a proper and accurate definition for it!
But psychologists today would beg to differ. Love, after all, has connections with one’s behavior and attitude, and since it is, at its core, an emotion, it can be studied subjectively and analyzed systematically. That is what is called the psychology of love.
If we are to come up with a definition for love, we’d have to settle for one that utilizes a broad view, describing it as a set or variety of feelings, attitudes, behaviors and states that represent an individual’s pleasure over something, or his affection for other human beings and creatures. Therefore, one can declare their love for their parents or romantic partners just as easily as they can openly claim how they love Starbucks coffee or the new pair of shoes that they saw on a storefront on the way to work.
We often hear Love being described as one of the most profound and even mysterious emotions, and that is largely because of how broad or large an area it encompasses. Researchers’ attempts to have an easier time understanding love came up with several theories, and we will take a look at two of them.
The Color Wheel Theory of Love
John Allan Lee, a Canadian psychologist, came up with the Color Wheel Theory of Love, which he first talked about in his 1973 book “Colours of Love: An Exploration of the Ways of Loving”. This is where he introduced six major types of love, divided into two categories: primary and secondary.
Primary types of love
1. Eros, or “love of beauty”
This is the romantic, sensual and passionate type of love (eros is, after all, the Greek term for “erotic” and “passionate”), characterized by a physical desire for an idealized other, or the lover. In the eyes of the individual experiencing this type of love, no one is more beautiful than his or her lover. Lee distinguishes erotic lovers for their penchant of gaining delight and enjoyment in the tactile. They love to touch and feel, which is why their type of love is closely associated with sex which, in eros speak, is the “ultimate aesthetic experience”. Clearly, hormones play a big role in how this type of love plays out.
The natural progression of eros starts from the first meeting, which brought about the much hyped or talked about concept of “love at first sight”. Upon meeting, two people will feel drawn to each other, and this is called “chemistry”. Their connection may be traced to a strong physical attraction, such as when one finds the other handsome or beautiful, or an intense emotional attraction, such as when they find themselves liking the same things and having common interests. This will be the basis of their relationship and, from there, the lovers will find themselves picturing starting to build a future together.
Sex and sexual fulfillment factor largely in eros, and their emotions can be easily surmised in their physiological reactions. At the sight, proximity, and even the mere thought of their lovers, they experience acceleration in their heartbeat and pulse rate, a sudden attack of the nerves and butterflies in their stomach, warmth creeping up their bodies, speechlessness and a general lack of coherent thought when in the company of the object of their affection.
Traits and Quirks of Erotic Lovers
- Erotic lovers are able to feel, create and nurture both a strong emotional and physical connection. These two always go together, meaning a person cannot feel physical attraction for another without feeling something deeper for them and, in contrast, he won’t be able to feel anything deep or meaningful for that person unless he is physically drawn to her. If he experiences only one of the two, then that is another type of love (which we will get to later).
- Erotic lovers are inclined to seek exclusivity in the relationship. There is an ingrained desire for an erotic lover to make the other emotionally and sexually secure in the relationship, so he is most likely to commit to keeping his “intimate and sexual self” exclusively to his lover. Naturally, he will expect the same from his lover.
- Erotic love happens spontaneously. Generally, this type of love blossoms between two complete strangers who, at their first meeting, will experience immediate excitement and anticipation, spurred by a powerful and almost urgent attraction.
- Erotic lovers want things to move quickly. From the first moment they met, they knew they are in love, so why wait? These two people are likely to start having sexual relations early in their relationship, even just shortly after their meeting.
- Erotic loversare the quintessential “hopeless romantics”, putting their partners on a pedestal, thinking that they can do no wrong, and treating them like fragile glass. They are the ones you will hear using pet names for each other unabashedly, such as “Sweetie”, “Honey”, “Cookie” and “Babycakes”.
- Erotic lovers are those who are ready for love, in spite of the risks and uncertainties that come with it. They get a sense of strength and fearlessness in the knowledge that they will be with their lover to face and handle these risks.
Advantages of Erotic Love
- The main advantage of eros is in its sentimentality, or how it is rooted on deep feelings and emotions such as tenderness, affection and protectiveness, among others.
- Eros provides satisfaction for both parties – both emotionally and physically (or sexually). They will both be able to freely give in to their urges and engage in activities that will give them mutual pleasure and satisfaction.
