The 9 Types of Romanic Love: Which Type Do You Believe In?
It sounds simple enough when you look it up in the dictionary.
To love is to hold dear, or to feel a lover's passion, devotion
or tenderness. Plain and simple, love is that good feeling
we get when we're around someone we, well, love. Or is it?
Ideas and feelings about love differ between cultures
and as time goes by.
As a culture it seems we are forever trying to pinpoint just
what love is, and with little concrete success. There are
as many theories about love as there are fish in the sea.
According to Sigmund Freud, love first begins in childhood
when we fall in love with a parent. Adult love, then, is an
extension or rediscovery of this childhood form.
Freud says there are "two currents" of love, affection/tenderness
and sensuality. "It is very usual for directly sexual
impulsions, short-lived in themselves, to be transformed into
a lasting and purely affectionate tie; and the consolidation
of a passionate love marriage rests to a large extent upon
Others, such as anthropologist Helen Fisher, PhD, in her
We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love,"
believe that love is purely chemical. "... this fire
in the mind is caused by elevated levels of either dopamine
or norepinephrine or both, as well as decreased levels of
serotonin," she says.
Nine Types of Romantic Love
How many types of love are there? Let us count the
In latest research on the topic, published in the British
Journal of Social Psychology, researchers have defined exactly
what love is, but it took them nine different definitions
to do it.
That's because, according to experts from Nottingham Trent
University and University College London, there are nine distinct
forms of partnership love. Says co-author Dr. Simon Watts,
senior lecturer in psychology:
"People down the ages have always tried to capture and
pigeonhole love. The evidence suggests, however, that love
is historically and culturally variable. There is no one true
or definitive account of love, rather there are a limited
and interconnected variety of love stories at work in any
particular culture. It's okay for love to differ across relationships
and to change its character with the passage of time--it's
equally acceptable for us to change our views of love as we
What type of love is in your life?
Mutual Trust, Recognition and Support. When we
think about love, this is they type that's thought about
most often (yet is extremely hard to actually do). Love
is a mutual effort, and both partners should work to make
the other's life, and potential as a person, better.
Cupid's Arrow. Love is intense passion and physical
attraction that is nearly impossible to control. We lose
sight of who we are and what we need.
Hedonistic Love. Love is about sex and personal
feelings of pleasure. No long-term commitment is involved.
Love as Ultimate Connection and Profound Feeling.
Love is a sublime feeling and is the ultimate way
of being with another person. It is a necessity to our
lives and should be sought no matter what.
If you're critical of the idea that love is the type
right out of a romance novel, it's "demythologized
Demythologized Love. Being critical of the "romantic
myth of love," in which unrealistic expectations
abound. The actual requirements of a relationship--compromise,
working to communicate, patience--are not thought about
in the myth.
Love as Transformative Adventure. Love can bring
new opportunities and a new life direction. This can be
extremely pleasurable or, at the other extreme, end up
From Cupid's Arrow to Role-Bound Relationship.
Love begins in extreme passion and transitions to a routine
with familiar roles (husband and wife, mother and father).
From Cupid's Arrow to Friendship. Love begins,
once again, with passion, then transitions to a relationship
based on everyday friendship. This type of love brings
feelings of security, not necessarily opportunities of
Dyadic-Partnership Love. Partners merge into
one functional unit in this type of love. There is a mutually
supportive environment, which is placed ahead of each
person's individual needs. Though difficult to achieve,
with honesty, communication and respect it can be done
and is highly fulfilling. The researchers say it may be
the most significant way of connecting with a partner.
So what does this all really mean? Says Dr. Watts:
"At a time when about 60 percent of our marriages
fail it is clear that many of our expectations of love and
love relationships are not being satisfied. Our study highlights
some of those expectations--such as the heavy burden of
responsibility we often place on our partners to make our
lives better--but it also shows that there really are 'other'
ways of thinking about love and we hope that these might
ultimately help to change some people's expectations in
a manner that is positive for them."
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