While some might say there are as many types of love as there are couples, it’s also true that long-term romantic relationships tend to fall into certain categories.
According to Robert Sternberg, who developed the Triangular Theory of Love, there are exactly seven of those categories. Here we’ll take a love at the five types most would consider love. Any of them sound familiar?
This is what Hollywood wants us to think love is. The foundation is passion—that giddy, swept-of-your-feet feeling. Along with that, there’s often a sense of emotional closeness so strong you feel one with your partner. The problem with this type of love is that there’s no commitment. Once the excitement wears off and the day-to-day routine sets in, this love can fizzle fast. There are better types of relationships out there.
This is Vegas drive-through-chapel love. Love that makes you think you should spend a lifetime together after you’ve only known each other a week. As with the romantic variety, there’s plenty of passion, but there’s also a sense of commitment (hence the insta-wedding).
What’s lacking, though, is intimacy. The two people involved hardly know each other. It leads to questions like “What do you mean you ‘forgot’ to finalize your divorce?!”
This is the elderly couple walking hand in hand through the park. It’s also the ornery old pair who always seems to have regular spats, yet wouldn’t dream of leaving each other. Even after the passion has died down, the closeness and commitment are stronger than ever. Of course, that’s not to imply that all older couples lack passion or that this love is reserved only for the elderly.
Of all types of relationships, this one is hardest to call “love.” It’s really more a type of respect held up by moral values. It’s the kind of thing that happens when a married couple no longer feels much of anything for each other, but stays together for the kids, for financial reasons, or just out of sheer momentum. Often both partners still feel genuine regard and respect for one another, but neither emotional intimacy nor sexual passion are anywhere to be found.
Here we’ve hit the mother lode. This is the love most of use dream of finding some day. It’s everything all rolled into one: deep emotional intimacy, toe-curling passion, and rock-solid commitment. People who share this type of love often consider their partner their best friend or the “one thing” they can count on. Naturally, this relationship’s bound to hit a few storms along the way, but this type of couple has everything they need to weather those storms without sustaining any serious damage.
So which one sounds like you? Are you high on romantic love, settled into a comfortable companionship or, just maybe, you’re one of the lucky couples who’ve found true consummate love. In any case, keep in mind that not every relationship is going to fit into one of these categories and most types of relationships will fall into more than one.