What is love? Philosophers and scientists have been struggling to answer this question for many years. In the 1980s, American psychologist Robert Sternberg developed a 3-component theory of love which includes emotional intimacy, passion, and commitment. According to him, it’s these 3 points that constitute the beautiful feeling that thousands of songs and books are written about. Later, thanks to his theory, Sternberg singled out 7 types of love and we’re going to tell you about them in this article.
Here at Bright Side, we believe that feelings change over time. If you haven’t made it to the seventh type of love yet, you and your partner may just need more time.
© Tres metros sobre el cielo / Globo Media S.A.
This is the period when people barely know each other, yet feel a mutual attraction. In such a relationship, two people often don’t have the faintest idea of whether or not they have anything in common, but they stay together anyway.
According to the psychologist, this infatuation can transform into something more complete over time, but this doesn’t always happen. Many couples don’t get beyond this type of love.
© Me Before You / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
In such relationships, you can always be yourself. In this type of love, people are usually united by common interests, views on life, and the feeling of being understood. Psychologists believe that such intimacy without passion and commitment will more likely result in friendship than full-fledged love.
3. Empty love
© Gone Girl / 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Couples experiencing this type of love have only commitment without intimacy and passion. Sometimes this type of relationship appears after a big, fervent love, and sometimes it’s vice versa: people who experience empty love can change, which adds passion to their feelings.
4. Fatuous love
© Enemy / Mecanismo Films
This type of love includes commitment and passion and is familiar to many couples. This is the kind of love that exists when 2 people are really attracted to each other and are ready to follow certain traditions like lavish weddings, exchanging vows, and sharing home duties, but don’t have true intimacy.
Psychologists think that such couples can live together for a long time, but their happiness is relative. In fact, they don’t perceive their partner as a friend.
5. Romantic love
© La La Land / Black Label Media
This kind of love includes passion and intimacy. People in such couples are attracted to each other and feel comfortable next to one another, but they’re not ready to make serious commitments. Relationships of this type often don’t reach the level of cohabitation or marriage.
© House of Cards / NetFlix
Companionate love consists of commitment and intimacy. Such relationships are much stronger than a usual friendship, and there’s a true attachment between the partners. Yet this is a rather chaste agreement because this type of love lacks passion. Psychologists say that the companionate type of relationship can arise after long years of an acquaintance or marriage.
7. Consummate love
© The Vow / Screen Gems
This love consists of all 3 components: passion, emotional intimacy, and commitment. Of course, their levels aren’t always equal, but it’s important to note that they’re all here. You can rarely see this type of relationship, yet if people manage to build them, they truly love each other. Such couples will most likely be able to live a long life together and enjoy their marriage.
Psychologists are sure that a person experiences various types of love in their lifetime. Sometimes it happens with the same partner: they get closer and move to a new level. But other times it happens with different people. Either way, your relationship may not fit into one of the standard 7 types of love and may balance between 2 of them.
This typology will help you define what relationship you’re in now, and whether it’s worth continuing it. If you discuss it with your partner, maybe over time you’ll be able to transform your type of love into a kind that both of you are happy with.
What type of love have you already experienced? Share your stories in the comments.