Love is a single word with many meanings, and is difficult to define, describe,
understand, or figure out . . . Love also isn't a single fixed emotion, for there are many
subtle differences between the various types of love. Here is an outline:
The Four “Loves” (Basic - there are other variations - read on))
There are four different types, or styles, of love that have their own characteristics and
They are commonly given the names that the ancient Greeks coined to characterize the
different love styles:
Agape is unconditional love (also known as Caritas)
Storge is Affection, love of family
Philia is love between friends
Eros is the sense of being in love
|All About Love: The Different Forms Of Love
Klaas Tuinman M.A
Deerfield, Nova Scotia, Canada
If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please email. I'll be happy to hear from you.
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Eros means romantic love from which the word erotic comes, but does not necessarily
imply sexuality. It's love in the sense of 'being in love': the chemical reaction that
happens between two people. It's infatuation between people, and is like “puppy love”
(more on this below).
- Eros is the desire to draw out all that is good, beautiful and true. It is motivated
by, and involves, emotional need; to elicit physical love and affection from the one
- It's often understood to refer primarily to sex, but that's really only one
significant part of it.
True love requires all four types of Love.
Most relationships today are based on one type of love. If your relationship does not
contain these four types of love, you may have the recipe for disaster.
Other forms or styles of love . . .
Security Love: is the love that everybody needs to survive - that feeling of being cared
for and nurtured. Some people would describe this as the type of love parents have for
their children (storge): this is so important. It is high on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Pragma (Logical) Love: is realistic, practical love. The type of love which can go out
looking for a partner based on a shopping list of requirements, which can be a bit
unemotional. Sometimes, though, pragma love also contains a bit of Ludus love (see
below) Pragma Love is often a combination of storge and ludus love, and refers to a
practical or logical love in which someone actively searches for a partner with certain
Love or Infatuation? Love and infatuation often misunderstood which is unfortunate,
because the difference between is big.
How can you tell whether it’s Infatuation or Love?
When you have Red Flag Thoughts like, “You are my life. I can't live without you,” it’s
likely infatuation, especially if it persists after several months (in true “love” that
kind of feeling also tends to happen initially, but changes to something deeper).
Infatuation is like puppy love/crush – like the temporary love of an adolescent.
Infatuation is the state of being completely carried away by unreasoned passion or
love; addictive love.
Some of the “symptoms” of infatuation are: (these don’t go with love).
feelings of panic,
impatience, and/or jealously.
When infatuated, people are thrilled, but not happy, wanting to trust, yet suspicious.
There are lingering, nagging doubts about their partner and their love for them.
They are miserable when they’re away, almost like they’re not complete unless they’re
It’s a rush and it’s intense.
It’s difficult to concentrate.
- Most infatuation relationships have a high degree of sexual charge around them.
For them, somehow being with the object of their infatuation is not complete unless
in ends in some type of sexual encounter.
- They idealize their behavior and aren't accepting of their whole actions.
- They place them on a pedestal.
- They tend to fantasize about them
Infatuation means that “we need to get married, right away cause I don't trust you
and I'm afraid that I'm gonna lose you”.
Infatuation is when we look at that person almost as if they were a mentor to us and
everything they do and say is just the right action and pleases us to no end.
Infatuation is marked by a feeling of insecurity.
You are excited and eager, but not genuinely happy.
There are nagging doubts, unanswered questions, little bits and pieces about your
beloved that you would just as soon not examine too closely. It might spoil the dream.
Infatuation is in fact love not with the other person, but the image of that person
– a creation of your mind.
Do any of these “symptoms” resemble feelings of love?
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They are always afraid of losing the object of that obsession, and so they tend to try
and hold on to that one person by whatever means it may take.
Obsessive Love / Obsession
Obsessive Love is closely related to Manic Love: which is also obsessive and highly
volatile. These forms of love are fuelled by low self-esteem; and are troubled with
dependence on the other person. They are characterized by great intensity
Obsessive & Manic love relationships are probably the worst manifestation of the
feeling of love, or when you mistake obsession for love.
