Thursday, December 14

Theories of Love

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What we know about love as a scientific matter stems from the work of scientists in the 19 and 20th century specially the work of a german sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Albert Ellis a psychotherapist.they tried to describe different types of love.the most important theory of love is based on the work of Sternberg (e.g., 1986, 1998) which is known as triangle of love. he explains that love is consist of 3 elements namley; intimacy, passion and commitment. the different types of love are the combination of these feelings in low or high quantities.

he describes 8 different types of love based on these elements:

Nonlove:                  Low intimacy  Low passion     Low   commitment
Liking                       High                Low                    Low
Infatuation                Low                 High                   Low
Empty love               Low                 Low                    High
Romantic love          High                 High                  Low
Companionate love  High                 Low                   High
Fatuous love            Low                  High                  High
Consummate love    High                 High                  High

He also tried to develop a 45-scale questionnaire to measure the 3 subscales of love: intimacy, passion and commitment.however his scales were so inter-related and they were only able to measure the love in general.

another important theory of love was introduced by Lee(1977,1988) . he named it :colours(styles) of love.he defined the primary and secondary colours(styles) of love and developed a scale sensetive enough to measure the different styles of love.

According to him there are 3 different styles of love known as: Eros, Ludus and Storge.

Eros can be defined as an immediate and powerful attraction to the beloved person.thus it is very near to passion element in love triangle theory.as it is very erotic it can shrink or deminish very quickly in time.

The erotic lover is so prone to fall in love or turned on with a physical stimulant of an indivudual and it can be referred to as “love at the first sight”.Erotic love also has a very strong  sexual desire towards the beloved one and the erotic lover is so eager to know the person with whom he felt in love very quickly, intensly and bare!

the second primary style(colour) of love is Ludus it is also called ” game playing” the ludic lover preceive love as a game to play with skill and often not just with one individual.The ludic lover has no plans of including the partner/partners in the future life plans and is not seeking involvement in the realtionship.

The third primary style of love is called Storge. it is described as “love without fever or folly”. it is simmilar to affection and it includes elements of trust, friendship and respect.storge lovers can be reffered to as “old friends” they may not experience the strong emotions or physical attraction to the partner which is seen in erotic lovers but they prefer to focus on common interests with the loved one and  tend to demonstrate their affection in nonsexual ways.

like the primary colours, these primary styles can combine to form the secondary styles of love:

Pragma which is a combination of storge and ludus, is “the love that goes shopping for a suitable mate”
The pragmatic lover is practical in finding love.this person is looking for mates and will make a shopping list,meets people and if those people do not fit in the criteria he/she is willing to drop them.

Mania, the combination of eros and ludus is a jealous kind of love. a Manic lovers lack the self-confidence  of eros
and the self-control of ludus. the maniac lover is self-defeating , desperate
and paranoid lover who cannot trust the loved one and the displays of the affection by the person.the manic lover is seeking love desparately , begins immediately but is jealous and insecure and most of the times unhappy.

Agape: which is the last secondary style of love is a combination of eros and storge. it is comparable to Lewis’s concept of Charity and represents an all-giving, selfless love style with an obligation to love and care for others without any expectation of reciprocity or reward. This love style is universalistic in the sensebecause the agapic lover belives that everyone is worthy of love and looks at loving others as a duty.these lovers may also sacrify themselves to the extend that step aside in favor of a rival who seems more likely to meet the partner’s needs.

based on the efforts by Lee to measure the love elements the 42-item Love Attitudes Scale (LAS)  was designed by The Hendricks and their colleagues (Hendrick & Hendrick, 1986; Hendrick, Hendrick,Foote, & Slapion-Foote, 1984). it seems to be a reliable measure to determine six love styles separately. If you are interested to do the measurment please read the next article by me…

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