What is love? If we were to all answer this question, we would probably each have a different response. I see love expressed, celebrated, longed for, and even viewed with disdain across the blogosphere. When we speak of love are we speaking the same language?
My blog is a journey for deeper understanding primarily against the backdrop of my relationships with women. I’ve come across fascinating books and articles delving into the psychology, philosophy, and spirituality of love. I’ll admit a lot of it was rather deep and almost inaccessible at times. You know what I mean…hand pressed against your forehead with fingers massaging your temple as you try to wrap your mind around what you just read.
Then, I came across the Triangle Theory of Love.
This theory suggests that all love consists of three critical attributes or some combination of those three attributes. These components come together in different degrees to form seven types of love. The three critical attributes:
- Passion – Intense feelings of physical attraction, romance, and arousal (particularly sexual arousal), and sense of euphoria early in the relationship. Passion tends to develop very quickly in relationships, followed by a gradual deterioration over time.
- Intimacy – Intimacy is the feeling of closeness, connectedness, trust, and friendship in the relationship. Passion can lead to intimacy, but intimacy can also develop independently of passion as well.
- Commitment – This includes the shared investment of time, energy, joint decisions, and experiences. It is the “history” of the relationship.
In short, passion is the sharing of emotion; intimacy the sharing of secrets and dreams; and commitment is the sharing of life and realization of our dreams.
When I first saw this model, it seemed almost intuitive. However, this doesn’t mean it is easy to apply with our own relationships. If it were easy, there wouldn’t be so much disillusionment about our relationships, the long list of failed relationships in our past, and eternal longing for the perfect love.
Now that we have looked at the three elements of the Triangle of Love, let’s explore how the interact with one another to shape the seven forms of love:
- Friendship – Intimacy Only (No Passion or Commitment). Can be summed up as having intimacy with one another, feeling close, and trusting one another.
- Infatuation – Passion Only (No Intimacy or Commitment). This tends to be a superficial, intoxicating rush of euphoria that cannot sustain itself if not bolstered and fueled by the secrets and dreams of intimacy.
- Empty Love – Commitment Only (No Passion or Intimacy). Think of a couple that has been together a long time. Passion’s fire has been snuffed out. The dream factory of intimacy has closed her doors. Now, only the long, strong but dying vines of commitment hold the relationship together. There are no new dreams.
- Romantic Love – Intimacy and Passion (No Commitment). A “seemingly” divine but fleeting state of bliss. This is often perceived as and longed for as the ideal love but it isn’t. This will be a central topic of discussion in a separate post.
- Companionate Love – Intimacy and Commitment (No Passion). While it is hard to imagine a life void of passion, it isn’t a stretch to see how this type of love (filled with intimacy and commitment) could be very satisfying for some and also long-lasting.
- Fantasy Love – Passion and Commitment (No Intimacy). This is a feeling of love because the couple wants to be in love but they have no shared dreams and little in common.
- Complete or Consummate Love – Passion, Intimacy, and Commitment (All Sides Present). The best of all types, the “ideal relationship,” that all couples should aspire to.
Thinking about my own experiences with love and also in how love and failing relationships are often expressed by others, there are two topics I will explore in future essays. One of the topics is passion. Why does passion burn so hot early on in most relationships but seems to invariably cool over time. What can we do in our relationships to keep passion’s flame burning bright? The second topic and closely related is the allure of romantic love.
In my next post in this series, Romantic Love – Hearts on Fire, I dig deeper to explore the construct of Romantic Love and advance the argument that Romantic Love is not our destination but merely a crossroad on our path to a higher form of love–Consummate Love. How we enter into Romantic Love and our expectations determines the road we will take at this intersection. One road sets us on a course for Consummate Love while the other leads to an endless loop of despair.
I hope you will join me in this journey and share your thoughts along the way. ~ Michael
I owe a debt of gratitude to Sienna (a former lover) for exposing me to several fascinating books that delve into the psychology, philosophy, and spirituality of love. Sienna’s spirituality and thoughtfulness about the nature of our relationship was one of the many traits I admired in her…along with her amazing ass. Our loving, erotic journey is featured is Sensual Shadows series, and you can find it here: Sensual Shadows – Chronology & Links. This story ends up featuring quite a bit of cuckold content, but the underlying and often overlooked aspect of our sexual play is that it wasn’t really about cuckolding. It was about keeping our passion burning hot and fiery for one another. We could have interchanged this with any kink that spoke to both of us.
Another series that pulls through many of concepts expressed in this essay is Yumi. Yumi is a series that women seem to be especially drawn to because it looks at woman’s lack of passion and respect in her marriage and what that may lead to when temptation literally walks through the door. You can find that series here: Yumi – Chronology & Links.