This is a question I have considered, contemplated and puzzled over for a long time. At one point I even had an answer for it, but time and living have proven that answer to be wrong.
My early definition of love came from the writings of Robert A. Heinlein. In Time Enough For Love he concludes that love is a state where the happiness of another person is integral to our own.
I tried to live by this in relationships and found that it is not a description of love but of codependency. I used to defend this by saying to myself that love needs one to depend on the other to make things work. While this is true, depending on the other half of your relationship is different then codependence where you are unable to function without the support and approval of someone else.
So what is love?
These days I am not sure, which does not mean I do not feel love. It means I do not have a definition I can put into words.
However there are some things I know that love is not.
Love is not jealous. People are not possessions and when we love them they are not ours, they are their own person still. If we love them we must let them pursue what makes them happy and be happy for them if they achieve it as long as it is good and healthy for them.
Love is not alone. Love exists in the connection between two people not in either one of them. There is something that can feel like love but is not returned. This is not love. It is the reassurance of the care and concern, the hopes and fears, the passion and the presence between two people that make love real.
So those are my thoughts on love this Valentine's day. What are yours?