10 Different Types Of Love In Relationships & Their Indicators

Explore the forms of love you can feel, be it naïve infatuation or absolute selflessness.

By Harini Natarajan, Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner

Love is a complicated emotion, and who does not try to put this wonderful feeling into words in their sweet way. It holds different meanings and makes us all warm inside. However, love is classified into different types depending on how everyone receives it. These types help you understand what kind of bond you are sharing with others, the kind of love you are experiencing, and your compatibility with your partner, especially in romantic relationships. In this article, we have discussed types of love and their indicators. Scroll down to check out what they are.

Types Of Love + Their Indicators

Passion, intimacy, and commitment are the three cornerstones of love. The interaction and equation between these components determine the kind of love you feel. Here are some broad categories of love and signs that you are feeling it:

1. Infatuation

Infatuation is a type of love

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Infatuation is a short-term burst of intense attraction and passion towards a person. Ill-informed and imaginary projections about the other person and where your relationship will be down the line are usually the basis of infatuation. Infatuated feelings make you feel dreamy about a person and paint a perfect image of them. Good examples of infatuation are the early phases of a new relationship, sexual connections (no-strings-attached relationships), and crushes.

Here are some signs that hint at infatuated love:

  • Thoughts of that individual consume your mind.
  • You tend to admire superficial traits and overlook all the possible red flags.
  • When infatuated, you try to go beyond your comfort zone to please the other person.
  • Infatuation is filled with obsessive feelings and controlling tendencies.
  • The progression towards forming a connection and developing feelings about a person is fast and quick.
  • Even if your interests and compatibility are in question, it doesn’t bother you much.
  • You try to grow over the person.

2. Empty Love

Empty love

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Relationships with empty love are bound by commitment. Unlike passionate lovers, empty lovers don’t make emotional intimacy and passion a priority. Though passion and intimacy die, the commitment remains.

Empty relationships can either come at the end of a passionate relationship or may be a product of your hesitation to develop passion and intimacy in a blooming relationship. Empty love does have the ability to spring into passionate love if you open up to your partner and give it some time.

Some indicators of empty love are:

  • Love indicators, such as passion and intimacy, which lead to satisfaction and better fulfillment, are absent in this type of love.
  • Obligations and responsibilities sustain the bond.
  • You don’t feel physical attraction towards your partner.
  • Spending quality time with your partner seems like a task rather than something you enjoy.
  • Meeting common interests and the same level of enthusiasm seems far-fetched.
  • Communication is no more the key to your relationship; it is highly stunted.

3. Self-Love (Philautia)

Self-love or philautia

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Love is not always a two-way street; it is also about loving, appreciating, and accepting oneself. Self-love is a process. Here are a few ways to kindle and benefit from self-love:

  • Adopting Mindfulness: People who love themselves are aware and conscious about how they feel and think. Also, they can clearly define what they need and want.
  • Self-Nourishment: Self-love pushes people towards a self-nurturing and independent lifestyle. You should maintain a healthy balance of proper diet, exercise, sleep, and social life.
  • Setting Boundaries: People who truly and deeply understand self-love emphasize the importance of setting boundaries. It involves rejecting the idea of anything that causes any physical, emotional stress.
  • Forgiveness: We are often harsh on ourselves for tiny mistakes and errors. However, engaging in such behavior only promotes self-loathing and self-deprecation. It is, thus, better to be kind to ourselves and treat every opportunity or failure as a stepping stone to success. In the end, we must all understand that our hearts need acts of forgiveness and love.

4. Selfless Love (Agape)

Selfless love or agape

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Selfless love is the art of giving and offering love without expecting anything in return. Feeling selfless at heart is the ultimate, purest, and highest form of love. People who radiate such kind of love hold virtues like kindness and compassion towards everyone. To be selfless is to speak the language of true love. A living example of selfless love would be our mothers.

Some striking traits of people who love selflessly are:

  • You help your partner to achieve their goals and reach their true potential.
  • You don’t hold grudges and resentment.
  • Your expectations have a low benchmark.
  • You prefer listening over making any unwanted assumptions.
  • Compromises bring happiness rather than frustration to you.
  • You put other people’s well-being above your own.

5. Romantic Love (Eros)

Romantic love or eros

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Strong feelings of love, intimacy, and passion drive romantic lovers. People who bond over romantic love are both physically and emotionally invested in each other. Surprisingly, even though the couple enjoys fierce passion and close intimacy, they lack commitment.

Romantic love flourishes during the initial phase of dating. Separation and detachment are easy in such bonds as there is no allegiance to the partner.