- Eros can prove to be a great motivator, inspiring an individual to do better – to become better – in order to satisfy his lover and keep her happy.
- On a physiological level, eros allows the person feeling it to be relaxed and relieved, as he lets his emotions and hormones freely take control.
Disadvantages of Erotic Love
- Eros can be so passionate, it will eventually become a consuming emotion for the lovers. Preoccupation with their lover and their relationship has a tendency to block out all else, so other aspects of their lives will be neglected. For example, a man now spends all his time with his lover that his family members complain about never being able to see him anymore. His supervisors also notice how his performance has significantly dropped because he was always the first to get off work without finishing his tasks, because he is always in a rush to meet his partner.
- Eros requires nurturing, which also demands a lot of effort from both lovers. Keeping the love going strong will need a lot of work and contribution from both parties. They have to sustain their interest in each other and keep the flames burning, so to speak. And this pertains to both the physical and emotional aspect of the relationship.
- Erosmay blur the line between fantasy and reality too much. This often leads to disillusionment on the part of the lovers, so they are unknowingly setting themselves up for huge disappointments, if something goes wrong in their relationship.
Watch this great talk on the psychology of love. Awesome!
Short-lived relationships often fall under this category, and is often experienced by competitive individuals who like to have fun. For ludic lovers, love is a game, and their measure of victory is the number of partners they will have. They adopt an “in-the-moment” attitude, not caring about the future of the relationship. In fact, more often than not, they do not really expect the relationship to go further, or anywhere beyond the here and now.
Ludic lovers do not consider love as something to be taken seriously. Love is a game to be played, sex is the sport, and their partners are toys to play with. In their multiple relationships, they want to be the superior one, or the one in control. They are not above cheating, lying, or deceiving, since they see these actions as necessary “moves” in the “game”.
The word “commitment” does not exist in their vocabulary and, for them, marriage is nothing but a trap that will tie them down and curtail their fun-loving ways.
Traits and Quirks of Ludic Lovers
- Ludic lovers are predisposed to having multiple partners – often at the same time – that display a wide range of taste in partners. There is no specific type of partner that he is drawn to, because “anyone willing” will do. In other words, it’s quantity over quality.
- Ludic lovers have the ability to delay satisfaction of their sexual desire for their partners, if only to fan the flames and whet their appetites. For them, the waiting game is part of the fun, and prolonging the wait can mean more satisfaction when they finally engage in sex.
- The ludic lover loves whoever is in close proximity at that moment. One moment he claims to love one partner; the moment that partner is out of sight, he will turn to the one nearest to him and direct his love for that new partner.
- Ludic lovers become anxious and run at the first sign of their partner becoming too intimate and serious with them. At the first indication that the partner is starting to expect something more, something long term, they will cut off all ties.
Advantages of Ludic Love
- Ludic lovers are known to be masters in sexual techniques, well-versed and practiced in the art of making (physical) love to a partner, or more than one partner at once.
- Ludic lovers have impressive recovery abilities. They are not the type to sustain any lingering damage from a break-up, because they have most likely developed immunity to it, having probably gone through multiple breakups in the past.
- Admittedly, ludic lovers have a lot of fun and derive a lot of satisfaction from these short-lived and mostly physical-based relationships. They have simple goals, which means they are also easily satisfied.
Disadvantages of Ludic Love
- Even when they claim to be looking for a stable relationship, ludic lovers are still presumed to be highly capable of infidelity, or the inability to be loyal to only one partner at one time, given their promiscuous behavior. They will have the “once a player, always a player” stigma attached to them.
- Ludic lovers have, at best, shallow feelings for their partners, and this becomes second nature to them, so that they are unable to feel any deep emotions or connections with a partner. This does not make them reliable prospects for marriage, or any long-term relationship.
- Ludic lovers have a strong inclination to develop addiction to sex which, if left unchecked, can lead to bigger problems in other aspects of their lives, such as their social circles and professional endeavors.
When we talk of familial love (the love for, between and among family), fraternal love, and love between best friends and companions, we are referring to storge. It puts a high value on one’s loyalties, duties and responsibilities toward others – mainly their partners and family members.
This is the peaceful and uncomplicated kind of love – no passionate heat involved, no tumultuous storm of feelings, no angst, and certainly no rollercoaster rides of emotions. It is safe and comforting, and gradual in how it grows and develops. This love grows out of friendship, or even extended periods of togetherness, as one would see between siblings who have lived together since birth.
