The Four Main Types of Love

This post is dedicated to Andreana Brittany Nelson.

I mentioned in my “Love vs Friendship” post that I would write about chemical love, but I think it’s better if I first talk about the different types of love and how they work in our lives.

The first love, which is Agape love (the true definition of altruism), is an unconditional type of love that sees past the surface and accepts people for who they are in spite of their flaws, faults, and shortcomings. It’s the kind of love that we all strive to have for our fellow human being…the kind of love that (if you believe in) God instructs us to have for all mankind – the one where we might not like someone too much, yet we choose to love them as a human being, even though at times it’s hard to love this person. It is about sacrifice, it is about giving and not expecting anything in return. Agape love is the translation of the word love as a verb: it is love put into action by our BEHAVIOR towards each other, and is a chosen, committed kind of love.

The second kind of love, Phileo love, is an affectionate, tender, and warm kind of platonic love. It is the kind of love that makes us want to be friends with someone. It’s the love that makes Agape love very easy to do. We can have agape love for our enemies, but we probably won’t have phileo love for them. Phileo love is the translation of the word love as a noun: it is how we FEEL about someone. It is also a chosen, committed kind of love.

The third kind of love is Storge, a familial and friendship based love. The natural love a parent has for their child, the love that family members have for one another that is often taken for granted, the love friends have for each other; these kinds of friendships can, at times, turn into romantic relationships, and the couples in these relationships become best friends. It is unconditional, accepts flaws, and usually and eventually allows us to forgive. It is a committed and sometimes sacrificial type of love. The kind of love that makes us feel comfortable, safe, and secure.

The fourth kind of love is called Eros. This is the passionate and intense desire kind of love that causes romantic feelings; the kind that creates that “high” you feel in the beginning of a relationship. It is basically a sexual and emotional love. It’s what makes one say, “I’m inlove.” While this kind of romantic love is necessary in the beginning stages of a relationship, Eros love cannot survive unless it moves to a higher level of love because this is a love that is more concerned with the self rather than the other person; when the person “inlove” no longer feels good about their partner or the relationship, they “fall out of love”, but they never really loved the person in the first place.

There are a few other kinds of love, such as Ludus, Mania, and Pragma. Ludus love tries to gain control of a partner through the art of manipulation. Ludus lovers are players; they lie, cheat, and deceive. Mania is impulsive, needy, and jealous; most people who love in this way have low self esteem. Mania lovers fall inlove quickly. Pragma love is a practical kind of love; relationships are about what makes sense and partners are chosen in a style similar to a shopping “checklist”. I personally think that people who seek this kind of love are narcissists (that is NOT a proven scientific fact, just my own opinion). I did not get too much into these types because I find them to be emotionally unhealthy.

This should give a general understanding of the different kinds of love that foster a good, healthy, growth stimulating, and progressive relationship. I personally believe that in relationships, we need to have all four loves going on at the same time for it to survive long-term; they all work together. For example, when you are fighting/arguing with your partner, you may not FEEL Phileo or Eros love, but you can always PRACTICE Agape love to get you through those times…having Storge (sacrificial/committed) love works right alongside with Agape (chosen/committed) loving. I believe in these four kinds of love, and therefore believe that chemical love/pure romantic love feelings are usually toxic. That will be my next post.


6 Responses to “The Four Main Types of Love”

  1. deep–and timely. (yep!) now i’m at the edge of my seat waiting for this NEXT post…

  2. Very thought provoking and interesting Sophia.

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