According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Love Carries the Following Definitions:Edit
1 a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinsip or personal ties.
(2) : attraction based on sexual desire; affection and tenderness felt by lovers
(3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
b : an assurance of affection
2 : warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
3 a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration
b : a beloved person; darling - often used as a term of endearment
4 : unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another
5 : a god or personifcation of love
6 : an amorous episode; love affair
7 : the sexual embrace; copulation
8 : a score of zero (as in tennis)
Except for the last definition (unless your waifu is a character from Prince of Tennis), these denotations pertain to the concept of waifus in some way. A lot of the backlash against having waifus comes from an inablity or unwillingness to apply these meanings when discussing someone's love for a fictional character, which can be a difficult task for those who come from mainstream culture where imaginary friends are frowned upon, let alone something like a waifu. Waifus are a relatively old idea, dating back to Roman mythology, and have been brought to more people's attentions due to the exploding popularity of the Internet. While nothing new, its newest form within otaku culture has become a point of controversy, with many claiming waifus of their own, while skeptics openly criticize them for coming up with excuses on why they can't get a real partner.
Many different variations of love have been initially rejected but gradually gained acceptance and even protection under the law (i.e. interracial marriage, LGBT rights, the Sexual Revolution of 1960's). It seems that younger people growing up with the Internet and a more tolerant view of sexuality are accepting the many forms of love that can occur within our species.
This begs the question, however, if those who declare their waifus are working their way to the same page.
Definitions Applied to WaifusEdit
1 a (1) : Since they are usually fictional characters, people aren't usually related to their waifus by blood. However, the subject might imagine their personal ties to them (i.e. going to the same school with them or being part of a squad with them). This usually serves to establish a connection to build the relationship off of.
(2) : Humans are very social in nature, with sex being an inherent aspect of that. When prospects for a mate are dismal, the mind begins searching for alternatives. Waifus often fill this gap by being an object of desire for the subject based on their astethics. If they are deemed as desirable in the eyes of the subject, they will become a source for their arousal. The brain will then set up romantic and/or sexual fantasies around the waifu, often leading to masturbation. Rule 34 often provides the necessary materials to carry this out, especially if the waifu is from a popular piece of media like a video game or TV show.
(3) There can also be personality traits and interests that the subject desires in a waifu. They might share common interests with her, or they may go for someone with a differing personality (often on the basis that opposites attract). Whatever the case, it helps build a solid relationship and makes the waifu more than just something sexy to look at. They become the subject's significant other because the brain has a lot to go on when projecting them.
b: An assurance of affection is something within the core of human needs, that is, a sense of companionship and purpose. While the waifu usually can't say "I love you" directly to the subject in a tangible fashion, their imagination will fill in the gaps to empower the fantasy.
2 : Often with media, but especially anime, enthusiasm for the illusion presented to them builds overtime, which can cause of the subject to become attached to a character(s). For example, in Code Geass, one may become attached to Kallen's drive to free Japan from Britannian rule (not to mention her large chest and the various fanservice involving her naked or in a bunny suit), or the viewer may warm up to Shirley's welcoming personality and sympathize with her inner pain (though convincing her to give up on her infatuation with Lelouch would be quite a chore). In that respect, the waifu becomes a close friend of the subject, someone to talk and bounce their emotions off of, someone they can depend on to be there at a moment's notice.
3 a: Love as an object of attachment, devotion, admiration fits snuggly into the idea of a waifu. One of the great things about literature and media is that we can build connections to characters because they resonate with us and our own experiences. In the case of the waifu, the subject falls in love with said character, filling that role in their life. This can take form with fan-art, tribute videos, and other creations involving them. It is a deeper connection that deserves our understanding and curiosity rather than our ridicule.
b: Again, the waifu is meant to be the source of adoration, placed at a high position in the subject's psyche. As for calling a waifu "love", the dynamics of the relationship depend on the source material and the subject's own imagination.
4 : Since your waifu is more or less you (that is, a reflection of your own psyche) making her happy means you are happy. Much like any other relationships, the subject will seek their happiness and loyality (in mind, if nothing else).
5 : I suppose it would surprise no one if some lonely Greek shepard boys had the hots for Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and they would probably extend the fantasy considering Pan taught them how to masturbate just like how his father, Hermes, showed him.
6 : I reiterate that we humans are very social creatures, and for obvious reasons we want to feel loved. Many begin claiming waifus because it brings some sense of joy and love into their gray routines. It's that sort of emotional support that motivates a lot of us to become something better.
7 : Considering the dimensional barriers, physical contact is all but impossible. This means that the closest analogue to sex would be for the subject to masturbate with the concept of the waifu in their head. Contrary to what some may think, this is perfectly healthy and fine. Sexual desire and compatibility is part of a healthy relationship, as long as you both (theoretically) would enjoy the experience.