You may see this happen between two people who first meet in an uneventful manner. There is no love at first sight to speak of. They strike up a friendship, which then slowly deepens into something deeper and more serious, and becomes the kind of love that will bind them in matrimony.
Sex is also a factor, but not as pervasive as in eros. In fact, sex does not figure into the whole picture in the beginning, since it will only develop later in the relationship, when their feelings have become deeper. The only time sex will factor in the equation is when the cards are laid out on the table, and they have declared commitment to each other.
Traits and Quirks of a Storge Lover
- Family ties are important, so the storge lover pursues this type of love with marriage, family and kids in mind for the future. This also makes him a bit on the possessive side, but only to a reasonable extent, as he is not given to fits of jealousy.
- A storge lover looks at his partner or significant other as a best friend first, and then starts to see her potential to be a lifelong partner, with whom he can build a family and a home with.
- A person that experiences storge rarely, if ever, holds grudges. He is the type to still be friends with someone even after they have broken up or ended their relationship.
Advantages of Storge Love
- Storge love is safe, and not likely to damage or hurt anyone, unlike ludic love, where one party is playing with the other, often without the latter’s knowledge. It is not meant to cause hurt to anyone, and even has a strong foundation: friendship. Even if the intimacy is over, the friendship will still remain.
- A storge lover is not likely to commit infidelity or become unfaithful to his partner, because he does not want to “rock the boat”, or do anything to harm the safe sanctuary that they have built together.
Disadvantages of Storge Love
- The absence or lack of passion in storge often gives the impression that it is not deep enough to stand the test of time. Since sex ranks low on this love’s scale of importance, it may often be seen as a bland and unimpressive kind of love.
- The lack of passion or heat may also lead to boredom by one, or both, of the partners. Their refusal to destroy the trust of their partners will then force them to simply go through the motions of everyday home life, not really looking forward to anything special happening.
Secondary types of love
This combines the characteristics of eros and ludos, and results in a love that can only be described as “obsessive”. Ever heard of the phrase “mad love”? That could very well be mania, which means “madness” in Latin.
Unfortunately, mania has the extremes of both eros and ludos. That means anyone experiencing it is in for quite a rollercoaster ride of positive and negative emotions. He could be euphoric in extreme happiness one minute, then utterly depressed the next, only to swing up to a simmering rage in the next moment.
For the manic lover, jealousy is a proof of his love. He thinks that, by expressing extreme jealousy, he is proving his love for his partner and, if his partner displays jealous fits over him, then that is a sure sign that he is loved.
The quest for validation and reassurance is almost a constant thing, to the extent that they are bound to experience long bouts of anxiety, uncertainty and despair. Even sexual intimacy does not bring them the assurance and satisfaction that they expect, because they will feel more uncertain after the act. It is easy for them to go from extremely happy to extremely dissatisfied or fearful, and this practically keeps them from being happy in their partners and in their relationships.
Traits and Quirks of a Manic Lover
- The manic lover usually has a low self-esteem, and sees the attentions of someone else as validation of his worth or existence. This results in a very strong and almost consuming need to be loved by his partner.
- The manic lover can be very possessive, and is the type to let extreme jealousy take control, driving rational thoughts and actions away. Therefore, he is often seen as moody, bipolar, unpredictable and insecure.
- The manic lover has a strong tendency to be clingy and very demanding, even resorting to shadowing and stalking their partners, and force them into showing emotions and reciprocating their feelings. They justify their actions by saying that they love that person.
- The manic lover almost expects to be hurt or feel pain, and this fatalistic attitude holds them back from enjoying intimacy with their partner.
Advantages of Manic Love
- Manic love involves a show of dedication, devotion and commitment that some people may feed off of. For example, a person who has always spent his life alone, without being needed by anyone, may appreciate being on the receiving end of a manic type of love.
- The intensity of manic love can be quite impressive in how single-minded it can be.
Disadvantages of Manic Love
- When manic love turns into obsession, it could set up a poisonous environment for the couple, one tinged with distrust and suspicions. Fights and arguments are bound to ensue, which does not make for a harmonious living environment, both for the partners and the people around them.
