Definition of Love: Discover The 3 Types + What Love Really Is

definition of love

If you had asked me ten years ago, I couldn’t have told you what the definition of love was. I never really understood love until I personally experienced it.

Maybe you’re the same. Maybe you’ve been in long-term relationships — even married and now divorced — and still aren’t sure how to define love. Maybe you feel like, despite the fact that you spent years with a man…you really didn’t truly love him, and now you’re wondering what that would feel like.

If you haven’t truly experienced love, that’s perfectly all right. That’s why you’re here. Because sometimes, when you least expect it, someone comes into your life so unexpectedly, takes your heart by surprise, and everything changes you forever.

So realize that even if you don’t know what the definition of love is at this moment, you will…possibly very soon.

In today’s video and post, I want to talk about three different types of love. Because, if you look up a word in the dictionary, a definition of a word often has different meanings or sub-definitions. So the definition of love can actually be three types of love that we’ll get into shortly.

Your Coach,




P.S. My Attract the One webinar is a must-attend for any woman who’s serious about discovering the definition of love for herself.

Introduction to the Definition of Love

Love is a chemical bond. While it might seem all goo-goo eyes and magic to you, it’s actually quite scientific.

According to a team of scientists led by Dr. Helen Fisher at Rutgers, romantic love can be broken down into three categories, each of which has its own set of pheromones and chemicals going on in the brain:

  1. Lust
  2. Attraction
  3. Attachment

So it’s interesting to see that not all love is the same. And certainly, each one of us might give a different definition of love.  You may or may not experience each of these types of love, so don’t worry if you identify with one over the others when you date a man.

Also, you may experience one type of love while the guy you’re with experiences a totally different definition of love. In the eight years I’ve been coaching people on how to find and keep love, I’ve seen that happen again and again. So let’s look at each definition of love and love type so you can assess what to do in each.

Love Type #1: Lust


If you just met and you can’t keep your hands off him, it’s lust.

You meet a man while you’re out with a friend, and there’s just…something about him. You can’t get him out of your head. He’s unlike any guy you’ve been attracted to.

From a hormone standpoint, you’ve got estrogen flowing through your brain, while his is filled with testosterone when lust is happening. The lust love type is where a lot of one-night stands happen.

Lust is also where that whole “I fell in love with him at first sight” experience occurs. But, while I’m not here to debate whether love at first sight is a real thing or not in this article, I just want to point out that what is often seen as love at first sight is usually a strong physical attraction that could (or could not) end up being something more sustaining and real.

A group of Dutch researchers conducted a series of studies where they found that, upon looking at photos of people that they’d never met, participants who said they felt love at first sight often ranked higher for feeling physical attraction than actual love.

To me, lust happens when you have little to go on about a person beyond their physical looks. And yes, that wonderful chemistry that happens when two people are physically compatible plays a large role. According to SelfDevelopShop, this chemistry is responsible for changes in people’s hormones and their neurotransmitter triggers. But without more data for your heart to process, lust may be simply a physical reaction to another human.

So while you might think you love this guy, if you haven’t been dating more than a few weeks, it may just be lust. That doesn’t mean it can’t turn into something more, but realize that you’re not there yet. You don’t know him well enough to experience the true definition of love.

Is It Wrong to Feel Lust For a Man?

Lust gets a bad rap. Yes, I did say that one-night stands usually happen as a result of lust, but I’m not knocking it as an emotion or feeling.

When you’re in lust, your synapses are firing on all cylinders. You’re so immersed in a person that you feel like you can’t come up for air. When you’re in bed together, it’s just fireworks. Boom. You’re convinced you’ve never had sex as good as this in your life (whether it’s true or not).

There’s nothing wrong with lust.

What’s important is to acknowledge that you’re experiencing lust, and not confusing it with a deeper love.

As you get to know this man, you bond emotionally and come to respect him. That lust may turn to passion (which is very similar), which is sustaining and not selfish, the way lust can be. Still, a relationship that starts out with lust (and most do) absolutely has the potential to be long-term.

Love Type #2: Attraction


Once you care more about him than his body, you’ve moved to attraction.

The second definition of love is attraction. While it’s similar to lust in some ways in that you’re drawn to that person, different hormones race through your brain:  dopamine and norepinephrine.

With attraction, you can’t eat.

You can’t sleep.

You can’t stop thinking about him.

You’ve got a giddy feeling whenever you think about this guy.

Not only are you drawn to him physically, but you’re also attracted to his personality, so we’ve leveled up in terms of love type. It’s most common in that honeymoon phase of a relationship, which may last six months to a year.

The Difference Between Attraction and Lust

You may not see an obvious difference between attraction and lust. After all, they both happen early in a relationship and can be superficial.

