Hatfield and Walster's (1981) Three-Factor Theory suggests that in order for an individual to fall in love, one must be:
  1. From a cultural background in which we learn about love and expects it to happen.
  2. In the presence of an "appropriate" love object (in terms of gender, age, attractiveness, etc).
  3. Physiologically aroused. This is interpreted an labelled as "love" or "attraction".
In other words what Hatfield and Walster is stating is that:
Love-Oriented Culture + Love Object + Arousal = Love
In the end the question that would remain unanswered is, what is love?

That which you let go and it comes back? Is love a boomrang? Or that which you didn't let go from the moment it looked into your eyes? The one you fought for? That which left a bitter taste in your mouth when it ended (coz it shouldn't have, it was supposed to be the "real thing")? Or that, which you find yourself again in arms of every time the last one gets sour? Does love has a shelf life? An expiry date? Care instructions? Is it what makes you smile in the mornings? Is it being someone's last call of the day? Is it constant work? compromise? Is it doing things "that" make the other happy? or things "to" make the other happy? Or is it about one's own happiness?

Is it perhaps, within? Is it the part within me that keeps me from self destruction even when I fight argue disagree with myself? When I'm running through conflicting ideas, fighting with my own thoughts? Isn't that what love is? Acceptance, absorption, being 'one'.

Ardhanareshwar - "A half women God", it's one of the ways Shiva-Parvati are worshipped as. The idol/painting has one individual, with right half Shiva, and left half Parvati. This is what a couple is supposed to turn into - 'one person'. One individual. This is what I grew up learning. There is a period of understanding, fault tolerance, cutting each other slack, but that is the easy part. There always, sooner or later, comes the 'hard part'. When the nice little things are not the most beautiful things in life. When small disagreements take long time to settle down.

There always comes a time when the two just don't see eye to eye. When the two make conflicting requests from each other. They both want to help, they both want to take care of the other, but it is not possible. The requests are conflicting, there needs to be a middle path, but there might not be any.

"Do you think it doesn't hurt me that you don't listen to me anymore or have you stopped caring about my hurt?"

"Is there anything I do anymore that doesn't hurt you?"

Do you pack your bags and leave? Just because it's not 'your own self'? It's someone you used to live without, you surely can again ... but can you get up one day and let one part of yourself tell another part that we disagree, enough is enough, let's split? You want to give up cigarettes, but the craving keeps you bringing back ... to a lesser extent perhaps but does. You want to start to drive safely, but every once in a while you speed and you hate that, but you can't help. Do you split in two and walk away? Can your heart separate from your soul?

Or do you remain 'one'? Fighting your own conflicts from within. Remaining one, finding ways, solutions, answers? Do you hang on? Look at the other as a half of your own self?

Why do you stay? What makes you want to?

"Perhaps because you have touched my perfect body with your mind ..."

I'm not sure if I can accurately convey the swirling, ever-changing, ever-growing maelstrom of emotions that encompasses love. Perhaps love is merely the physical act which the name suggests, and is often tied to. Perhaps love is the place in which such physical things as lust are no longer needed. Perhaps love is the point in time when the desire to have sex, or manifestations thereof, does not go away, but rather dissipates to a buzz rather than a roar. Perhaps love is the point when all you need is the physical contact of a person, and the place where holding hands is almost a mental connection.

Love is different for all of us, but at the same time, love, for all of us, is the same. I think that love encompasses so many actions, so many feelings, that it is nearly impossible to describe. Just know now, that though there has been a severely drastic change in the pleading, desperate writing that I wrote some days ago, even then did I love her.

    What is love?

  • Love is waking up in our apartment.
  • Love is arguing over who's turn it is to clean out our microwave.
  • Love is trying to decide whether we should crawl back into bed, or just stay on our futon after having fallen asleep during the late night Saturday feature.
  • Love is coming home to find all of her crazy friends there, but deciding that I don't care because they've ordered Thai Food for me.
  • Love is walking into our Master Bathroom to discover that she has replaced our towels with ones that say "His", "Her's", and "Our's (Her's)."
  • Love is taking a bath by candlelight in our extra large jaccuzzi tub.
  • Love is falling asleep next to a roaring fire in our fireplace.
  • Love is trying to go to one of her friends houses for dinner, but not stopping to ask for directions, because I know where I am going.
  • Love is getting lost.
  • Love is asking for directions.
  • Love is deciding that you want to keep all of eachothers names.
  • Love is having 6+ initials.
  • Love is having her hands and arms around you when you've just lost a best friend.
  • Love is staying like that all day.
  • Love is waking up every morning, and rolling over and thinking "I can't believe I'm sleeping next to her."
  • Love is waking up and seeing pictures of you together on your wall, desk, kitchen counter.
  • Love is having a list that is so long that your brain hurts just thinking about all of the things that you LOVE about her.
  • Love is caring enough to ignore the pain, and go on no matter what, because you've got to be responsible for two people now...

Perhaps love is different for all of us...Perhaps love is all the same.

"The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it… you and you alone make me feel that I am alive…. Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough."
~George Moore~

"The way you let your hand rest in mine, my bewitching Sweetheart, fills me with happiness. It is the perfection of confiding love. Everything you do, the little unconscious things in particular, charms me and increases my sense of nearness to you, identification with you, till my heart is full to overflowing."
~Woodrow Wilson~

"Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me."
~Sarah Bernhardt~

"All that you are, all that I owe to you, justifies my love, and nothing, not even you, "
~Marquis de Lafayette~

"There's only one thing greater than my fear- that is my love. My love will always conquer my fear- but it can't do it immediately. It needs the full force of my love to do it and it takes days for that to emerge out of its dark hiding places."
~John Middleton Murry~

"Heavens above! The reason why I'm so jealous of you is obvious enough! If you weren't so damned attractive physically, do you think my heart would beat almost to suffocation whenever I see you speak to someone? If you don't realize how attractive you are in that way, let me tell you, other people do, and have told me so…."
~Violet Trefussis~

" 'O happy hours when I may once more encircle within these arms the dearest object of my love- when I shall again feel the pressure of that "aching head" which will delight to recline upon my bosom, when I may again press to my heart which palpitates with the purest affection that loved one who has so long shared it's undivided devotion."
~Alexander Hamilton Rice~

"I cannot exist without you- I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again- my Life seems to stop there- I see no further. You have absorb'd me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I were dissolving…. I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion- I have shudder'd at it- I shudder no more- I could be martyr'd for my Religion- Love is my religion- I could die for that- I could die for you. My creed is Love and you are its only tenet- You have ravish'd me away by a Power I cannot resist."
~John Keats~

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