People close to them often become co-dependent. Generally, love is "other-centered"
where as obsession is "self-centered". Research and clinical experience show that there
are a substantial number of romantic relationships in which an individual is either
desperately trying to get someone to love them or they are desperately trying to keep
the love of a partner by focusing an inordinate amount of their attention on them.
Both cases, are essentially variations of "obsession." Neither has a thing to do with
When we obsess over our own emotions, we are expressing ourselves on an extremely
Narcissistic Love: another negative form of love is Narcissistic Love.
Narcissists "love" their spouses or other significant others - as long as they continue to
reliably provide them with Narcissistic Supply (in one word, with attention). Inevitably,
they regard others as mere "sources", objects, or functions.
- People close to these also often become co-dependent. Lacking empathy and
emotional maturity, the narcissist's love is sick. But the precise nature of this
depends on the narcissists’ stability or instability in different parts of their life.
Ludas Love: Ludas is called game-playing love. It is like the love of a knight for a
princess. There are playful interactions here but little intimacy or deep intensity.
Companionship Love: is the kind of love that stimulates all five senses.
S/he smells good, feels good, tastes good, sounds good, and looks good. S/he is
pleasant company because s/he makes you feel happy. Many relationships begin with
this type of love, but it doesn't always withstand the pressure of time.
Friendship Love: this is a love between yourself and someone that is totally honest,
open and comfortable. You really only have this kind of bond with a few people. You
might know a lot of people and be "friendly" with them in a group situation but they
are not the best friends.
Genuine Love is completely different. It means, "I see a need in you. Let me have the
privilege of meeting it."
Instead of taking for itself, genuine love gives to others. It motivates us to help others
reach their full potential in life.
Love is the quiet understanding and mature acceptance of imperfection. It is real.
It gives you strength and grows beyond you - to bolster your beloved. You are
warmed by their presence, even when they are away. Miles do not separate you.
You have so many wonderful little films in your head that you keep replaying. But near
or far, you know they are yours, and you can wait. Love says, "Be patient". Don't panic.
Plan your future with confidence."
Unconditional Love is the sincerest love; the love that lasts forever.
This kind of love comes when you have found the person you are destined to be with.
Nothing can destroy unconditional love.
Agape Love, described above, is also a blend of two other types of love; eros and
storge. This is the love of altruism, of giving without asking anything in return, and of
sacrificing oneself for one's partner.
Many consider it to be the purest form of love.
The love you have for someone will change over time,
and even in type
– but if you have a strong foundation, it will withstand the unfolding changes.
Which kind of love do you love others with? (also see How Do I Love Thee?)
Which kind of love are you being loved with?
Caritas (agapē, αγαπη)
Agape means unconditional love for someone. Agape is the love that brings forth caring
regardless of circumstance.
- Agape love is the selfless, sacrificial love for others, in which nothing is asked in
return . . . it is truly unconditional, which means “no strings attached”.
Affection - (storge, στοργη)
Storge is fondness through familiarity, especially between family members; parental
affection; the almost instinctive affection such as animals have for their young, and also
people who have otherwise found themselves together by chance. It is described as the
most natural, emotive, and widely diffused of loves.
- Storge Love exemplifies friendship-based love. There is strong companionship and
shared values here, but little physical intimacy.
- In social psychology, storge is the form of love between exceptional friends, and
the desire for them to care compassionately for one another.
Philia - Friendship
(philia, φιλια) is a strong bond existing between people who share a common interest or
activity. Philia is Friendship Love, which is not sexual in nature, though (in the right
circumstance) it can lead to or complement Eros (below).
- It's the kind of love talked about by Jesus, who said: "Greater love hath no man
than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Philia is the embodiment of
everything a true, meaningful friendship represents. Philea love truly describes
friendship and the bonds that are strengthened by shared experiences.
Love, Infatuation, Obsession and more