At times it may feel frustrating, but it’s actually pretty empowering to accept the fact that the only person we have any true control over in a relationship is ourselves. We are in charge of half of the dynamic. Therefore, we can choose whether to engage in behaviors that are destructive to intimacy or whether to take actions that express feelings of love, compassion, affection, respect, and kindness. In order to consciously and consistently choose the latter, it’s valuable to look at the characteristics that in more than 30 years of studying couples, Dr. Robert and Lisa Firestone found to be vital to maintaining truly loving.
Affectionate behaviors like touching, holding, kissing, or hugging help to provide us with a sense of loving safety, and trigger the limbic system to release vasopressin, which helps us to form bonds, and oxytocin (“the love hormone”), which combats stress, promotes feelings of closeness with others and helps to soothe us. Bonding during infancy is not only important for our survival; it provides us with the safety, comfort, and security we need when we are stressed or in danger, and protects our physical and psychological well-being. Humans are not the only ones who are affectionate toward one another for the purposes of love and forming bonds. Tenderness can be seen among other mammals that form bonds with one another and display affectionate behaviors, like nuzzling in horses or kissing and hugging in chimpanzees.
The different types of love, Maternal love is only one type of love that we experience in our lives. Psychologist Robert Sternberg proposed that different types of love involve different amounts of intimacy (trust, warmth, and closeness), passion, and commitment. In his triangular theory of love, he outlined seven main types of love:-
Friendship:- warmth and closeness to another person (intimacy), but no intense passion or long-term commitment.
Infatuation:- “love at first sight” (passion), but lack of intimacy and commitment (infatuated love can disappear suddenly)
Empty love:- commitment exists, but the relationship lacks intimacy and passion.
Romantic love:- intimacy and passion exist, but not commitment.
Companionate love:- intimacy and commitment exist, but the relationship lacks passion. Fatuous love: - commitment motivated primarily by passion and lacks.
Consummate love:- the “ideal” relationship that involves all three elements (intimacy, passion, and commitment).
As relationships evolve, different types of love may be present at different stages. Many of the love types tend to overlap, with some couples having companionship and lust, but not all of the time. In other words, there are many more than seven types of love, especially when taking into account that humans are driven by a biological need to procreate (lust). In romantic love, passion is more enduring, meaningful, and cerebral than lust.
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