We all fall in, and out of love. You know what love is, don’t you? It is the pleasure you derive when someone becomes the object of your attention, thoughts, commitment, affections, and amorous fantasies. But for once, let us cast aside all we know about love and learn from reputable philosophers and psychologists.
We shall consider what Yale University psychologist Robert J. Sternberg thinks of romantic relationships in his book “Triangle Theory of Love” published in 1985, and Canadian psychologist John Alan Lee in his book “The Colors of Love” published in 1973.
We shall consider 7 types of romantic relationships and how they define love and influence the people that fall in love.
Sternberg established that all love relationships are based on three main elements. A combination of two of these three further leads to seven, or even eight other types of romantic relationships. These will be explained briefly below:
With intimacy, you develop friendship and familiarity with an individual and end up liking and connecting with the person. Here you develop feelings of closeness, connectedness, and strong emotional bonds with another individual.
From the liking or intimacy stage, you could develop vain feelings with the individual to bring you to the passion stage, where infatuation and sexual attraction take center-stage. Here you want to be with your partner at all times of the day to engage in passionate lovemaking.
And then comes the third stage of commitment where the parties decide to stick with each other through thick and thin with the plan to preserve the amorous relationship forever.
The combined element of passion and commitment will generate fatuous love. You have fatuous love where you engage in sexual activities with an individual you wish to marry, without necessarily knowing the individual very well on a friendship basis.
This type of love is produced where passion and intimacy are present. This is where two people engage in sexual intimacy because they are romantic friends, but with no commitments to formalize the relationship. Romantic love is sustained with sex and close friendship without plans to get married or any such thing.
This love is fueled by intimacy and commitment, but with no sexual intimacy. Here, people become very close as friends and even commit to a lifelong relationship, but with no sexual activity. This type of compassionate love is usually observed in long-term friends where both get committed to each other but without any sexual attraction.
This type of love is complete with passion, intimacy, and commitment. With consummate love, partners do not tire of themselves and they enjoy great sex as well as physical affection for years on end. They commit to a lifetime of making the relationship work at all costs.
All romantic relationships take one or more forms of these listed relationship types, and it defines what love is to the individuals involved.