Understanding Types of Love Psychology

Psychology love

Love, they say, makes the world go round. Although everyone feels love, it lacks a specific definition. This is because people see and interpret love differently. If you care about someone, do you love them? Or does loving someone involves wanting to spend your life with them? What exactly does it mean when someone says “I love you”?

With no definition of love, answering these questions will be difficult. However, understanding different types of love makes it easier to understand the emotions you associate with love. This article will evaluate the Triangular Theory of Love and evaluate the types of love psychology. Read on!

What is the Triangular Theory of Love?

The Triangular Theory of Love is the brainchild of psychologist Robert Sternberg, who developed it in the 1908s. According to Sternberg, love has three components — passion, intimacy, and commitment. Passion refers to sexual desire that sparks a romantic attraction between two individuals. Intimacy is a deep sense of attachment or bond that one feels towards another person.

Finally, commitment is the feeling that influences individuals to stick with each other and grow a relationship. The triangular theory of love states that these components can combine differently to form a different type of love. Let’s look at these types of love psychology.

What are The Types of Love Psychology?

The three components of love proposed by Dr. Sternberg interact with each other to form what we call “love.” Specifically, the addition or subtraction of one or more element from the mix can create seven types of love:

Friendship (Intimacy)

This is the type of love you get when intimacy is present, but the other components (commitment and passion) are missing. This love can be better described as platonic — the type you feel for friends and family.

Infatuation (Passion)

Think of that time when you had a crush on the hottest girl in class. Did you feel like giving the world, only to wake up one day and lose interest? What you felt is infatuation, a love that’s heavy on passion but low on intimacy and commitment.

Usually, infatuation is a product of intense feelings of lust and sexual desire. It isn’t deep enough, which is why you lost interest all of a sudden.

Empty Love (Commitment)

When someone feels empty love, they show commitment — but they don’t feel any intimacy or passion. It is possible for previously strong love to degenerate into empty love and vice-versa.

Those who read romance novels will notice how people in arranged marriages often grow to love each other. That’s empty love getting stronger due to the addition of intimacy and passion.

Romantic Love (Passion & Intimacy)

Romantic love is what happens when intimacy meets passion. Those in a romantic relationship feel both intimate and desirous of each other.

Romantic love is often obvious at the early stages of your relationship. However, it lacks commitment and can quickly burn out.

Companionate Love (Intimacy & Commitment)

love psychology

Companionate love is what you get when passion and commitment mix, without the addition of passion. You can describe this as an intimate type of love that’s devoid of sexual desire.

Old couples often experience this type of love — sexual activity in the relationship is minimal, but the bond remains strong.

Fatuous Love (Passion & Commitment)

This love happens in a relationship when passion and commitment are present, but intimacy is absent. You may often feel this when you confuse sexual compatibility for love.

The sex might be great, but should that be your reason for wanting to commit? Without real intimacy, relationships built on fatuous love cannot stand the test of time.

Consummate Love (Passion, Intimacy & Commitment)

This is it — the greatest type of love. The sex is great, intimacy is high, and both individuals remain committed to the relationship.

Consummate love is the ideal love most people want to experience. Relationships built on consummate love often last long, with partners being each other’s best friends and managing disagreements together. Consummate love is the hardest to maintain since it requires putting all elements of love in action.

If passion reduces, it can become companionate love. If commitment is lacking, your consummate love will deteriorate into romantic love. And if it lacks intimacy, it becomes fatuous love.

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