Psychologists Define 7 Types of Love, but Warn That Few Will Experience Them All

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As a species, human beings aren’t usually too keen on spending their days and years alone — most people are looking for some type of love, but don’t often know why they’re compelled to.

Thankfully, for decades psychologists and other scientists have been researching what exactly love means and what kinds are out there.

In the 1980s, psychologist Robert Sternberg developed a 3-component theory that includes emotional intimacy, passion and commitment; he believed those 3 points are necessary for the “feeling” of falling in love.

Later, he used his theory to define 7 different types of love – though psychologists agree that the last one he outlined is so rare that most people will never experience it.

#7. Infatuation

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Ah, those fleeting moments when you’re super attracted to each other, but it’s mainly about the pheromones. Many romances begin this way, but if they don’t mature into something with deeper roots, they can fade away as quickly as they developed.

#6. Liking

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If you’re in love with someone you also happen to like, you’re usually comfortable being yourself around them. The two of you have common interests and views on life, and psychologists agree this type of relationship, when devoid of intimacy and passion, usually results in friendship.

#5. Empty love

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Couples who are committed but lack intimacy and passion sometimes find themselves in this type of love. It typically develops after an intense period of infatuation – but all is not lost! It can change if something stirs their passion and/or commitment to each other.

#4. Fatuous love

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If you’ve got commitment and passion, you may be willing to buy rings and walk down an aisle, but that doesn’t mean you’ve achieved a high level of intimacy, necessarily. These couples don’t necessarily look at each other as friends, even after they’ve lived together for a long time.

#3. Romantic love

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Here you’ve got passion and intimacy in spades, but aren’t necessarily ready to make serious commitments. You enjoy each other, but probably aren’t living together or thinking about marriage.

#2. Companionate

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This type of love consists of commitment, intimacy, and friendship — which sounds pretty great, if you ask me. But while the partners are attached, their love lacks passion and can be typical of long-lasting marriages, or friendships that last a lifetime.

#1. Consummate love

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This is the love trifecta of passion, emotional intimacy and commitment. It’s very rare, but the people who develop all three are likely to not only live long lives together, but actually enjoy every decade of marriage.

So which love bucket does your relationship fall into?