what is true love

What is True Love? 3 Things It Is & 9 Things It Is Not

What is true love? Humans have sought for centuries, if not millennia, to accurately understand and document this indescribable phenomena called love. We want to understand it so we can master it, and capture it. Yet, we can ever accurately describe an energy or an experience. And, love is both of those, an energy and an experience. 

We want to find love. We strive to keep love. We want to protect ourselves from losing it. We imagine relationships rooted in true love. Yet, we consistently misunderstand what this powerful force is and how to experience more of it. We also confuse many behaviors and actions with love. Yet, love is not a verb. We can do something loving, but in this case loving is an adjective that describes the energy with which you do something. When we say I love you, what we actually mean is that we experience the energy of love in your presence.

Initially you may not like the idea that love is not a verb, yet if you genuinely ask what is the true meaning of love, and feel for the answer, you’ll find something quite profound. Let’s explore. 


True love definition 

Even though we want a definition of true love, we can’t actually accurately define it. That is actually one of the most important things about love. You can only experience it. You can’t define it. You can’t point to something and say this is love. That’s impossible. To define love would actually be to collapse its infinite expression. 

Some mistake true love as a romantic love, yet it is more than that. The closest we can come to a definition would be to describe it’s facets and dimension. It is… 

  1. Unconditional – It has no judgment. It leaves no one or no thing out. It requires nothing, expects nothing, demands nothing.  
  2. Infinite – It is limitless. It has no beginning and no end because it excludes nothing.
  3. Experiential – You feel it. You sense it. It infuses you. But you can’t pick it up and give it to someone nor can they give it to you. We can behave in ways that create the experience of love, but those behaviors are not true love itself. 

Let’s now apply this perspective to romantic relationships. What is true love in a relationship? True love in a relationship comes when two people find themselves falling into the experience of love over and over again. They find that through the simply presence of their two forms and two souls, the energy of love pervades their hearts, their bodies, their surroundings. This experience of true love in a relationship allows experiences of peace, acceptance, trust, confidence, and passion. Yet, again be sure not to confuse those complementary experiences as love itself. 

When you connect fully with the experience of it romantically you will find a boundless joy, some may say bliss, that can truly render you speechless. 


Understanding and recognizing it

Now that we understand the essence of true love, let’s consider some of its other dimensions. In particular, let’s explore some of its contrasting qualities.  

We’ve already discovered that love is a noun, an experience, rather than a verb, an activity. It is not given nor received. It is felt and experienced as we open ourselves to its ever present embrace. 

We could then ask, is true love emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual? It is not any of these independently. True love, and the profound peace that arises with it, merges all of these human dimensions. In human form we might refer to this as wholeness, completeness. Applied to romance, true love is not “you complete me.” It allows the wholeness of each being to merge, becoming an even greater expression of love together. 

We might also ask if true love is masculine or feminine? This profound experience inherently unites both the divine masculine and the divine feminine in its embodiment. We might think of this as the union of the divine mother energy that brings compassion, acceptance, and a sacred embrace, with divine father energy that brings protection, honor, and a sacred immovable presence. The experience of true love of self, of other, and of life itself requires both masculine and feminine energies. 


What is true love NOT

To deepen our awareness and understanding of true love let’s look at some of the behaviors that show up in our relationships in the “name” of true love, but actually are not it at all. In many cases these relationship strategies actually have an absence of love at their heart. 

  1. Attachment – True love itself does not bind us to someone else. We of course may experience a sense of desire for connection with another as well as a true loss if we no longer share that human relationship. Yet the love itself never “locks” anything into place. True love allows an innate flow of beingness. A fear of losing a love that cannot actually be lost, creates attachment. 
  2. Possessive – Similarly, while two people in love may choose a long term committed partnership or marriage with each other, the minute one attempts to “possess” the other, love will dissolve. True love offers a freedom of being for each partner. Once again, feeling or fearing an absence of love would drive us to possess a partner. 
  3. Dependence or neediness – True love rests in the experiential choice of each person to rely on the other in genuine vulnerability, yet in it there is no demand to show up in a particular way. As soon as demands, most often in the form of unrealistic expectations, show up, they collapse the infinite experience of love.
  4. Co-dependence – Similarly, codependence, or enmeshment, arises when one or both partners loses themselves in a relationship through a lack of true self love. True self love allows true romantic love. 
  5. Self abandonment or people pleasing – These patterns and habits actually cause the codependence just described. True love allows for saying no and setting boundaries as much as much as it says yes.
  6. Self sacrifice or putting others first – When we believe love is a verb and something we do, then we can falsely believe that true love means setting ourselves aside in favor of another’s needs and desires. Done habitually, this leads to resentments that eventually obscure the experience of true love. Neediness, codependence, self abandonment and self sacrifice all stem from an absence of true love of self. 
  7. Lust – While true love has an inherent and important physical dimension, sexual attraction itself is never true love. When combined fully with the heart, mind, spirit and soul, then sexual loving has an amplifying effect on the shared experience of love. 
  8. Affection – Again, physical affection can be confused as love. Lust could be considered the masculine version of this overreliance on physical attraction while affection would be the feminine version. Expressions of affection can invite us into the experience of love but, once again, are not love itself. 
  9. Security – Love may – through its profound connection to, and harmony with, peace, serenity and tranquility – create a sense of genuine security within us. Yet, too often couples hold unrealistic expectations in relationships that because their partner loves them, that they will always feel safe. This false notion moves a couple in the damaging direction of codependency and the absence of love that goes with it. 

Whether you are in a relationship or not does not matter when it comes to true love. You must always experience true love first with yourself. Then, if you’d like to know it more frequently and more deeply, pay attention to and practice eliminating the above habits and strategies that actually sabotage your experience of it – in romantic relationships, but also in any relationship. 


Love is such a powerful force because we know it will transform our lives and the world in ways we cannot truly comprehend until we experience them. 

When we come to know the real answer to the question “what is true love”, we realize love itself exists in an absence of activity. The experience of it pervades our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits. Similarly, even though we can feel the force of love, it never feels forceful. It never requires change. In other words, true love is pure beingness. 

Our “being” love has a welcoming quality that magnetically pulls towards us what is meant for our soul. Being love, being true love, will bring you all the blessings meant for you. It will draw to you the soul connection that will light up your heart and create genuine ecstasy within you, between you, and beyond you. 


*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.

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