- Manic lovers have the tendency to become codependent and addicted on the object of their affection, with their life choices revolving around their partners.
- Manic lovers can be easily taken advantage of by Ludic lovers, who will readily show appreciation for them as long as they fall in line with the rules of their game.
There are people who prefer to be practical and realistic in their approach to all things in life, including love. Thus, they experience love that combines the features of ludos and storge. Their approach is ludic, in that they treat the process of looking for partners as a business-like search. They cast their nets wide, catch as many partners as they can, and select from among them the person that they can have a future with. That is where the storge part comes in.
Pragmatic lovers use logic in how they look for a life-long partner. They do not rely on their physical responses and hormones – as eros lovers do – and they do not have the patience to establish friendships first – as pure storge lovers do – before pursuing a deeper and meaningful relationship. Their systematic approach also makes them far from being manic.
The pragmatic lover has a specific picture in mind of what his lover should be like, and that will be his basis in going forward with his search for that person. Usually, he will be strict, sticking to those standards, and readily rejecting those that do not quite match up. You will find him looking closely into the other person’s background, including her education, family history, religion, affiliations, hobbies and other interests.
Sexual desire and interest is usually aroused only when they meet the ideal man or woman, or the person that meets his standards. This means that sexual attraction does not rank high on his list of priorities. Even if he does not feel any attraction for that person, if his standards are met, then they can work on the sexual side of things later on.
More than romance, convenience is the focus of pragmatic love. They have expectations of their partners and of their relationship, and they want these expectations to be met. Their goals have to be common or complementary in order for him to consider her as a potential lifelong partner. It’s a quid pro quo relationship, a symbiotic union where both will benefit from the relationship.
Traits and Quirks of Pragmatic Lovers
- The pragmatic lover can be quite cold when rejecting partners that do not meet the criteria or standards that they have previously set. This makes them cold-hearted and ruthless, and they usually won’t feel bad about being viewed as such.
- Usually, the pragmatic lover will base his “ideal” type on someone he already knows. This may lead him to look for a potential partner among his circles, or from those who he is already familiar with.
- The pragmatic lover will ask “what is in it for me if I get in a relationship with this person?” This indicates that he is forward-looking and will always look for value in his relationship and partner choices.
Advantages of Pragmatic Love
- Since this is grounded on practicality and reality, a relationship based on pragmatic love has higher chances of lasting for a long time. This is because emotions do not play a huge part in how it is developed and nurtured.
- When done right, it can result to a fruitful and productive relationship. A quintessential example of a pragmatic relationship is a political marriage, where a politician marries a spouse with the right background and credentials to boost his public image, while the spouse will reap the benefits of becoming a politician’s – and future official’s – significant other.
Disadvantages of Pragmatic Love
- Just like in business, a relationship founded on pragmatic love may turn sour when the business partners are no longer pulling their weight, so to speak. If, somewhere along the way, their goals have become differentiated, or the other partner has become a burden to the other and is no longer contributing to the partnership, the relationship may go down the drain.
- There is a chance of the pragmatic lover becoming manic. Having a predetermined or preconceived notion of Mr. Right or Ms. Right has the tendency to render the pragmatic lover inflexible, so that when he finds someone that he feels drawn to, but who meets only about 90% of his criteria, he’d be inclined to force that person to fit the remaining 10% mold.
This type of love, which is based on selflessness, is said to be a mix of eros and storge.
When we talk of unconditional love, or the love that is altruistic and does not demand or expect anything in return, that is agape love. This is considered to be love in its purest form, with the lover being selfless and willing to make sacrifices for the one that he loves. This is the reason why it is also often equated with the religious or traditional type of love.
Saints and martyrs are known and beloved for their selfless and giving nature – their agape love – so it does not come as a surprise to hear selfless people being called “martyrs” when it comes to love, because they are willing to do anything and everything for the other person.
Agape love is chaste and patient, and does not demand for any form of reciprocation. It sounds too good to be true, and John Robert Lee’s survey did not turn up anyone who qualifies as an agape lover, leading him to the conclusion that this type of love is the ideal and, therefore, not all that realistic.
Lee added that agape love is easier to feel for all humanity in general than for an individual. This is almost like saying that it is impossible for a person to feel unconditional love for a certain someone.
Traits and Quirks of an Agape Lover
- The agape lover is selfless, without regard to his pain as long as the person he loves is in excellent hands. He is also very giving, even at his own expense.
