While love is as varied as the number of people who experience it, it is still possible to put most long-term relationships into one of several categories. Robert Sternberg, developer of the Triangular Theory of Love, postulates seven of these categories. In this article we’re going to go ahead and discuss five types of relationships that most people consider love.
1. One of the most widely recognized types of love is romantic love. This is the love we were all raised to expect between stories, TV shows, and movies. You know the kind, where somebody comes into your life and turns your world upside down, only to have you land on your feet happier and more confident than ever before. This is the kind of love where it becomes difficult to separate yourself from your partner. The problem with this type of love is what happens after the honeymoon. It may be all candlelit dinners and moonlight strolls when it begins, but eventually the daily grind sets in and the passion that fueled this kind of relationship burns out.
2. Another common type of love is fatuous love. If you think that sounds similar to infatuation, you’re right. This is the love that has you do crazy things like marry somebody you met three weeks ago. This is normally very short lived.
3. Then there is companionate love. Ever see that married couple that argues constantly yet never seems to split up? Or maybe you’ve noticed that old couple walking through the park hand in hand? These are good examples of companionate love. This love may not be the most passionate, but it is one of the most stable. Based on mutual concern and genuine interest, these can be long-lasting relationships that offer rewards to the people in them.
4. One of the most difficult types of relationships to consider is empty love. This is a love without passion or intimacy. Typically these relationships are held together by convenience, moral values, or even just inertia. This is the couple that stays together for the kids. This is the couple that can’t afford to get divorced. This is the couple that just can’t be bothered with the effort of trying to find a more rewarding relationship. Typically, people in these relationships do respect one another, but there is little to no love left at all.
5. Finally, there is consummate love. This is the jackpot. This love has all the good and almost none of the bad that can be found in other types of love. It has real intimacy, heart pumping action, and undying commitment. Often people in these relationships think of their partner as the one person, or thing, they can always count on. While this relationship may face troubling times, the strength of the bond between the partners can hold them together through even the worst of storms.
While not all relationships fall into these five categories, most of them do. You may be experiencing romantic love, enjoying solid companionate love, or lucky enough to know consummate love, but only you can know which category you fall under.