Let's step away from Haddaway’s song, 'what is love', for the moment. I know the question featured prominently in the song and the lyrics do summarize fairly nicely what is love to some people, but we’re talking a bit more in depth here, so clear your head of the song and concentrate. And don’t worry, it took me a bit of time to get it out of my head.
The internet has really revolutionized how we form relationships with other people. Falling in love was something that took time and effort but now we have a means of speeding up the process, like pretty much everything else we do. Convenience is a prominent word in today’s world. Our lifestyles are filled with aspects of convenience and more recently love and romance have been added to that.
Since the dawn of mankind, humans have bought the affections of others so the concept of paying for love isn’t something new. The definition of love is really subjective. Everyone has their own ideas of what love actually means to them. So what is love to one person isn’t always love to another. Men in particular have less of an emotional view of love than women do. Perhaps this is to do with procreation and ensuring a family unit through a strong bond. That isn’t to say men don’t fall in love. They fall in love in a different way.
Love seems to be interpreted very differently through religion, gender and social class. Things we see and experience affect how we define love, for example the movie industry has given many people an expectation of what is love.
I have a friend who is married with two children and without sounding derogatory, he paid for his wife online. He met her through a marriage agency that listened to his requirements and expectations and matched him with someone suitable. Just like going to a car dealership and customizing your vehicle exactly as you want it. Is his version of love wrong? They appear to be very happy together and have been married now for almost ten years. We often talk about relationships and love, and his views are that what is love is whatever you want it to be. He also constantly reminds me that love isn’t something that remains fixed. It changes and you have to work for it. He doesn’t believe love is something you come across or find. To him, it’s more of a transaction with conditions. If those conditions can’t be fulfilled, then what is love diminishes.
So if I compare both my friends interpretations of what is love, there almost appears to be a common ground. There is expectation, condition and emotion. Could love be defined like this? Many would argue that love is something unrelated to any of those. It’s a mystical force that we understand nothing about. It just happens. We can love objects and animals as much as we love people. But to me, expectation, condition and emotion applies there too. I’m sure many would disagree.
When I was little, I formed an attachment with certain toys. I loved one of my teddies. Kids generally do. So is this love of an inanimate object the same as the love we have for a person close to us? Could it be that we condition ourselves to get attached to things like this from a young age?
It's clear that love isn’t related to sex although the two can often go hand in hand when we are adults because of conditioning and expectation. We can love things that make us happy, that give us a sense of joy. To some, sex is encompassed with these and becomes a conditional element of love. The issue here could be that these people form short lived relationships based purely on sex because they form attachments that way just like a child would form an attachment with a treasured toy.
The dictionary defines love as a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection.
So can you really buy love online like an item of clothing you buy from a shop? That is very questionable in my opinion. There are people that claim you can, and there are others that would totally disagree, which leads me to conclude that what is love is a subjective state of mind. It’s a very personal mix of expectations, conditions and emotions that gives us a sense of gratification and comfort.
So the next time you find a match on Flirthut, consider carefully whether they may meet your expectations, conditions and emotions. Get to know them well and understand if they have a similar set of values when it comes down to what is love.
If you're interested in finding out more about love and the science behind it, take a look at What is love – and is it all in the mind? published in the Guardian.
Written by Andrew Simeou
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