Understanding human sexuality involves explaining the different components of love and relationships. Love can be expressed through emotions, understanding, and commitment between different individuals or groups of people. Various components of love can be used to explain the kinds of love that exist in the social, religious, or cultural environments. Although love is a complex component, understanding its various constituents including commitment and the triangle, helps in explaining its ability to influence human life.
Love, commitment, and intimacy are all components that make up the relationships between different people. Love encompasses a wide range of positive emotional states arising from kinship or having close personal bonds. Commitment refers to the decision of being loyal, giving promise, and having a strong belief to accomplish or support the performance of any task. Additionally, intimacy relates to close friendship or familiarity between individuals, such as friends, families, and colleagues.
Sternberg’s Triangular theory of love explains love using three terms, which are intimacy, passion, and commitment/decision. Intimacy refers to the feelings of bonding and connectedness and the emotions that lead to experiencing the warmth of being at ease with another person (Yarber et al., 2016). On the other hand, passion refers to a strong feeling that leads to physical attraction, romance, and sexual consummation and other arousal forms that one experiences in a love relationship. Commitment refers to the decision one makes to be loyal or having a healthy attitude to support someone and maintain a relationship. The triangle is used metaphorically to explain the mentioned components of love as one component that can lead to another or both components.
The three components of love, when combined in different ways, generate eight different kinds of love. These kinds of love include non-love, infatuation, empty love, romantic love, liking, compassionate, fatuous, and consummate love. Non-love refers to the absence of the three elements of love leading to no connection of love in a relationship. Infatuation refers to passion without intimacy and commitment in a relationship, empty love is the decision to be committed to a person without intimacy or passion component. Romantic love involves the combination of passion and intimacy components of love. Additionally, liking love involves only the intimacy component without commitment and passion components (Sorokowski et al., 2017). Compassionate love refers to a combination of intimacy and commitment without passion. Fatuous love results from a combination of commitment and passion without intimacy, whereas consummate love involves a complete love combing all the three components of love.
Differences in the amount of love in a relationship represent the different areas of the love triangle. More love yields to a greater area of the love triangle. Additionally, variance in the balance of the components of love is represented by the distinct triangle shapes. The theory of love and the geometry of love are valid in explaining the importance of different components of love. Passion, commitment, and intimacy cannot be used extensively to describe love in relationships, as the elements may depend on the different conceptions of love. On the contrary, these elements are acquired from the experience of other people or reading from stories of people in the media (Brannan et al., 2018). Additionally, the models of relationships between people depend on the culture of love exhibited in the present environment.
Different types of love exist, and they include agape, erotic, affectionate, familiar, playful, obsessive, enduring, and self-love with each type having distinct features. Agape love refers to a selfless, kind, and unconditional love that is free from desires of love, notwithstanding the shortcoming of others. Erotic love involves passionate, physical, and romantic love and is associated with lust and sexual intimacies. Additionally, people fear this love as it leads to obsession and infatuation of selfish personal pleasures (Lomas, 2018). Affectionate love involves friendship without sexual acts and often exists between people considered as equals. Familiar love involves a strong kinship and familiarity bond between individuals. Playful love consists of the infatuation feelings of love and the physical presence of the person for which one feels this love excites the body. Obsessive love involves the strong, uncontrollable, and possessive feelings of being desperately connected to another person or object. Enduring love, on the other hand, refers to a love that has matured, aged, and developed over time. Finally, self-love refers to the love of caring for and showing affection to oneself without being self-obsessed and jealous.
Drawing our love triangle provided a chance for my partner and I to evaluate our love relationship. We assessed the components of love and we compared against each other’s finding to determine the kind of love we have. We matched our triangles and came up with an equilateral triangle based on our religious, cultural, and economic environment. Balancing these elements has led us to build a consummate love and ensure to support each other’s dreams, hence develop a lasting love.
Sternberg’s triangle theory of love explains the different components of love and how they give rise to different types of relationships. These components are used to describe basic kinds of love and types of love relationships. Additionally, the theory enables individuals to analyze their love and determine ways to improve their relationships.
Brannan, D., & Mohr, C. D. (2018). 7.5: Love, Friendship, and Social Support.
Lomas, T. (2018). The flavours of love: A cross‐cultural lexical analysis. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 48(1), 134-152.
Sorokowski, P., Sorokowska, A., Butovskaya, M., Karwowski, M., Groyecka, A., Wojciszke, B., & Pawłowski, B. (2017). Love influences reproductive success in humans. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 1922.
Yarber, W. L., & Sayad, B. W. (2016). Human sexuality: Diversity in contemporary America (9th Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education. (ISBN: 0077861949, 780077861940