The Magical Ingredients of Love Relationships
Love is such a powerful human emotion that experts are constantly studying it. They’ve discovered that love has three main qualities:
Attraction is the “chemistry” part of love. It’s all about the physical — even sexual — interest that two people have in each other. Attraction is responsible for the desire we feel to kiss and hold the object of our affection. Attraction is also what’s behind the flushed, nervous-but-excited way we feel when that person is near.
Closeness is the bond that develops when we share thoughts and feelings that we don’t share with anyone else. When you have this feeling of closeness with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you feel supported, cared for, understood, and accepted for who you are. Trust is a big part of this.
Commitment is the promise or decision to stick by the other person through the ups and downs of the relationship.
These three qualities of love can be combined in different ways to make different kinds of relationships. For example, closeness without attraction is the kind of love we feel for best friends. We share secrets and personal stuff with them, we support them, and they stand by us. But we are not romantically interested in them.
Attraction without closeness is more like a crush or infatuation. You’re attracted to someone physically but don’t know the person well enough yet to feel the closeness that comes from sharing personal experiences and feelings.
Romantic love is when attraction and closeness are combined. Lots of relationships grow out of an initial attraction (a crush or “love at first sight”) and develop into closeness. It’s also possible for a friendship to move from closeness into attraction as two people realize their relationship is more than “just like” and they have become interested in one another in a romantic way.
For people falling in love for the first time, it can be hard to tell the difference between the intense, new feelings of physical attraction and the deeper closeness that goes with being in love.