- The agape lover is compassionate and kind, emulating an almost saintly devotion that most people would be impressed with but will still probably scoff at, and not take seriously.
- There is no jealousy, possessiveness or obsession in how the agape lover treats his partner. He is more than happy to just be beside her or behind her, whenever and wherever he needs her.
Advantages of Agape Love
- The purity of agape love means that it has no preconceived standards, and so there won’t be any judgment at all. The “I don’t care who you are, where you’re from” mentality will apply.
- Agape love can inspire the lover to seek for self-improvement. If he lacks in the sex department, he will show ready willingness to learn. If he lacks in other areas, he will not hesitate to seek improvement.
Disadvantage of Agape Love
- The agape lover may be opening himself up to being taken advantage of by other lovers, especially the ludic and manic lovers. They keep on giving, while their partner will keep on taking and taking, and not giving anything in return because, hey, it’s not expected of them anyway.
- Unrequited love or unreciprocated affections tend to become exhausting, painful and even toxic after a while, and the agape lover may just be torturing himself knowing that he will never have his affections answered. This will make for a very lonely existence, indeed.
- The risk is very high that the agape lover will be nothing more than a carer in the eyes of the recipient of his affections.
Here is an interesting summary of our main feelings. Love being one of them.
STERNBERG’S DUPLEX THEORY OF LOVE
Now let us take another psychological look at love, this time from the point of view of Robert J. Sternberg, Professor of Human Development at Cornell University. He came up with the Duplex Theory of Love, called as such because it is comprised of two theories, which were used to be treated separately – the Triangular Theory of Love and the Theory of Love as a Story.
1. Triangular Theory of Love
According this theory, love has three aspects manifested by three components that react and interact with each other.
- Intimacy, which refers to the caring, closeness, connectedness and emotional support within a loving relationship.
- Passion, or the states of physiological and emotional arousal that lead to romance and sexual consummation and satisfaction, and other related phenomena.
- Commitment or Decision, where these two are differentiated by the outlook. Commitment takes the long-term view, referring to the commitment to maintain the love in a relationship. Decision, on the other hand, is short-term oriented, since it involves the conscious choice and recognition of loving someone.
The interaction of these three components can come in various combinations, with one or two aspect being more pervasive than the others, and vice versa. The varied combinations of the components result in eight kinds of love:
- Non-love – This type of love is low on all three components: there is very little intimacy, the amount of passion is very minimal, and there is neither a decision to love someone nor a commitment to sustain it. It is what one would see between two casual acquaintances, such as lab partners at school, professional co-workers, and business partners.
- Liking – In this type of love, there is only one component at play, and that is intimacy. Both revel in their closeness and connectedness, and they greatly count on each other for emotional support. An example is the relationship between people involved in group therapy or counseling. They share their pains and experiences, but that is all there is.
- Infatuation love – Passion is the only component at work here. This is something commonly seen in purely physical or sexual relationships, where there no emotions involved and, therefore, no strings attached.
- Empty love – This involves commitment and nothing else. The partners are resigned to staying together even when they are not inclined to care for each other or get close enough to provide emotional support, and they don’t even feel any physical attraction toward each other. This is often seen in marriages entered into for purely business reasons.
- Romantic love – This is high on both intimacy and passion. Physical attraction is present, and their emotions are also involved. However, it does not necessarily mean they will readily admit and decide that they are in love, and that they will keep that love going.
- Companionate love – This is when both are emotionally involved with each other, and they are keen on keeping their love going for the long term. Best friends have this kind of love, especially when they openly express to make their friendship last forever.
- Fatuous love – The love they feel is mostly based on how they connect on a physical and sexual level, and they use that to commit to staying together in a relationship they can see lasting for a long time.
- Consummate love – This is the type of love that has all three ingredients, regardless of the ratio or proportion.
2. Theory of Love as a Story
Ask around, and you will find that people’s perceptions and notions of the definition of love is shaped mostly by the stories that they see, hear, read about, or witness firsthand. Humans are naturally observant, and they easily draw conclusions from those observations, so they take all the things that they learn about love in all the stories they are exposed to, and they start to mentally draw a picture of what love is.
