What is love?

Explaining love is like describing what water tastes like. Everyone’s experience will be completely different. Some will deny it and some will chase it. Then there are the ones completely besotted or recovering from it. So, how do you know if what you’re experiencing is really love if we cannot define it simply?


As my background is in psychology, I can confirm love is actually biologically proven. When we experience it, there is a flood of hormones released in our bodies. Chocolate really does make us happy as it releases the same hormones. Contrary to what we believe, love is not held in our hearts; it’s parts of the brain that are activated by the hormones.

From a relationship point of view, there are lots of different kinds of love that we encounter. Usually, the initial love we experience is from our parents. This extends to siblings, and then wider family. As we connect with others and build friendships, we can grow close. Some people have a ‘first love’ or some don’t experience romantic love until later in life. Marriages. Children. Pets. From a different perspective places, food or music.

Now from a psychotherapy point of view, when a client is in turmoil there can be many reasons for this. A main cause can refer back to those first relationships with our parents. These attachments affect our development and should we not receive love, attention or mirror what we learn we can spend our whole lives stuck in a cycle of unhealthy relationships. Searching and projecting these insecurities. For people who have experienced abuse of any kind in childhood, this can affect emotional regulation but also result in avoidant attachments too.

Love is the bridge between you and everything.

- Rumi

I am by no means an expert on love. However, I see clients every day that give me an idea of all the things that go right or wrong in relationships. Themes for things that go wrong are:

  • a lack of honest communication and appreciation
  • outgrowing friends or partners but not owning that and allowing it to become toxic
  • bad timing in someone’s life
  • patterns of behaviour being played out from childhood or previous hurts

Often, people will persevere and try to force it but, eventually, that does even more damage.

The things I see in healthy romantic relationships is when there appears to be a deep emotional connection. Along with that, all the core values and life goals align. No two people will ever completely agree on everything but the big stuff has got to be from the same priorities. Characteristics like honesty, commitment, laughter and passion.

My advice on love of any kind is to evaluate your relationships. Obviously, there are a million things to explore - I have just covered a handful. Question everything. How can you enhance the positive ones even more? Maybe there are ones you just need to let go of to make room for really special ones to make their way into your life. Most importantly, knowing yourself and taking everything into account doing what makes you truly happy.

Hopefully, this blog has got you thinking and made you question things. If you feel you would like to explore in more depth, please get in touch for a free initial call to help put you at ease and discuss what you would like to get from therapy.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS3 1HS
Written by Canse Karatas, (MBACP) - Silver Linings Counselling & Psychotherapy
Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS3 1HS

I have 10+ years of experience working for a range of services with a variety of issues like abuse, anxiety, depression, loneliness, low confidence, schizophrenia, self-harm, suicide, trauma and much more. I am passionate about mental health awareness and actively seek ways to help people. My therapeutic influence is from an Integrative Approach.

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