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Robert Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love

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  • Pages: 4
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  • Category: Love

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In 1986, a psychologist Robert Sternberg proposed the triangular theory of love. This theory explains the topic of love in an interpersonal relationship. The three components of love according to the theory are intimacy, passion, and commitment. Different stages and types of love can be explained as different combinations of these three elements develop.

Let’s define each of the components of love. Intimacy is the feeling of attachment, closeness, typified by sharing secrets, etc. Passion is the feeling of sexual and romantic attraction. Lastly, commitment is the willingness in the short-term to create and maintain a relationship and long-term plans to sustain the relationship. According to Robert Sternberg’s view, the perfect relationship contains all three of the components. Each combination of these components ends up with different kinds of characteristics and results.

There are eight possible combinations of these components. First, non-love, this refers to the absence of all three components of love. Next, is liking, it refers to the set of feelings one experiences in relationships that can truly be characterized as friendship. Thirdly, infatuated love, results from the experiencing of passionate arousal in the absence of intimacy and commitment. Fourthly, empty love, is characterized by commitment without intimacy or passion. Fifthly, romantic love, from a combination of the intimate and passionate components of love.

Sixthly, is intimate, it is a non-passionate type of love that is stronger and deeper than friendship due to the long-term commitment. Secondly to the last is fatuous. It is characterized like a tornado or whirlwind of marriage and courting. Lastly and most sweetly, consummate love, it is considered as the best form of relationship. Consummate love has all of the three components. The author cautions and stresses the importance of maintaining consummate love, for maintaining is may be harder than achieving it. Also, he stresses that even the greatest love can die, for if intimacy is lost due to the changing tides of time, it may lead to companionate love.


San Jose, Pyar S. 1EMT
Philosophy II PHL IV

Robert Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love
What is Love? (A Husband and a Wife), A Reflection . . .

I was woken up by this bright taxonomy of love forms. These made mo more think. What is love, really? My first name itself when translated from Hindi, states love. Especially in the youth of my generation, love is one of the most widely used word, gesture, motivation, and even for some, as a principle. The generation where I grew, well, mostly of them, has this perception of love: “Falling in love, expressing your love, being with someone you love, and living happily ever after.”

And the search and adventure on the word love and its components start at a very young age, as early as the range of teen hood. Obviously, for some, they are not given the proper explanation of love. As a result, they rigorously search vast explanations and experiences on what really love is. And this is why I believe why numerous teenagers today fell to the wrong path of life. And it all starts form a single question. What is love?

What is love for me? I cannot put the most exact and concise explanation of love. For me, I would like to take my most profound answer from the Bible. It will be found on first Corinthians chapter thirteen. And I quote, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” Here, love is emphasized as one of the main treasure that each and all of us have our own assigned one.

For me, the most perfect love, is when you are assured on the person to love, that your main goal from courtship is the sacrament of wedding. But the thirst, crave and long for love doesn’t stays idle in marriage. I believe that in order for the marriage to be in perfect state is not just to face obstacle, but surpass them. And I quote, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” For me, true love is relentlessly residing, supporting, enlightening, caressing, and strengthening each other and that till death tear you apart, literally. I firmly believe in that philosophy because life is so precious to just joke upon love. I’d rather patiently wait for the right moment to make it a true love than waste my time in hastening to face the thorns of regrets and fall to the wrong person. And as I end, wisely learn from these wise words:

“Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.”
-H.L. Mencken

“Love is needing someone. Love is putting up with someone’s bad qualities because they complete you.” “No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater…The love we have for each other is bigger than these small differences. And that’s the key. It’s like a big pie, and the love in a relationship has to be the biggest piece. Love can make up for a lot.”

-Sarah Dessen, This Lullaby
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
-Lao Tzu
“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.”

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