The answer to these questions depends largely on our definition of love and at what level of consciousness development and spiritual awareness we are. This defines our capacity to love and what makes us feel loved.
On a physical level of survival and sexuality, feelings of love, or better said lust and infatuation, are caused by hormones that are triggered when our reptilian brain is attracted to a partner who we can produce healthy babies with and safely raise them to adulthood.
On a mental/material level, feelings of love are created by people who share our values, interests, passions, lifestyle, vision … someone who lives, thinks, dreams and acts like us.
On an unconscious psychological level, we fall in love with people who faced similar challenges and trauma in their childhood as we did (attraction/familiarity), and developed different coping mechanisms. We unconsciously hope that they will perfectly love/accept/care for us the way we were never loved by our parents/caregivers.
On the level of the soul, we fall in love with people who support and challenge us to learn, heal, grow to become the best version of ourselves and to live our purpose.
On a spiritual level we fall in love with people who challenge us to awaken to the next level of our spiritual realisation.
These levels of love unfold sequentially through transcending and including.
What generally prevents us from finding and experiencing love at each of these levels are its opposites–fear and shame. They lead us to withdrawing and closing down, dissociating from our body and feelings, engaging in substituting distractions such as overeating, overworking, laziness, substance abuse, unhealthy compensation (computer games, binge watching), spiritual bypassing, etc. We find or attract love when we become the best version of ourselves at all these levels; materially, professionally, physically, sexually, mentally, emotionally, passionately, and spiritually and want to further learn, heal, grow and awaken with our soulmate.
Robert Augustus Masters wrote:
“The growth towards love is not just a journey of ripening intimacy with a beloved other, but also a journey into and through zones of ourselves that may be quite difficult to navigate, let alone get intimate with and integrate with the rest of our being. But however much this growth might ask of us, it gives back even more, transforming us until we are established in the unshakable love, profound passion, and radically intimate mutuality that epitomize a love relationship. And even if we don’t end up in such a relationship, our having taken the journey toward it will immeasurably benefit us and others in whatever we do.”