How do you like: define your kind of love

How do you like: define your kind of love

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"I met with Max for a month, when witnessed a terrible car accident - says 30-year-old Olga, Marketing Manager. - I tried to calm one of the drivers and thus clearly understood that the only person who could help in this situation, was my new friend. " This awareness was very important to her. "I realized that Max and feel safe. Despite the fact that we are still not well known to each other, he has become my main support and protection. That day I realized that I loved him. "

Scientists are trying to explain the emergence of feelings of love by chemical reactions that occur in our brain. Studies show that love reduces the levels of serotonin, which leads to a feeling of "love yearning", while the level of the stress hormone cortisol causes increases, and we always feel anxiety and excitement. It also inhibits our ability to rely on the opinions of others, which leads to unpredictable consequences.

However, outside of scientific laboratories understanding of the true nature of love it does not seem so obvious. Psychologist Robert Sternberg (Robert Sternberg), one of those who has been studying this field, believes that "love plays such a huge role in our lives, do not study it - it's like not to notice the obvious" 1. I agree psychologist John Van Epp (John Van Epp) with him. According to him, "people tend to perceive love as something irrational, but to study it with the position of psychology helps to perceive the feeling as something uncontrollable" 2.

A good pair?

When talking about the relationship between people, it is necessary to take into account the two pitfalls: the way we see our relationship and what is our ideal. According to Robert Sternberg, the situation is the most difficult because we often do not realize how really looks like what we have. Through his research, he asked people to tell about it, and most answers incorrectly. "Many insisted, for example, they tend to close, but their relationship showed very different priorities - he says. - In order to be better suited to one another, we must first understand their relationship. "

Robert Sternberg identified eight types of love, each of which is determined by the relationship between the three components of love.

Very often the partners are incongruous types of love, and they do not even suspect, because, meeting for the first time, we usually pay attention to what unites us, rather than the differences. Later, the pair notice emerging problems that never seem to be resolved, despite the persistence of the strengths of the relationship.

When 42-year-old Joe and 37-year-old Karina met, their relationship was filled with passion. They felt a strong physical attraction to each other and, therefore, considered themselves to be kindred spirits. The fact that they have different views on the continuation of the relationship, it was a surprise for them. They went on vacation to the islands, where Eugene Karine made an offer, and she took it as the highest expression of love - it was what she wanted. But for Jenny it was just a romantic gesture. "He did not take marriage as a manifestation of this affection - now Kareena is well aware of this. - When we got home, the question of the marriage ceremony and did not go. Jack simply acting under the spur of the moment. "

What looks like your love?

Robert Sternberg identifies several types of love.


  1. Not love. Lack of love.
  2. Sympathy - love based on proximity without passion and attachment
  3. The mad passion: love at first sight, which may disappear if it is not supported by the closeness or affection, most men experience it.
  4. The void when intimacy and passion die, love becomes empty. Conversely, a marriage made on the calculation can start with an empty love, but in time to take a different form.
  5. Romance: emotional and physical connection. Such a feeling is typical for a honeymoon. Your partner seems to you perfection itself, and you still have a long time to form in his affection.
  6. Companionship: they usually experience in marriage, when the passion has passed, but there was a tenderness and affection, it is the love that we feel toward our family members.
  7. Senseless love: it is based mainly lies a passion, we can see examples of it in the lives of celebrities, whose whirlwind romance leads to hasty marriages ending in a few months.
  8. The perfect love: the highest form of love, according to Robert Sternberg, do not occur too often. In order for it to achieve and maintain, requires more effort.

The three sides of the same feelings of

"When I was younger, I was looking for an uncontrolled and violent relationships, - says 38-year-old Nastya. - But things have changed completely when I met my future husband. We talked a lot about our plans for the future, about what to expect from both of life and of each other. Love became my reality, not romantic fantasies. " If we can love the head and heart, we have a better chance that the relationship will continue. "When you couple the problems begin, they can revive the" feeling of love ", if you understand what is at stake - Van Epp said. - Awareness of the components of which is formed by love enables us to understand that we are connected with the other person, and to make this relationship more significant. "

Triangle Sternberg

Robert Sternberg's theory makes it possible to describe and classify the way we love and visit loved. He identified three major components of love: intimacy, passion and affection - the three vertices of a triangle sense. The proximity means a sense of mutual understanding between two people, the passion - the feeling generated by physical attraction and sex, and affection - the desire to make a long-term relationship. If you can appreciate the love from the point of view of these objective criteria, it will be able to understand that delays the development of your relationship and what you need to do for their recess. In overcoming all obstacles to the development of relations and the achievement of perfect love is most important is not the feelings, and actions. You can, for example, argue that having passion, but what does that prove? He says: "I have a friend whose wife was seriously ill. He constantly talks about how much in love with her, but almost never with her. You should exercise your sense, and not just to express it. "

Van Epp advised to meet regularly with a partner to discuss the existing relations and quickly identify potential problems. He also offers to set aside time for quiet meetings - for example, one hour per month, - the fact to discuss important issues - do not show whether your relationship has some negative? How do you feel about each other? How you approach each other? This meeting becomes a test of feeling in the real world, gives you both the opportunity to adjust their triangles to each other and make the relationship more viable. "Do I know couples who carry out such regular meetings, as far as I know, there are practically no problems - says Van Epp, - as they quickly correct all potential difficulties." They have learned to love the head and the heart. Eugene and Karina visited family therapist, trying to sort out their differences. "It seems to be not what you want to do when you're engaged, - says Karina. - But when the day came to our wedding, it was especially important for us, as we are well pondered every word. Our relationship is still full of passion. And now I also know it's a long time. "

Draw a triangle

Please rate the answer to each question on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) and calculate the results. It will mean the length of each side of your triangle.

1. The proximity of

  • I tell the partner all the details of his life
  • I'm getting an important emotional support from him
  • I find it easy to communicate with my partner
  • I feel that I can really trust him
  • I feel that he really understands me

2. Passion

  • I often think about it during the day
  • Our relationship is very romantic
  • I can not imagine that someone could make me happier
  • Our relationship filled with passion
  • I would not want to be with anyone else

3. The attachment

  • I am confident in the strength of my relationships
  • I am so attached to him that between us, no one can stand
  • I hope that I will love him until the end of his life
  • I will always feel a great responsibility for him
  • I'm going to maintain and further our relationships

What does your triangle says about you?

The dimensions of your triangle show the magnitude of your love, and its shape - balance feeling. Equilateral triangle speaks of perfect love, the different sides of the predominance in our feelings of a particular component. If your partner's love triangle is not completely the same as yours, it's not so important. The main thing is to determine which component needs to improve relations.

1 The author of the book "The New Psychology of Love" ( "The New Psychology of Love", Yale University Press, 2008).

2 Author of "How not to fall in love with the bastard" ( "How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk", McGraw-Hill, 2008).