Love is what keeps us alive. If your mom or dad didn't love you, you wouldn't be alive right now. Love is also something that keeps our race alive. Every baby comes from people loving each other through creating a new line of their name. Love is also the reason we (most of us) aren't mindless killing machines
I met my wife when I was just about to give up on the idea of 'romantic' love. Too many relationships were spoiled or soured by the sometime surly realties of human beings who have a tendency to put on public face and be very different behind closed doors. Then I met my wife. I have spent my entire life being able to control my emotions, but it quickly became apparent that she had unleashed something inhumanly powerful in me. I could not stop it, I cannot stop it.
In all the years that I have known her, that powerful emotion has remained unerringly strong. It has been a deep sense of affection that has fully entangled her into life to the point where she is literally a part of who I am, and literally the best part of me.
There is appoint at which the continuation of this lis love becomes a choice though. Love is, first and foremost a selfless thing, and the needs of spouse must come first. Yet I have been continually surprised to love someone and put their needs first, only to discover that I am loved and my needs come first. There is something deeply happy about two people serving one another in love. It is a joy, and what is best about life.
Love is real in the sense that is an important chemical reaction in our brain. All of our emotions are. It's definitely useful as we are a social species that relies on the group for survival. Historically, humans did not need to sentence criminals to death, they could just exile them and it would guarantee death.
"actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed.", "(of a substance or thing) not imitation or artificial; genuine." as said by google.Com. Of course it exists! Otherwise there would be no married people on earth. However, whether true love exists or not, THAT would be intriguing.
It is fairy tale like construct which is full of superlatives. It is an emotion/ feeling and like every other feeling it is there for a logical purpose. Like moonandsun mentioned in his post here, it serves a very specific purpose which might even seem altruistic but is selfish and does serve a purpose to the individual. Irrespective of the relationship and the person towards whom the "love" is felt, there is a specific need of the individual that is being fulfilled. Thus love, if defined as a logical construct required for our mind to ensure that a necessary resource be gathered, is real but in the general sense of the word, nope there is no such thing as long, just like there is no such thing as Santa Claus, the Pink Unicorn or Zeus Thor Jesus
Love can't be real, if love was real then it was taxed and redistributed, simple as that. But love is subjective, what one person sees as a loving behavior is seen as abuse by another. Having had one parent from a 3rd world nation, their definition of love is totally different from the Western perception of it.
Love in a relationship sense is fleeting. Love in a family sense though can be possible.
In many family's we see parents divorceing each other soon after they marry because love is a fleeting thing. IT's simply illogical to assume humans can love each other for an extended period of time. The evidence is everywhere as we see more independence for women and men, and also of extended life time and opretunites.
In the past life was short and a main purpose was to simply marry and have children. Now though life is filled with more opportunites, and we see many people leaving behind the family life because they no longer have to stay there. They were forced to continue their marriage in obliviousness and because it was accepted morals. Now though people aren't persecuted as much for being divorced as there is not as much cannon law in this world.
With the coming change love will change as well, and it already has, a new love, a bright burst that simmers out quickly.
As for family love, it's there.