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5 Types of Love and the Theories Behind Them

A couple who have experienced many of the different types of love, embracing as the woman is pregnant and the man holds her belly.

We’re lucky enough to know many different types of love in our lives. Love is not what you feel for your partner alone, but for many people in many different contexts and experiences. Love takes many different forms and meanings for us all. And the different ways that we love can be infinite. Although there are many types of love, here we will talk about the six basic types, and how they came to be.

1. Eros Love
Named for the Greek god of love, eros is defined as the passionate type of love. This love is a sexual and physical love. It’s the love you feel when you’re with your partner and you can’t stop looking at their lips, can’t help imagining what it feels like to bring them home. Romance, passion, and physical wants take top priority with this love.

According to Freud, eros is also the life instinct. It stems from our innate need to procreate, our desire to continue life. He believed that our sexual desires all stem from our basic needs to survive, receive pleasure, and reproduce to our species can survive.

2. Storge Love
Our first understanding of storge comes from the love we share within family. It is often the first kind of love that we will ever feel and our first instance of it is the love we feel from our parents. This is a familial love. It is the love you have for your parents and siblings, when you have a family that is compassionate and caring. Storge creates deep bonds of emotional connection. Despite being a familial love, storge can extend to anyone that you consider family, anyone who treats you with compassion who you feel a deep emotional connection to.

In an even broader sense, storge is a love of unity. It is possible to feel this type of love with people who share similar beliefs or a similar upbringing. The key to storge is the feeling of connection.

3. Pragma Love
When you think about your ideal partner, do certain qualifications come to mind? Maybe you want someone in the same line of work as you or you want someone who you know will be able to provide for your kids. That’s pragma. Pragma is a need-based love, focusing more on wants and needs than of emotions.

Although it seems somewhat clinical, there are actually many benefits to being a pragmatic lover. Pragma is often considered the enduring love. That’s because pragmatic lovers have a very distinct idea of who they want to be with and they don’t settle. Once they find that ideal lover, they hold on to them. Their feelings are not fleeting or impulsive; they know how hard it was to find the right person. They can see ahead in the relationship. They chose their partner as someone who is the right fit for the long-term.

4. Ludus Love
For those who tend to not like commitment and who often leave a relationship after the honeymoon phase is over, they are likely ludus lovers. Ludus lovers love during the initial stages of a relationship. They feel a strong sense of eros, so much passion that it drives them into euphoria. But eventually, as must happen in all stable relationships, that euphoria has to end for the relationship to progress. But the ludus lover doesn’t want it to progress. They want to keep that euphoria forever.

Ludus lovers often get a bad reputation. Because they can’t commit, they live for the chase but never actually get to the relationship part. This leads them to somewhat play with their partner’s heads. They want to keep them in the euphoria state for as long as possible, but leave quickly when it’s over. When we think of today’s “player,” we are thinking of ludus lovers.

5. Mania Love
This love is the most destructive of the forms of love. Mania is the obsessive love. It is the love that drives abusers to prevent their partner from seeing their families and friends. It is the love that creates an obsessive need to control their partners. It stems from jealousy and insecurity. It’s hard to even consider this a love at all as love should never be able harming a partner, either emotionally or physically.

At some point, we all have a little bit of mania in us. It’s human nature to get jealous or insecure sometimes, but that is why it’s so important to not just have one form of love in any relationship.

While you may have passion for your partner, it’s important to also develop the emotional bonds of storge and perhaps even be pragmatic, especially if you know deep down that your relationship cannot last long term. These loves go hand and hand, which is why balance is the key to build a strong, lasting love.

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