Have you ever fallen in love? Nice feeling, right? The truth is that everyone wants to fall in love, to be loved and to be nurtured. But what is love? Well, we all perceive it differently, based on our experiences, and undeniably everyone’s experience with love is quite personal.
With that said, it would be difficult for all of us to agree on one definition. However, Robert Sternberg, a famous psychologist, has made defining it simpler.
According to Sternberg’s Triangular Theory, it has three components, which are intimacy, passion and commitment. Having said that, this article will help you understand the meaning of it by briefly explaining the three components.
We are also going to look at how the three components combine to give us seven different types. You will also gain insights on characteristics of true love and how to be happy in a relationship. Please keep reading.
Components of Love
Intimacy is defined as feelings of trust, closeness and sharing of your innermost thoughts.
Passion is said to be the motivational component. It involves attraction, romance and sexual desire.
Commitment can be viewed as the cognitive type of love. It entails both short term and long term decisions that you make when in love. Short term commitment is when you make a decision to love your partner.
On the other hand, long-term commitment refers to your willingness to sustain that love towards your significant other and make it endure.
Forms of Love
The following are the various ways you experience it based on Sternberg’s triarchic theory.
With this type intimacy, passion and commitment are not present. It is an acquaintance kind of relationship. Therefore, you will not experience love.
You will have feelings of intimacy, but passion and commitment will be absent. Friendship relationships characterize this form.
3 Infatuated love
You will feel passionate, but intimacy and commitment are normally absent. This is more like the “love at first sight” kind of love, which can be sexually orientated.
4 Empty love
Commitment and intimacy are present, but passion is absent. Arranged marriages epitomize this category. This type can also be used to describe failed marriages. People involved rarely divorce because of kids or other considerations.
5 Romantic love
Intimacy and passion will be present. However, there will be no commitment. At times, intimate friendship that has sexual attraction is likely to develop.
6 Companionate love
This is when there is intimacy and commitment, but passion is absent. Long-term friendships fit well into this category. In addition, marriages where the initial passion has waned fit well into this category.
7 Fatuous love
There is some level of passion and commitment, but intimacy is absent. Whirlwind romance and love affairs of celebrities are typical of this category.
8 Consummate Love
This type has all the three components of intimacy, passion and commitment. Sternberg referred to this type as the complete form of love.
You can use this form of love to judge or assess your current love life or situation. Everyone has an intense desire for this kind of love. It is important to note that not all forms of love develop into consummate love.
To achieve consummate love, you need to put in a lot of effort and time. In addition, you need to consciously have the will power to achieve and maintain this type.
Signs of Real Love
How do you know if what you are feeling is true? In this section, we are going to look at various characteristics of real love.
1 You never get enough of the person you love
All relationships have a “honeymoon” phase. This is the phase where conversations and sex are hot. Everything at this phase is basically hot, including afternoon naps. But should you refer to such hot moments as love?
Well, you can only know if you are in love if the feelings you had during the honeymoon phase continue to linger. Genuine love tends to survive all the stages of a relationship. When you are truly in love, the changes you go through as a couple rarely affect how you relate.
Couples who truly love each other desire to be around each other and talk to each other even when they are going through difficult times. They understand that when they are close, their relationship will continue to grow stronger.
2 You want everyone to love your significant other
Love makes you feel excited and anxious, particularly when introducing your special someone to your friends or family. The person you choose is a reflection of who you are, and a depiction of the kind of choices you make in life.
Therefore, it is no wonder that people tend to hesitate, especially when taking their partners home to meet their parents. With that said, it is critical to take notice of such moments because they will help you know if you should continue pursuing a relationship.
Most people will often say they are not bothered by what others think about the people they choose to love. However, it is critical that you choose a person who will get along with your family members.
The relationship between your partner and your family will certainly influence how your relationship progresses.
3 You support your partner
Regardless of your current life situation, if you are in love with someone, there is a desire to unconditionally support their endeavors and achievements.
Instead of feeling resentful or jealous, you feel joyous and proud about your love. Being able to set aside your feelings and focusing on the achievements of your significant other is a sign that you are in love.
On the other hand, if you are in a problematic relationship, you are more likely to be jealous towards your partner’s accomplishments. Unfortunately, you are likely to experience an inferiority complex, which can tear apart your relationship before it even blossoms.
You like your partner
It is possible to love someone, but not like him or her a single bit. This is a common occurrence, particularly among family members. Having said that, it is very easy to know when you are in love. You will not only have deep feelings for someone, but you will also like them a lot.
If you feel deep affection towards your partner, but you are always unhappy or always fighting, it could be you love them, but don’t like them.
