Definitions of Love
If you ask people “When I say the word ‘love’, what comes to mind?” you get a portrait of love in all its variations. In a procedure, called “prototype analysis,” Fehr and Russell (1991) did just that. They found that there are as many definitions of love as there are people attempting to define the term. Most people consider “romantic and passionate love” to be a prototypic form of love, but other kinds of love were mentioned too. These include companionate love, parental love, altruistic love, love for children, love of friends, love of pets, and the like.
In all cultures, people seem to distinguish between passionate love and companionate love. Passionate love (sometimes called “obsessive love,” “infatuation,” “lovesickness,” or “being in love”) is a powerful emotional state. It is defined as “a state of intense longing for union with the other…” and may be associated with a confusion of feelings:...
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