I’ve been thinking about love and such lately. Were you aware that there are lots of different kinds of love? I’ve done a little research and I have compiled my findings here.
Being loved is a fantastic feeling. That’s why so many of us are out in the world looking for it. We need that feeling of being appreciated and cared for more than anything. The trick is to realize that we don’t have to stalk the bars or dating sites to find our one true love. They’ve been with you the entire time.
Cheesy, yes. I know.
I can practically hear you rolling your eyes. Fair. That was a little cheesy, but it’s true. There is a considerable change in your life when you decide to love yourself. I know it’s difficult, but it’s not impossible to make this happen for yourself. I shared my thought about self-love in this guest post.
Along the way, we are all still seeking those treasured connections. I believe that it’s vital for people to have those connections to trusted people. Everyone needs that safe person that they can allow themselves to be vulnerable with. That may be with a romantic partner, a close friend, or a relative. All of this is Love.
Most people don’t think about love in these terms. It usually stops at the romantic attraction, but there are still plenty of relationships with that element of love. A close and comforting relationship can provide the love a person might be looking for without realizing it. So let’s explore the different types of love and how they can present in your life.
Steinberg’s Triangle Theory
In the 1980s, psychologist Robert Steinberg describes the three main aspects of love as being interconnected. He uses a triangle to describes these relationships. The three aspects are Intimacy, Commitment, and Passion that represent the main branches of the triangle.
- Intimacy, which involves feelings of closeness, connectedness, and bondedness
- Passion, which involves feelings and desires that lead to physical attraction, romance, and sexual consummation
- Commitment, which involves feelings that lead a person to remain with someone and move toward shared goals
The Corners of Love
Intimacy, on its own, describes our friendships. The passion and commitment parts of the triangle are not prominently featured. However, you may begin to develop other feelings as a result of that intimacy of friendship. If other feelings develop, it becomes a different type of love that I will discuss shortly.
Passion, or infatuation, represents the hot and heavy attraction for others. This attraction has nothing to do with closeness or Commitment. Passion is the superficial lust that pops up without thought or warning. This branch of the love triangle is all about the physical gratification that could be had, no strings attached. A vacation fling or a one-night stand can fall into this category. Other feelings might develop over time, but the Passion is immediate.
Commitment can be described as empty love. Marriages can devolve into empty love over time. They may carry a sense of only staying together out of obligation. This branch can also describe a relationship with co-workers. It isn’t exactly a friendship because there is no intimacy or closeness, but you have to maintain a working relationship to achieve specific goals. Arranged marriages can start in this category as well.
These three single aspects work together to form the other types of love.
The Branches of Love
Romantic love (Intimacy + Passion): This is your romantic connection. You may want get close to another person, and they give you nervous butterflies. So you date a little and get to know each other. The physical attraction is there as well. The missing piece, Commitment, allows this romantic relationship to stay casual if wanted. You can date multiple people and still have that romantic love.
Companionate love (Intimacy + Commitment): This can indicate a strong friendship or relationship with relatives. You have history and closeness. You would do anything for this person. Y’all are tight, but there is no passion here. No kissing cousins, please. This relationship may also describe a marriage that has cooled down over time. The Passion may die off with age or other issues. There is no desire to split up, but there is no passion either.
Fatuous Love (Commitment + Passion): Friends with benefits! This love I call a “firecracker” kind of love. It burns hot and bright at first but burns out quickly. There is some exclusivity and an abundance of passionate feelings. Think about a celebrity marriage that may only last through a weekend. These relationships are exciting for a while but rarely last.
Consummate Love (All branches): This is the type of love that people are searching for. The kind of love that people write books and sing songs about. You struggle and thrive together. There is no other person for you. Your relationship might last for decades, but the Passion is still strong. This love is the ideal form of love. It isn’t impossible to attain, but it does require a lot of work to maintain.
Love is a Verb
It is essential to remember that love is a verb, an action word. Therefore, one can make these declarative statements of love but can show no love in their actions. For example, I can say that I love my husband, but my words become meaningless if I don’t show him my love in action.
People in long-term relationships run this risk. Things in your life can become automatic, including telling your person that you care about them. We all get busy and go through the motions of life. That’s normal. The key is to be intentional with your love, all the types of your love.
Do you appreciate your co-worker for covering for you when you were late that time? Buy them a coffee or their favorite office snack!
Do you have that friend you called and woke up at 2:37 am because someone broke your heart, and they listened to you cry until sunrise? Return the favor if it ever comes up!
Is your partner stressed out about something going on at work? Give them the night off from stuff around the house and let them relax!
There are lots of different ways to show your love. I believe that people need it now more than ever. I offer my love for you by sharing my words and inviting you to do the same. We can all rise together.
Take care. Be safe. I love you!