Many are the authors who, over time, have tried to describe love without fully agreeing. And it is that love is not easy to define because it is a complex phenomenon and many facets that, moreover, are experienced in a variety of very different relationships with each other.
Love is not simply that someone likes you more than others, but a different feeling.
For example, when you like someone you answer affirmatively to phrases like “is the kind of person I would like to be”, whereas when you love someone you identify more with phrases like “if I could not see this person again I would feel very unhappy “, Or” I think I can trust this person with practically everything “, which would indicate a high level of emotional intimacy with someone. Therefore, in love there is a strong feeling of attachment to the beloved and a high degree of emotional intimacy.
When questionnaires about love are used, both men and women respond in very similar ways, which indicates that both sexes live love in similar ways.
The components of love
Years ago, the psychologist Robert Stenberg described what were the three fundamental components of love in a relationship. According to one, two or all three components, we will have different types of relationships.
Let’s see what the three components of love are:
- Privacy Intimacy is that feeling of connection, union and emotional closeness with someone, it is what makes you trust fully in a person, tell him anything about you and your life and let him see you as you are.
Intimacy is emerging little by little, as you get to know each other and you will share confidences, experiences and dreams.
For intimacy to arise you need to trust that person enough to open up and talk about you and the most intimate aspects of your life, your hopes, your fears, your joys, your desires or the things that are important to you . Intimacy is the main basis of lasting love. Since intimacy develops little by little and requires some effort, not all people are prepared for it. Some people are afraid to open up to others, perhaps because they have been hurt in previous relationships, and this prevents the intimacy and feeling of emotional connection from developing with the other person, so that the relationship does not advance.
- Passion. Passion refers to the physical attraction and sexual desire you feel for a person. It emerges quickly and is usually the first thing that appears when you meet someone. It is an intense emotion that pushes you towards that person, to want to spend time with her and to know her more. Its intensity tends to fade over time.
- Commitment. It refers to the desire to love that person through time and to remain by their side. It is what leads two people to marry or live together. Commitment means being willing to remain in that relationship despite the difficulties that may arise, doing everything possible to solve problems and properly handle disagreements and misunderstandings.
The commitment requires maturity involves being willing to see the best of the other person and work together to make the relationship work for both the most beneficial way. Commitment does not mean that you have to agree on everything, but that you respect your differences and know how to reach agreements when necessary. People who have a strong commitment remain together over the years, despite the changes that time brings, such as the loss of physical attractiveness, old age or illness.
The phases of the development of love
Phase 1. Passionate love. The three components mentioned above are not always given together. At the beginning of a relationship, when the two people still do not know each other, it is likely that there is only one component: passion.
Both can feel tremendously in love but there has not yet been time for real intimacy to develop or they know each other enough to know if they want to establish a commitment. Although this passionate love can be very intense, it is not the one that best predicts the future of the relationship. For example, a couple who decide to marry too soon, based only on intense passion, can end up broken when the passion weakens and they discover that there is nothing else between them.
Phase 2. Romantic love. As time goes by, one of the most important components of love can develop: intimacy. This feeling of intimacy arises more slowly, as they get to know each other and trust each other more and more. In this way, a mixture of intimacy and passion emerges that is called romantic love.
Phase 3. Completed love. The next phase is often called consummate love and occurs when the third component of love also appears: commitment, which pushes both members of the couple to remain united over time, to plan a future together, to consider them a family and want to share their lives, live together or get married.
Over time, the passion that predominated at the beginning of the relationship is gradually weakening to the point where it can disappear, so that the couple needs to work hard and act, using their imagination and creativity, if they want to keep that relationship alive. Passion, because if they do not do anything, the natural tendency is to go off little by little. When this happens and the passion fades, a different type of love can arise in which there are only two of the basic components of love: intimacy and commitment. However, this can also be a love intense and rewarding enough to hold a couple together over time.
The different types of love according to their components
- When there is only passion but not the other two components, we have only one relationship that is based exclusively on sexual attraction.
- The mixture of passion and intimacy gives rise to romantic love, which can be quite satisfactory but not lasting because of the lack of commitment.
- The mixture of passion and commitment, without intimacy, gives rise to a deceptive love, which is not real because you do not really know the other person, but rather you are imagining it. When there is commitment without intimacy, it means that you have committed yourself based on a fantasy that, quite possibly, will end up disappointing you when you finally meet the real person.
- When there is only commitment and none of the other two components, there is an empty love, which cannot really be called love, but rather is a marriage of convenience.
- When all three components exist, it is considered that there is full love.