A person can be said to love an object, principle, or goal to which they are deeply committed and greatly value. For example, compassionate outreach and volunteer workers’ “love” of their cause may sometimes be born not of interpersonal love but impersonal love, altruism, and strong spiritual or political convictions. People can also “love” material objects, animals, or activities if they invest themselves in bonding or otherwise identifying with those things. If sexual passion is also involved, then this feeling is called paraphilia.
Interpersonal love refers to love between human beings. It is a much more potent sentiment than a simple liking for another. Unrequited love refers to those feelings of love that are not reciprocated. Interpersonal love is most closely associated with interpersonal relationships. Such love might exist between family members, friends, and couples. There are also a number of psychological disorders related to love, such as erotomania.
Pair of Lovers. 1480–1485
Throughout history, philosophy and religion have done the most speculation on the phenomenon of love. In the 20th century, the science of psychology has written a great deal on the subject. In recent years, the sciences of psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, and biology have added to the understanding the concept of love.