Thus, when they start to look for love for themselves, or seek partners, they use that picture they drew in their head as a basis or standard. For example, a young woman grew up in a loving family, with parents that do not hesitate to express their affection for each other. She was raised reading fairy tales, with stories of princesses living happily ever after with their respective princes. As an adult, she also witnessed her older siblings making great matches in their marriages and watched as they started their own families.
All these painted in her mind the image of love being associated with shared laughter and loving smiles, warm hugs and soft caresses, and bright airy homes with white picket fences. It’s pleasant, it’s safe, and it’s tranquil. This is her notion of love.
Compare that to a teenage girl who grew up reading young adult books featuring fantastical creatures such as vampires and werewolves fighting over a human girl, or handsome fallen angels coming to earth to save a damsel in distress. In her mind, love is when a mysterious and incredibly great-looking man appears in front of her and sweeps her off her feet.
Culture, media, and experiences shape how we come to define and understand love. Often, we make our own stories, which gives us carte blanche to come up with our own definitions of what love is, or what it should be.
HOW TO LOVE AND BE LOVED IN RETURN
From John Robert Lee’s detailed study of love and its six types, he came to the conclusion that the most mutually satisfying love affair or relationship can be achieved between two people, or partners, who follow the same definition of love and share the same style of loving. It would seem that he is not an advocate of the “opposites attract” theory, since the disparity in two people’s styles of loving is likely to drive a wedge between them and drive them apart, or it may not even give love a chance to bloom.
Sternberg’s take on the entire concept of love focuses on the three components, implying that, to experience consummate or complete love, all three must be present. Knowing those three components and being able to identify them in the realities of your relationships will help you identify what kind of love it is.
The million dollar question is: How will all this knowledge help us, personally, in loving others, and having them love us back? Here are some points for consideration:
Establish your awareness and set your criteria.
This is the first step in most life-changing decisions: you have to know who you are.
Are you someone that is easy to love? What do you have that will attract other people? What about you will grab their interest and draw them to you? On the other hand, what are you looking for in a person you will love? What do you expect from loving these people? What future do you envision? And what kind of love are you capable of? Incidentally, what types of love have you experienced and applied in the past?
These are only a few of the questions you need to ask yourself.
Psychologists also suggest lovemapping, or creating a mental checklist – called the “lovemap” – containing the criteria or standards that must be met by another person before you can decide whether to love them or not. This is basically your mental image of what you want in a potential relationship. In an example of a Personal Lovemap by relationship expert Rachel A. Sussman, the factors considered were biological, cultural, social and psychological. But your lovemap can be something that is purposefully designed with a potential love interest in mind.
And it does not have to be set in stone, either. Your lovemap should be a checklist that contain the basics, which means they are the minimum requirement that must be met in order for that person to be considered for your loving. It could be anything from “He should have finished college and have a good, stable job” to “he must love cats and dogs” and “he must not mind having a talkative partner”.
Establish your presence, but respect their space.
You cannot possibly show your love when you are not present, can you? That person has to know that you exist, and that you plan on being a constant presence around him. You want to show him that you plan on sticking around, and he can count on you being there for him.
Along with this, however, is you demonstrating that you still respect his personal space. There are distances that are not meant to be crossed, even between two people already in a relationship, unless they agreed to do away with those lines. Show that you are still capable of respecting their personal space even while you are sticking close.
Let them know you love them.
This is often a problem among couples and those in loving relationships, even when they have been in these relationships for a long time. They do not let the other know how they feel. Often, they assume that, since they are already in a relationship, loving each other is already a foregone conclusion.
Guess what? Some people still need reassurance. Some people still appreciate being told that they are loved. And some people actually deserve to be told that they are loved. Repeatedly.
As much as we would want our partners to be mind-readers, it is most likely that they are not. No matter how secure you both are in your relationship and love for each other, it is still encouraged to let them know about it. Maybe not in so many words, but in actions – whether big or small. A soft touch, a warm smile, a short note, and even a single bloom plucked from the garden can speak volumes.
Make the person you love one of your priorities.
Maybe you can even make him or her your top priority. If you can’t, you should at least make sure he is up there on your list of priorities.
One way of expressing your love is to show how important they are to you. That they are a huge consideration in your major and minor decisions. That you cannot make a decision without taking into account how it will affect them. This is also an indication of your level of commitment to that person.
Now, how can you make them love you back? This may require some mind manipulation on your part.
