Theory of dating
): When you combine the fire of passionate infatuation and the bonds of commitment but don’t intimately who the other person is, you get fatuous love.
Whirlwind celebrity marriages and the clichéd quickie Vegas wedding can often be described as fatuous love, as can any ardent, committed connection built without much substance behind it.
Advances in neuroscience have helped us visualize our physical reactions to the feeling we call love, while philosophers and psychologists have helped us hammer out what we mean emotionally when say we love. Renowned psychologist Robert J Sternberg first put forward his Triangular Theory of Love in 1985.
Based off of his psychological research at Yale University, this theory seeks to define different elements of interpersonal relationships and to illustrate how these can combine to form the seven types of the thing we call love. It starts with the three main components that Sternberg says lie at the heart of most human relationships: passion, commitment, and intimacy.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these setups, of course.
Often, a long-term relationship that has lost all passion and intimacy will hover in this ‘empty love’ stage before ending, but as Sternberg points out, love can begin here too: in an arranged marriage, for instance, the commitment often comes first.It is certainly a great component to have in romantic relationships, but on its own, without passion or commitment, it’s more likely to result in friendship – or, as the Triangular Theory of Love puts it, liking.Thirdly we have commitment, the active steps taken to preserve a relationship.According to Sternberg, this isn't a death knell for love - in fact, this mellow phase is a common part of relationship progression.
The six types of love above can be seen at the heart of many different types of relationships, from platonic friendships to whirlwind love affairs.And then there’s consummate love, which is the combination of all three components.