When you truly love someone, you want to tell them every little thing that is happening in your life. You care enough not to keep anything secret. You want your partner to know how you are feeling.
It can seem like you are being too open. On the contrary, if you find yourself always wanting to share everything with your partner, that is a sign.
You become a better partner
Being in an unhealthy relationship can make you develop unhealthy habits. However, when you are in a loving relationship, your love for your significant other can make you turn into a better person.
Therefore, if you are not certain about how you feel about someone, it is imperative that you examine how your life has changed. Have you become a better person since you met your partner? Are you striving to improve yourself? If you answered yes, you are truly in love.
You are concerned about them
When you are in love with someone, that person tends to become a part of you. So, you carry a piece of your partner in your soul, and he or she carries a piece of you.
With that said, you are likely to worry a lot about what life will be like without them. If this has been happening to you, that is a sign.
Other instances that prove include getting worried when your partner’s phone goes off, or when they are exposed to danger.
Secrets for a Happy Relationship
Healthy habits are what build happiness in the long haul. With that said, below are some habits that will help you build and sustain love as a couple.
1 Respect and love each other
In any union, the man needs to feel respected. On the other hand, the woman needs to feel loved. When you love your girlfriend or wife, she is more likely to show you respect.
On the other hand, when you fail to show it to your girlfriend or wife, she is likely to respond to you with disrespect. That said, the things you can do to prove you love your wife include: affirming it to her, talking to her on a regular basis, listening to her unconditionally, call her or text her throughout the day, affirm your love for her during conflicts and reflect on her words so that she can know you’ve heard her.
Additionally, a woman who respects her boyfriend or husband is likely to receive more love unlike when she disrespects him. The things a wife can do to show respect to her boyfriend or husband include believing in him, talking to him respectfully during disagreements, affirming him, inviting his opinion, just to mention, but a few.
2 Effective Communication
Communication can make or break your relationship. So, how you communicate with your significant other is extremely important. Communication should be open and truthful at all times.
Effective communication is what holds your relationship together. Your ability to communicate well as a couple can cultivate empathy, fulfillment and true intimacy.
On the other hand, poor communication skills can lead to anger, frustration and resentment. Therefore, if you have been struggling with communication issues, you can begin to be purposeful in your day-to-day interactions.
Always remember that learning to talk effectively cannot happen in one night. So, keep practicing.
3 Good sex life
Sex is very important in a relationship, particularly to men. Therefore, a sexless marriage will not only lead to temptation and unending infidelity, but it will also make you lose sight of your connection.
With that said, having quality sex on a regular basis can reignite the spark in your relationship. Tips to spice up things in the bedroom include flirting, engaging in foreplay, being spontaneous, sharing your fantasies with each other, and lots of experimenting while in between the sheets.
What’s more, for an even healthier relationship, do not limit your sexual experience to the bedroom. You can do it wherever passion strikes including the living room, bathroom, kitchen, etc.
Be that as it may, if you are not married, it is important that you commit to abstinence until marriage.
4 Compliment each other
When is the last time you complimented your significant other? If you have not been doing it, perhaps you should start doing it. You can compliment your partner whenever they wear a nice outfit, have a new hair cut or hair style, or lose weight.
You can also compliment your love interest for his or her career achievements. Complimenting your partner not only demonstrates your appreciation, but it also makes them feel loved and valued.
Genuine compliments can also increase your better half’s self worth and self confidence.
5 Spend time together
Spending quality time with your mate is important. Therefore, you can plan to have a date night once every month or once every week. This helps to ensure that you spend a few hours with each other without the disturbance from your children, family and friends.
You can also plan a getaway, watch a movie together, cook, play a game, or do something that will help both of you spend quality time together.
6 Take care of yourself
To be able to support the interdependence of your relationship, you need to take care of your physical and mental health. For instance, exercising not only helps you to become physically fit and healthy, but it also makes you more resilient and optimistic.
It is also important to set aside time for yourself. You can dedicate such time to self-development, grooming yourself, catching up with friends and family, enjoying your hobbies, etc.
Spending time alone helps you to recharge, grow and develop yourself as an individual.
7 Be willing to adapt
Relationships tend to change overtime and so does your personality. Therefore, it is important that you embrace the change in your relationship in order to grow.
Some of the changes to adapt to include having kids, your spouse’s personality, money issues, communication styles, career responsibilities, just to mention, but a few.
Are you in love or is someone in love with you? If you answered yes, then this article will certainly be helpful to your love life. You can use this article as a benchmark for your relationship.
Remember that great relationships require hardwork, sacrifice, compromise, time, patience and above all commitment. With that said, practicing what you’ve read in this article will help to ensure that you have a strong, deep and loving relationship.