I do not actually know what psychologists have to say on the subject of ‘love’, nor whether any of the other sciences have tackled the subject. The following is my thoughts on the matter.
Can you think of nothing but the other person? Then it is not love.
Do you want to talk about it? Then it is not love.
Do you like to demonstrate your love to the other person? Then it is not love.
Do you want to be with the other person all the time? Then it is not love.
Do you feel life would not be worth living without the other person? Then it is not love.
Do you feel possessive? Then it is not love.
Are you subject to jealousy? Then it is not love.
Would you try to persuade the other person to stay if they wanted to leave? Then it is not love.
Do you like to tell the other person how much you love them? Then it is not love.
No, Romeo and Juliet were not in love. They suffered from a sort of sick obsession. What our society calls ‘love’ is nothing of the sort. It is a sort of sick obsession.
If you really care for another person you will want for them what they want for themselves. You will want them to be healthy and happy, independent and free. You would not talk about how you feel about the other person because that would be a burden to them, would influence their feelings, would make them feel uncomfortable, or guilty about leaving you. You would not be possessive because you would want them to feel they could move on when they were ready to do so. And since you want for them what they want for themselves, you would not be subject to jealousy. Your mind would not be taken over by thoughts of them and feelings for them, because that is unhealthy and real love is heathly. Real love is very quiet; it does not make its presence felt, does not disturb.
How is it that in our society this sick obsession has come to be known as ‘love’, has come to replace real love?
I once heard a scientist discussing the mating habits of scorpions. Scorpions are, of course, dangerous, and one or other partner could easily take a notion to dine on the other. They have an elaborate mating ritual, a sort of dance performed face to face, but, at least to begin with, performed at a safe distance. The pair move closer together only gradually. The scientist suggested that the dance lulled the scorpions into a state of mind in which they would not harm one another. In other words, it induced a state of mind which overcame their normal aggression so that they could mate safely.
In a society such as ours, which is competitive so that the individuals are normally hostile to one another, it may be that some ‘abnormal’ mental/emotional state is required in order to allow them to overcome their normal hostility for the purpose of mating.
All I have said above about love between adult men and women also applies to the emotional attachment that exists in our society between parent and child.