Here are some ways to detect that you have romantic feelings for someone:

  • You use more skinship in the relationship.
  • You can’t get enough of being with your partner.
  • Kissing, cuddling, and getting intimate is what you do most of the time.
  • There’s a strong affection for your partner.

6. Playful Love (Ludus)

Playful love or ludus

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As evident from the name, playful love is all about flirting and having a good time with your partner. Usually, couples get playful by teasing each other, flirting openly, making the partner feel euphoric, and getting their heart to flutter. Playfulness is a love language that helps the relationship to bud and blossom into something fruitful.

A few ways to know you are high on the playfulness meter:

  • Dates are a frequent occurrence.
  • You indulge in touching and flirting.
  • Spending quality and a good time are high on your agenda.

7. Affectionate Love (Philia)

Affectionate love or philia

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Platonic or affectionate love exists among friends and family members. This form of love is not linked to any sexual connection. Loyalty and respect drive such relationships.

Here’s how platonic manner manifests in relationships:

  • You support your friends and family members when they are in crisis.
  • You engage in open dialogue and communication.
  • Trust and faith are fragile. So, you try not to betray someone’s belief in you and break their trust.
  • Being truthful is appreciated.

8. Familial Love (Storge)

Familial love or storge

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Storge is a love connection seen in bonds like parents, children, and best friends. Though it has a close resemblance to philia, this type of love runs in close-knit families and deepest of friendships. Unconditional love, deeper connections, and acceptance form the foundation of such relationships.

Here’s how you can gauge the presence of familial love:

  • Forgiveness comes easy to you.
  • You are full of gratitude and gratefulness towards the other person.
  • There’s a commitment to build a healthy relationship.
  • You keep strengthening the bond by creating memorable and impactful moments.

9. Long-Lasting Love (Pragma)

Long-lasting love or pragma

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A love that reaches the stage of pragma has witnessed years of companionship, bonding, and experiences that promote a healthy and positive bond between the couple. It is backed by affection, commitment, and continuous efforts towards the relationship. A partnership built on such a dynamic brings out feelings of content, love, support, acceptance, and care.

Here are some ways to know that you have built a relationship on long-lasting love:

  • Effort plays an important role. You make a conscious effort to strengthen your bond and show your partner that they are loved and valued.
  • Any adversities or hurdles in the relationship are worked out together.
  • There’s a commitment to building a healthy relationship.

10. Obsessive Love (Mania)

Obsessive love or mania

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Obsessive love or mania is loving someone while overlooking boundaries. In simple words, it is to love someone so much that it reaches a point of saturation. Typically, obsession-linked relationships are characterized by constant reassurances of love, looking for a safety net from the partner, unhealthy attachment patterns, and possessiveness. It results in sowing the seeds of co-dependency and an unhealthy one-sided relationship.

The following are some ways to tell if obsession is a factor in your relationship:

  • There’s a need to track and monitor every movement and action of the partner.
  • You love the idea of controlling how they feel, think, and act.
  • There’s a lack of emotional maturity.
  • Unlike other relationships, obsessive relationships can’t strike the give-and-take balance.
  • You feel threatened when your partner is out of your radar or space.

Love works in combinations. Different types of love can come together to build exciting experiences that leave a lasting impression. In many connections and interactions, you can feel different kinds of love at the same time. While love doesn’t follow a rule book, understanding such combinations can help you strengthen your relations and improve your love language.

Types Of Love That Form Different Relationships

Different types of love that form different relationships

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  • Platonic/Friendly Relationships: The combination love code for friendship is affectionate love, self-love, and familial love.
  • Romantic Relationships: The combination love code for a romantic relationship is enduring love, playful love, and romantic love.
  • Familial Relationships: The combination love code for a family is familial love, selfless love, and affectionate love.

Love is a wonderful feeling that makes us feel warm inside and holds different meanings for everyone. The interaction between passion, love, and intimacy determines the type of love you share with someone. We all experience the different types of love in our lives, be it infatuation, romantic, or playful love. We also experience deep love for our family, friends, and sometimes the dark sides of obsessive love. Love does not follow any rules and understanding the different types of love can help understand and strengthen the relationships you share with the people in your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Sternberg’s 7 types of love?

According to Robert Sternberg, the 7 types of love are friendship, infatuation, empty love, romantic love, compassionate love, fatuous love, and consummate love. These are based on three components of love – intimacy, passion, and commitment.

What are the levels of love?

The most common levels of love are liking a person, attraction, intimacy, and increasing commitment.

Key Takeaways

  • Passion, intimacy, and commitment will define the kind of love you feel.
  • Self-love makes you emotionally independent and healthy.
  • Remember, one-sided relationships are unhealthy and become toxic eventually.

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