Do your research about the person that you want to love you… and understand him.
Having your lovemap or checklist of criteria is not enough. According to relationship coach John Alex Clark, getting the basic information about the background and interests of that person will enable you to meet their criteria.
First of all, doing your research demonstrates your level of interest in that person, and that alone may get them to look at you with mirrored interest. You’re taking the initiative to get to know them in your own way, and this can be seen as a gutsy move by some.
Those 36 questions can increase your chances of making somebody fall in love with you according to some scientific experiments.
Show them that you are offering something that they need.
All the research you did earlier will come in handy. Take a look at a typical high school scenario, where the cheerleading team approaches the new girl in school, befriends her and recruits her to join them after a random ground performance enabled her to show off her dancing skills. That is because they saw in the new girl something that their team needs: new blood and new talent. You can apply the same principle here.
You have to identify what the other person needs, and find a way to meet that need. For example, a young woman harbored feelings for this guy since they attended the same classes the previous year. He’s smart, he’s friendly, but he also happens to easily get shy around people, especially those he isn’t close to. It’s clear he has problems with his confidence when he’s out of his comfort zone. The young woman grabs his attention by showing how confident she is, and he finds himself drawn to her, a spark of interest kindled.
This is because people tend to become drawn to people who are similar to them, but still provide a good contrast, such as when their weakness is the other’s strength. It is a natural reaction to be attracted to something that they don’t have and WANT to have. In the example above, the young man wants to be confident, and the young lady oozes it. This makes her, in his eyes, someone worth more than a second and third look.
Perform some brainwashing, but be subtle about it.
You want the object of your affection to think of you positively and look at you favorably, until his looks become loving and amorous. The bad news is that the process will involve some work. The good news is that it works. Here are several ways you may go about this.
- Enlist the help of your friends and mutual acquaintances, and have them put in a good word for you. It is highly likely that the object of your affection will start thinking you are awesome after hearing people he likes and trusts talk about it.
- Repetition is a good form of reinforcement. The other person is likely to get used to and accept you if you make it a point to remind him of your existence and presence repeatedly – without going overboard and becoming invasive and stalker-ish about it. Let him see you often. Also, make sure your mutual friends talk about you to him repeatedly. This repetition will further embed you in his mind… and hopefully his heart.
Show persistence and determination.
Love and relationships require those involved to put in time and energy, and you have to be willing to put in both if you want to achieve your goal. Behavioral science professor Elizabeth Kane said that putting more effort into a romantic relationship will ensure that one receives more love in return.
If you are the type to give up easily, then you probably never deserved to be loved in the first place. Persistence shows a strength of character, highlighting your dedication and determination, as well as your patience.
But you have to watch yourself, lest it reaches stalking level and you start demonstrating manic love. There is a fine line between chasing as a sign of persistence and chasing as a way to cling to that person. You have to know when and where to draw the line. Perhaps, if your efforts and feelings are still unreciprocated after so many attempts (and shows of persistence), then you should re-evaluate your actions and decisions. There are some battles that aren’t meant to be won, and this may be one of yours.
Make yourself indispensable to him.
Short of making him addicted to you, make it so that he won’t be able to picture living from day to day without you. A technique often done is the push-pull, where a woman will make the guy get used to having her around, caring for him until he is almost dependent on her, then withdrawing or pulling away for a strategic period of time, long enough for him to start missing her.
Now, for many, this may be a gamble, and others may be too scared to even try it. But it’s all in the execution and timing.
Be someone that deserves to be loved.
This is probably one of the most important things that one can do in order to be loved. Make sure that you will deserve that love. Put yourself in the shoes of the other person and look at yourself objectively. Are you easy to love? Or are there characteristics that you need to work on?
We often hear people say that, in order to be loved by others, you have to love yourself first. This is actually true, because you cannot expect someone else to love you when you do not even think that you are worth loving. By loving yourself first, you will have the confidence to move forward and express your love for someone that you want to love you back. By loving yourself, you are sending that person the silent message that he is making the right decision by choosing to love you.
Ultimately, healthy and fulfilling relationships dictate that, in order for you to receive love, you also have to give it. It’s a give-and-take scenario that should have no room for selfishness. Despite all the definitions of love floating around, it remains to be one of the most mysterious emotions. But that does not mean that we are entirely powerless in expressing it, and receiving it in return.
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