Triangular Theory of Love
- Nonlove “refers simply to the absence of all three components of love. Nonlove characterizes the large majority of our personal relationships, which are simply casual interactions.”
- Liking/friendship is “used here in a nontrivial sense. Rather, it refers to the set of feelings one experiences in relationships that can truly be characterized as friendship. One feels closeness, bondedness, and warmth toward the other, without feelings of intense passion or long-term commitment.”
- Infatuated love: “infatuation results from the experiencing of passionate arousal in the absence of intimacy and decision/commitment…like Tennov’s limerance.” Romantic relationships often start out as infatuated love and become romantic love as intimacy develops over time. Without developing intimacy or commitment, infatuated love may disappear suddenly.
- Empty love is characterized by commitment without intimacy or passion. A stronger love may deteriorate into empty love. In an arranged marriage, the spouses’ relationship may begin as empty love and develop into another form, indicating “how empty love need not be the terminal state of a long-term relationship…[but] the beginning rather than the end.”
- Romantic love “derives from a combination of the intimate and passionate components of love…romantic lovers are not only drawn physically to each other but are also bonded emotionally” - bonded both intimately and passionately, but without sustaining commitment.
- Companionate love is an intimate, non-passionate type of love that is stronger than friendship because of the element of long-term commitment. “This type of love is observed in long-term marriages where passion is no longer present” but where a deep affection and commitment remain. The love ideally shared between family members is a form of companionate love, as is the love between close friends who have a platonic but strong friendship.
- Fatuous love can be exemplified by a whirlwind courtship and marriage - “fatuous in the sense that a commitment is made on the basis of passion without the stabilizing influence of intimate involvement.”
- Consummate love is the complete form of love, representing an ideal relationship toward which people strive. Of the seven varieties of love, consummate love is theorized to be that love associated with the “perfect couple.” According to Sternberg, these couples will continue to have great sex fifteen years or more into the relationship, they cannot imagine themselves happier over the long-term with anyone else, they overcome their few difficulties gracefully, and each delight in the relationship with one other. However, Sternberg cautions that maintaining a consummate love may be even harder than achieving it. He stresses the importance of translating the components of love into action. “Without expression,” he warns, “even the greatest of loves can die.” Thus, consummate love may not be permanent. If passion is lost over time, it may change into companionate love.
By far one of my favorite love theories in Psychology. I don’t know why they didn’t teach this when I was much much younger. Knowing the proper terms for how one feels about another is the first step towards emotional maturity. Nobody wants to call their feelings “Puppy Love” when “Fatuous Love” sounds so much more appropriate.
I totally agree that it’s a step toward emotional maturity. Iit provides language yeah, but it also provides context and scope. It illustrates that there are different kinds of love in relationships amidst “fairytale culture” that tends to give teenagers overly romantic and sometimes damaging imagery about what “love” should be.
Woah. All the love!!