Unconscious Love - What's It About?

Unconscious love goes beyond any notions you might have about it. It leads you to make certain decisions you're often not aware of, almost without realizing it. In today's article, we explore this subject.
Unconscious Love - What's It About?

Last update: 24 July, 2020

Love can transform anyone, almost to the point in which a person becomes unrecognizable. Sometimes, even to themselves. This is because it’s such a difficult feeling to explain and, thus, why the field of psychology often refers to it as unconscious love.

Every person has their own definition of love based on their experiences: what they’ve read, what they’ve heard, etc. Today’s article will refer to what some dictionaries refer to as “the feeling of attraction towards another person that seeks reciprocity and a desire to unite because it makes you feel whole and content and it also gives you the energy to do communicate, create and do many things together”.

Thus, this essay seeks to emphasize the kind of love that goes beyond awareness. Here, you’ll be able to discover what it is, its characteristics, and how to identify it.

While one is consciously afraid of not being loved, the real, though usually, unconscious fear is that of loving.

-Erich Fromm-

What’s unconscious love about?

When it comes to unconscious love, one refers to the kind of love that moves through your dreams, desires, fears, impulses, and emotions. The kind that goes hand in hand with your instincts. That which is difficult for your consciousness to access because its contents are repressed, at least part of them.

Have you ever asked yourself why people who deeply attract you but frustrate you come into your life? Perhaps because there’s a side to you that makes you attracted to them. Thus, you begin to experience unconscious love.

Sometimes, you don’t know why you deeply love the person standing next to you but you feel it intensely. This is precisely the key for you to be by their side, whether you’re both happy or not. Furthermore, the love described in this article leads you to make choices that go beyond your awareness. Even though it may seem impossible to understand it, the truth is you can, at least in part.

Hands holding a heart.

Sigmund Freud on unconscious love

The father of psychoanalysis suggested that the unconscious manifests through dreams, creativity, mistakes, and other manifestations. Therefore, one could recognize them by being attentive to these manifestations. In addition, one can also access this content through psychoanalysis.

Psychoanalysis itself states that people make unconscious choices, and that love might just be one of them. Humans do so according to the development of their personality, experiences, and culture.

Thanks to the role of unconscious mechanisms, you would seek a love that satisfies your personal shortcomings. Even those you’re not aware of and are either isolated or encapsulated. This is why it’s difficult to understand why you make choices that can be toxic to your life. Not knowing where it comes from, you choose another without being aware of your motives.

However, unconscious love shouldn’t be confused with toxic love as it may or may not be. That will depend on both the mechanisms and experiences each person in a relationship has. It can also be a blind love, in which you don’t see the other for what they are and you even idealize them, hoping they’ll meet your every expectation.


Here are the usual characteristics of unconscious love:

  • Idealization can be a trait of unconscious love when you overestimate someone, to appease what ails you. In other words, you may use it as a defense mechanism.
  • Substitution. This is because it’s a way to satisfy some of your needs. It’s a construction that, as suggested by French psychoanalyst Lacan, is related to your own culture and language.
  • Joy. This is about a drive for satisfaction. That is to say, the crossing between the symbolic and the real.
  • Instinctive. This is the kind of love that arises from the depths of your being, instincts, drives, and desires. These aspects often escape your consciousness.
  • An unconscious mental image. This image affects your choices and is the result of your experiences, desires, instincts, fears, and legacies.

Unconscious love goes beyond what you can see in reality. It moves through aspects of your inner world and it baffles you. Mainly because you don’t know those mechanisms by which it moves.

Two people being playful.

Unconscious love in your life

Even though it may seem complicated, there are ways to bring your unconscious love to light. In contrast, you’ll never have absolute control over it. Here are some ways to identify it:

  • Self-knowledge. Being aware of what’s happening in your inner world can help you recognize the kind of love that goes beyond consciousness. Even if you can’t access all of its content, you can see part of it through the manifestations of your unconscious.
  • Psychotherapy. The psychotherapist gets to see those aspects that you can’t see because they’re trained to identify such manifestations. Furthermore, they’re able to translate them into your own personal language.
  • Few people know why they are with whom they are. Thus, if you wonder what you’re doing with a certain person, it could be an indication of an unconscious love choice.
  • When you don’t know how to describe the love you feel. If you don’t know how it happened and can’t describe what you feel with words, your love for them might be unconscious.
  • Idealization. When you use this as a defense mechanism to avoid your anguish.
  • Unexplained self-harm. When you have a toxic relationship, you allow everything and don’t know how to escape because there’s “something” that makes you go back to them.
  • Your ideas of love don’t necessarily represent love. This mainly happens when your love doesn’t represent your convictions about love.


Unconscious love is the kind that goes beyond logic. It’s as difficult to understand as it is to describe with words. It’s a rather intense feeling, except you don’t know how it happened and why.

Thus, this kind of love is one born from your old wounds, desires, learning, fears, legacies, and impulses. It’s a love that can lead you to make choices you never thought you could make. It’s the kind of love that transforms you because it’s alien to you. What you don’t realize is that it’s closely linked to your inner world.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Miller, J.A. (2003). La pareja y el amor (Vol 15). Madrid, España: Grupo Planeta.
  • Lacan J. (1964). Posición del inconsiente. Escritos 2, pp. 509-557.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.