Let's begin with a loose definition of Love:
Love is the ultimate manifestation of a successful and unconditional unity of the emotional, mental, and physical characteristics between individuals. To be in love is to desire to be understood by another beyond societal and objective conventions. The goal is to actualize this desire, which ultimately leads to an objective understanding between the subjective experience of individuals.
Now let's see what we can do with the concept of selfhood:
The self seeks to be understood. The intrinsic identity of an individual seeks to be defined. An individual may attempt to define themselves independently of others, but one cannot define themselves without their relation to others because in realizing oneself, one must assume he or she is human. In realizing their existence as a human, an individual must assume that they are subject to their human nature as well as their objective environment. One must understand the things outside ourselves to understand how they contribute to our identity. One must be willing to understand.
Individuals must be placed in the context of other individuals in order to develop and define themselves as unique. How would you know if you were intelligent without knowing what it means to be stupid? Even though we, as individuals, have a subjective perception of reality, we tend to prefer objective concepts. Hence, there seems to be a universal desire to communicate one's subjectivity to the other, in order to secure a sense of objectivity. One uses their subjective perception of the objective world and attempts to communicate their understanding of reality to others through various means.
An individual interacts with another individual and both parties seek to communicate with one another in order to create an objective understanding of their respective perceptions. By understanding subjective perceptions, one begins to feel as if their self is being recognized. If the two subjective perceptions are in accordance, one feels they are understood. In understanding, one finds meaning.
Naturally, there are different degrees and manifestations of love. There is love without sexual communication and understanding, like the love between friends or relations; there is love between individuals and objects, where the individual projects his or her self onto the object, or the object represents an idea or concept that fulfills the self ( although I hesitate to call this love); there is love of the self, where the individual has successfully understood and defined themselves and not only accepts, but prefers their subjectivity in regards to the objective world. Most people would rather create an objective reality with another because they have not fully discovered themselves and would rather be discovered by someone else.
Individuals seek to be defined and understood by another individual, whether or not they have defined and understood themselves. It gives us great pleasure to be recognized and praised for existing as who we are. It gives us even more pleasure to be accepted and understood in the exact way we want to be accepted and understood by the exact person we want to accept and understand.
However, this doesn't mean to say that Love manifests because two people see things exactly the same way. It depends what aspect of understanding an individual desires. Some people desire themselves in others and will find themselves attracted to individuals who are similar. Some people desire opposites so that they can have a balanced objective reality with their opposite. Some people despise themselves and wish to make the other despise themselves as well.
There are an enormous variety of contradictions and exceptions to the theory I've proposed and I will address and consider them as I delve further into this concept. I will, eventually, explore the relation of sex and love, unrequited love, the role of empathy, love and the misanthrope, love and the artist, aesthetics and love and the love of God. Eventually.