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What Is Love?

DR. DENNIS NEDER AND KYLIEDr. Dennis Neder, Author: "Being a Man in a Woman's World"

"You seem to think this is good relationship building. You, my dear are sadly, sadly mistaken."

Hi Dennis,
I don't know if you or anyone knows how to answer this question. But I was wondering how does someone really know if they are in love or deeply attracted to another person?

I've read that you would know if you fell in love with someone, and that you would never have to ask yourself if you truly loved someone. Is this the case?

Are the 2 the same or different, and how do you differentiate between the 2?

What about lust? What is your definition to this word?

The reason I'm asking is that I’m feeling all kinds of emotions with a particular guy, (happiness, sadness, frustration, sometimes all at once) and I’m really confused, and frustrated. Our feelings are pretty in sync at times.

I love being around him, even if we don’t have much to say; sometimes just putting my arms around him gives me such happiness. I think about him all the time, yet I'm not sure how I really feel about him. We're not seriously dating yet.

Do I need to clearly understand my feelings about him first, before committing seriously to him, or does this all evolve over time?

Is this one of life's mystery which is best left unsolved?


Poets, authors, song writers and romantics in all of time have been trying to answer this very question.

So, in my own arrogance, I'll give it a shot too.
Part of the problem is that there are so many different types of love, yet only one word to describe it.

The Romans had a number of different words for it: "eros" (erotic love"), "pathos" (romantic love) and "philos" (brotherly love) for example. You instantly see that this doesn't go far enough however.

There are still other types of love, like the love of friends, or the love of a mother and child or the love of a man for a fine Cuban cigar, etc.

Here's my definition of romantic love (the one I think you're asking me

Love is when you find yourself compelled to worry or be concerned over someone else's happiness and well-being before your own.

That may not seem like much of a definition, but if you're ever been in love, you'd know that feeling. A person in love dwells on the "love object's" happiness and well-being far, far before their own.

It's natural to be concerned with our own well-being, but that turns outward (and to the same degree) when we are in love.

Do you know this when you're in love? Yes, you do, but no discussion of love would be complete without knowing that this is a two-edged sword.

Any person that has ever been in this sort of love and been hurt by it would never wish it to happen again! It's one of the single most painful experiences anyone can face.

You may have heard the old saying, "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all"? Not to anyone that has done it!

I'll bet you weren't expecting THAT commentary, were you?

Deep attraction to someone is definitely different than love. Whereas attraction is a selfish pursuit (and I mean "selfish" not in a bad way at all!) whereas love feels like a purely altruistic thing; although it's not. Among other things, it's the feelings that are different between them. I personally don't believe in love at first sight for this reason. I DO believe in the answer to your next question however: LUST at first sight.

Lust is that "eros" I mentioned before. It's a sexual longing/needing of another person. Sometimes it's combined with other types of love, and sometimes it exists on it's own. You can't wait to get into your lover's pants and everything they do makes you horny.

Interesting, this is a type of experience that permeates the rest of your life! You'll always remember that person's perfume or cologne for instance. You'll always remember certain hair styles or body shapes, etc., and these can cause you to get aroused by people that share the single attribute!

In many ways, lust is more powerful than love. (I can already hear the collective groans of the romantics reading this right now!)

Think about this however: lust is so powerful that governments, parents, churches and many other organizations are all trying to get control over yours! They pass laws, set rules, establish doctrine, etc. all in an attempt to control people's lust. That should tell you something, because once you get hold of someone else's sex, you absolutely OWN that other person!

Further, people will risk everything they have, everything they've built to satisfy their lust. Consider the cases where teachers are caught having sex with under-aged students. Do you think this is an act of love? Well, perhaps in some cases, but I can say with some confidence that it is always at least permeated with lust.

To get to your last question, no you don't need to clearly understand your feelings towards him at all. In fact, trying to do so is all but futile! You're not ever going to understand these feelings. Instead, work to accept them. For many people, that is far more difficult!
Best regards...

Best regards...
Dr. Dennis Neder

Have a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all email. You can write to me at for answers.
For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit:

Copyright (c) Dr. Dennis W. Neder All rights reserved.
Dr. Dennis W. Neder
Author of: Being a Man in a Woman's World
Dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of relationships.
Start having the relationships YOU deserve!
Got a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all letters. You can write to me at for answers. For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit: 

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