Among the many studies on the elements of love, the most important theoretical achievement came from Robert Sternberg, a psychologist at Yale University, who was a pioneer in this emerging field of research. He argued that although human love is complex and varied, it basically consists of three main components, namely passion, intimacy and commitment. Stenberg gives a clear interpretation of each of these components and uses a triangle to represent the structure of love.
The three sides of the triangle represent the three components of love, and the three together form a complete love. This triangle model is one of the most remarkable theories of love to date, and it can well describe and explain the many and varied forms of love in the human world.
The Love Triangle – Passion, Intimacy, and Commitment to Passion
“Passion” (passion) is a refreshing emotion that pushes lovers toward romance, which comes from human hormones and is characterized by physical impulses and strong desires of the flesh. Passion is often aroused by a person’s desire for sex, but also, of course, by the desire to get other strong psychological needs met from the other person or to express passionate emotions and feelings for the lover. Passion is a response on the physiological level of the person, which plays a motivational role in love and belongs to the motivational part.
In many cases, a lover motivated by passion will show a strong possessiveness and may even develop an almost selfish addiction. As we often see, in the early stages of a relationship, couples can become overly possessive of each other, even to the point where they cannot stand to be apart from each other. At this stage, any other relationship is unimportant to both parties. Stenberg explains that lovers must first experience an ever-increasing outward attraction to each other, but after this period, if well developed, their passion and elation will transform into mature love. Before entering intimacy, pure passion often manifests itself as self-centeredness.
“Intimacy” (intimacy) consists mainly of psychological phenomena such as passion, understanding, communication, honesty, support and sharing, and is the emotional part of love. With intimacy, two people become “best friends” and “soul mates”, willing to share their inner secrets with each other and deeply desiring each other’s closeness. This intimate relationship can bring great strength and comfort to men and women in love, so that they have more faith and motivation for love, to cultivate a more gorgeous love flowers. A heart looks forward to exchanging another heart, and intimacy can lead to the realization of this important exchange. Conversely, if there is no intimacy between two people, the flower of love will wither or even dry up. Satisfaction in love is most directly related to intimacy, and the lack of intimacy is the number one killer of love and marriage. In the absence of intimacy, even if the two parties have developed passion or have lived together, they cannot understand each other deeply and cannot really integrate together, making people still feel lonely and isolated.
“Commitment” is the cognitive part of love and has two meanings: the decision to commit oneself to an emotion (to love someone); and the effort to love and maintain that emotion. If two people in love have a commitment to each other, they take on the responsibility and obligation of love, face the unseen future, and love each other steadfastly until the end of their lives. To make an analogy, commitment is like a small island in a turbulent river. No matter what kind of water, what kind of difficulties and tests love or marriage encounters, there is a safe harbor to escape. Numerous success stories prove to us that long-lasting love and healthy marriages are built on mutual commitment. With love, those who hold a commitment must say something like, “I love you for who you are, not for what you do or how I feel.” But without commitment and responsibility, love is weak and overwhelming, collapsing fully when struck, and the intimacy and passion of yesteryear is gone.
The seven types of love
The three components of the love triad – passion, intimacy, and commitment – combine to form the seven types of love.
There is only intimacy between two people. Two people who feel comfortable together, but lack passion and are not necessarily willing to stay together for life. There is no passion or commitment, as in friendship. Obviously, friendship is not love, and liking is not the same as love. However, it is possible for friendship to develop into love, although some people lose their friendship because of the failure to fall in love.
Two people who experience only passion and believe that they are strongly attracted to each other, but otherwise do not know much about each other and do not think about the future. Only passion, no intimacy and commitment, like first love. The first love is always full of passion, but less mature and stable, a kind of young love that is pulled and guided by instinct, such as love at first sight.
There is only commitment between two people. It lacks intimacy and passion, such as love purely for the purpose of marriage. This type of “love” looks rich, but lacks the necessary content, like a shaped marriage or a partnership.
There is intimacy and passion between two people, but no commitment. This “love” is about the process, not the outcome. It’s a kind of “just-in-time” love, where the lovers value the present, but what about the future?
There is intimacy and commitment between two people, but there is a lack of passion. It’s similar to empty “love”. Can you call it love without passion? This refers to a bland, watery marriage, where there are rights and obligations but no passion. This type of relationship may suffer from the seven-year itch, and the partner often has the bland feeling of “holding your hand is like my left hand pulling my right hand”.
There is only passion and commitment between two people, but no intimacy. Passion without intimacy is just a physical urge, and commitment without intimacy is just a blank check. When passion takes over the brain, people may behave impulsively without thinking. A flash marriage at first sight would be of this type.
Having all three elements at the same time, containing passion, commitment and intimacy. It is only in this type that we can see the true nature of love.
In Sternberg’s view, the six types listed above are only love-like or non-love, and are not love in essence, only the seventh type is love, and we encounter so many love-like and non-love situations in real life that we treat love with all three elements at the same time as a surreal ideal.
None of the three elements are present. Passion, intimacy and commitment together constitute love, and the absence of any one of these elements cannot be called love, just as three points establish a plane, and without any one of them, the only plane does not exist.
Love is the eternal topic of human beings, but how many people can really harvest perfect love? It is because of the incessant pursuit of good things that we have the opportunity to obtain that precious gift. Check your own status, which one does your love belong to What kind of love do you have?
(1) The love triad proposed by Yale professor Robert Sternberg gives a formula for love: perfect love = intimacy + passion + commitment.
(2) Passion is mostly accompanied by strong physical and psychological reactions and is the most unstable compared to the other two elements; intimacy is in the middle; and commitment is the most stable as it is a rational decision. Each of the three elements is different, and different combinations of them give rise to different kinds of love: like love, infatuation love, hollow love, romantic love, companionship love, stupid love, perfect love, and no love.
(3) You can draw an ideal love triangle radar chart with your lover and put it together for comparison. The more the two triangles overlap, the better your relationship is; and when the triangles deviate more widely, you need to look at the issues on which you disagree. Find each other’s differences, and communicate and adjust.
— EOF —