Psychology continues to struggle with the question of how to define love, and after decades of research, is no closer to the ultimate answer. However, the triangular theory of love proposed by University of Wyoming Robert Sternberg provides a fascinating and useful framework. The triangle here is not a true “love triangle,” but instead is the shape used to represent love’s three main dimensions.
1 Consummate Love
This is the ideal kind of love in which all the three components are present in their right proportions. This form of love is considered to produce the perfect couple. The love relationship can survive over a very long time. However, it can also die if any of the three components start to diminish.
2 Fatuous Love
Fatuous love occurs when people make commitments based on passion without the element of intimacy. Lack of the stabilizing effect of intimacy makes the relationship disintegrate as passion diminishes with time.
3 Companionate Love
Companionate love is the kind that exists among family members. It involves intimacy and long-term commitment. This kind of love is characteristic of many couples who still remain affectionate and committed to each other long after passion dies.
4 Romantic Love
This form of love happens as a result of intimacy and passion. Such couples are attracted to each other physically and have a strong emotional bond. However, there is an absence of commitment in the relationship.
5 Empty Love
This is characterized by the absence of intimacy and passion. Partners in such a relationship are only committed to each other.
6 Infatuated Love
It is a form of love driven by passion only. Intimacy and commitment can develop over time making infatuated love to graduate to romantic and consummate love. However, it can diminish quite easily if the other components do not come in.
It is characterized by feelings of friendship. There are feelings of warmth and closeness towards each other. However, there is the absence of commitment and any strong passion towards each other.