Our feelings are very complex and often intertwined. It is sometimes tough to find the cause of certain behaviours and to identify our emotions and vulnerabilities. Psychologists have responded over the ages with various classifications of our feelings and the kinds of relationships we form and build. We invite you to discover the seven types of love, first pointed out by Sternberg, a renowned psychologist who gave us several theories about love and relationships throughout his career.
Robert Sternberg is the man who first reported the seven types of love, and his theories have since been integrated, developed and adapted to modern times.
Here are the seven types of love in Sternberg’s theories, starting from the three components of love: passion, emotional physical contact and commitment.
We all dream of this coupled relationship in which all three components of love exist: passion, commitment and emotional physical contact. Psychologists tell us that we don’t always start such a relationship. Still, sometimes we come to true love after going through other types of love with the same partner. The association has evolved and developed.
It is the ideal relationship, but the three components are not always equal; they vary in intensity, one may be dominant, but the important thing is that all three are there.
However, such a relationship must be nurtured, as it will not go through time, staying the same forever. Sometimes routine can intervene; other times, passion can wane. Each partner can get involved to keep the relationship strong.
The relationship where both like each other
In this situation, only one behaviour is present: physical contact, but passion and commitment are lacking. The two feel themselves in the relationship, accepted and understood, honest and open. Still, this type of relationship describes friendship rather than true love.
The relationship where the attraction is at its peak
Many of us have experienced such a relationship in which partners don’t know much about each other but feel attracted like two magnets, constantly thinking about each other, flinching at every phone call, looking for each other, and waiting for each other.
This kind of reality can also represent the beginning of a bond between two partners when we feel butterflies in our stomachs. Still, later, when the passion subsides, the other behaviours of a relationship take shape. Otherwise, the two break up.
So in this type of relationship, passion dominates, but commitment and physical contact are lacking.
We find commitment and physical contact in this type of relationship, but passion is missing. It is also a relationship that describes friendship rather than a lasting couple.
The ‘sad’ relationship
A sad relationship or sad love refers to those relationships where the partners share commitment and passion but lack physical contact. The latter can create the impression of loneliness in the couple, of misunderstanding.
Our feelings are very complex and often intertwine. It is sometimes tough to find the cause of certain behaviours and to identify our emotions and vulnerabilities. Psychologists have responded over the years with various classifications of our emotions and the types of relationships we form and build. We invite you to discover the seven types of love, first pointed out by Sternberg, a renowned psychologist who has given us several theories on love and relationships throughout his career.
The “empty” relationship
This type of relationship is either imposed or comes here after a beautiful relationship that has not been maintained over time. So empty love refers to a relationship with commitment, but passion and physical contact are not (anymore) there.
We often find ourselves in this type of love, where we enjoy physical contact and passion but are not ready to make significant commitments together, such as marriage or conceiving a child. It’s a beautiful relationship we want, where we thrive and feel lovely, but the sense of commitment hasn’t (yet) been created.