Lust is about one thing: sex. It puts blinders on your eyes to a man’s faults sometimes because all you want is his body.

You can overlook that he’s a slob.

You can overlook that he’s sleeping with lots of women.

You can overlook the fact that he’s not boyfriend material at all.

But attraction is where you’re starting to know this guy more, and you’re more emotionally invested in other aspects of him besides sex. You may be attracted to his brain. You may love his laugh or his jokes. Essentially, there’s more ground for a relationship to blossom once you feel attraction.

But while attraction is one step deeper into the definition of love, I’d say you still don’t have true and full love yet.

Love Type #3: Attachment


Once you work on bonding long-term, you’ve got the attachment love type.

Now we come to the third definition of love: attachment. The hormones kicking in here are oxytocin and vasopressin.

While I’ll say this is the “friend zone” of love, don’t get me wrong about what I mean. I don’t mean that you’re only friends once you reach the attachment phase; instead, I mean that you have deep respect and connection with this man. Not only do you find him physically pleasing, but you also actually like the guy and enjoy spending time with him.

Think about it from an evolutionary perspective: while our ancestors’ primary goal was reproduction, the secondary goal was to build a family unit. So if you as a cave-lady were attached to the father of your children (and vice versa), he’d stick around and bring you guys dinosaur meat rather than moving on to spread his seed elsewhere. He’d protect you, and you’d raise your kids together.

Even if you’re not looking to reproduce, that sense of attachment can ensure that you have a solid foundation for a relationship.

With attachment, you will want to commit even more to the man you love. That might mean you move in together or get married. You share everything with him. You tell him your secrets, and he tells you his. You trust one another completely.

This is, of course, where the definition of love really kicks in.

The Secret: You Need to Balance All Three to Really Enjoy Love

In a perfect world, you will have a beautifully balanced concoction of lust, attraction, and attachment.

If they’re out of whack, you may experience jealousy, irrational behavior, or even cheat. You may end up in a relationship that doesn’t work if one of you, for example, has way more lust than attachment.

But in a healthy long-term relationship — which is what Sexy Confidence is all about — you have a balance. You may start out with lust, which grows into attraction, and then finally attachment. But you will also continue to experience each of those.

You may be with your man for five years, and one day as he’s dressing for a date, you become overwhelmed with lust for him. Do your thing!

You may every day be so grateful to have such an intelligent and hot man love you.

And you may rely on him as your partner in life, further strengthening that attachment bond.

Lust. Attraction. Attachment. They’re all important and necessary as you come to develop your own definition of love.


true love couple

True love has a healthy balance of lust, attraction, and attachment.

Even if you can’t yet give me your definition of love from personal experience, at least you’re more aware of the components that go into it. I guarantee you’ve felt at least one of these types of love in your life…maybe even all three.

Love feels different for everyone. But what should be consistent is that he…

Makes you feel safe.

Makes you feel appreciated.

Enhances your life.

Lights you up inside.

Makes you want to be a better person.

I know it’s easy to want to fit one guy into the role of being Mr. Right, but if you have any question whatsoever of whether it’s love or not…it probably isn’t. As they say, you’ll just know when it’s right.

If you’re in a relationship and it’s not right, don’t try to make it a good enough relationship and settle for less than you deserve. Love is — and you have to believe me on this — worth waiting for, even if it takes a while. When you finally fall in true love, you’ll laugh at all the times you thought you felt it in the past.

So what do you think is your primary focus when you’re out meeting men right now, lust, attraction, or attachment? Take the survey in the video.

Then let me know in the comments below: do you agree with this definition of love?

Attract the One and find your perfect balance of these types of love. Sign up for this love workshop today!

definition of love

Adam LoDolce

Love Strategist

My true passion in life is transforming your love life by giving you specific tools and techniques that you can use to attract long lasting love. I got started when...Read Adam's Story

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2 years ago

You’re so right. It is a very complex topic with lots of details : ) But as usual you break it down into basics in a very helpful enlightening way. Keep up the great work!

Linda C. Henry
2 years ago
Reply to  Sharie

I have been in a relationship with a man from a different country, culture, and religion for 2 1/2 years…so the attraction and deeper love stands for me. We text, audio call and video chat every day (usually all three). What I DO LIKE is that we first we’re attracted to each other and the attachment grew and grew from there. We plan to meet and marry beginning of next year. I love that we have had plenty of time to get to know one another, find out each other’s pasts, find out each other’s likes and dislikes and hopes… Read more »

2 years ago

This article is very helpful. Well written. Thanks for sharing!

This post is actually great! Love is very essential in this world. Not only from your partner but even from your family and friends.

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