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Triangular Theory of Love

It is widely known that love can have various aspects. Numerous researches have proved that, although two persons love each other, they can have various feelings and attitudes towards each other. Hence, the American psychologist Robert Stenberg (1986) has offered in his theory the explanation of such behavioral differences.

His main idea about love was to present it as an interpersonal relationship. As a result of his researches, he offered the new theory of love. In his work “Triangular Theory of Love” (1986), he pointed out three components, which together can create the ideal love relations. Among them, there are passion, intimacy, commitment. However, such ideal love happens rarely, and more often the interpersonal relations are based on two of these components or even on one of them. The reasons for it can vary. The long-term duration of the relations usually causes the passion to disappear. The lack of emotional closeness or intimacy can be caused by the introversive character of one of the partners, the upbringing, or some life situations, which have caused distrust. Obviously, the combination of the components can change with time as the couples spend more time together and get more in common or move away from each other. For instance, Stenberg marked out that romantic love consists of intimacy and passion as the partners are connected emotionally and physically. Another example of love based on two components is companionate love, which describes the emotionally close relations including commitment and intimacy components and lacking passion. One more type of love based on two components – passion and commitment, is called fatuous love. The types of love, which had only one of the components, were the following: friendship, limerence, empty love.

Consequently, time and character peculiarities have a great influence on the development of relations. Nevertheless, is necessary to emphasize the role of cultural and social issues, too. People from collectivist cultures regard commitment and intimacy as the most important. For couples, which originate from individualistic countries passion is exceptionally essential. To my mind, it is important for two persons to keep and not lose all the three components mentioned by Stenberg.

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