Robert Sternberg’s Triangular
Theory of Love
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 decision/commitment. Different stages and types of love can be explained as different combinations of these three elements. Intimacy encompasses feelings of attachment, closeness, connectedness and bondedness. Passion is an intense emotional desire which involves physical and sexual components. While commitment encompasses, in the short term, the decision to remain with another, and in the long term, the shared achievements and plans made with that other. The three components interact with each other and with the actions they produce so as to form seven different kinds of love experiences: 1.
Liking - details a relationship based on intimacy, but not passion or commitment. The characteristic of Liking is having close, intimate friendships with no long-term commitment; an example of Liking is developing an intimate friendship with a neighbour, but because commitment and passion are missing if either neighbor moves away, the relationship is not maintained. 2.
Infatuation is a relationship based on passion, with no intimacy or commitment. Infatuation is characterized by passionate attraction on sight, and an example of such would be a one night stand. 3.
Empty Love is a relationship based on commitment, lacking any intimacy or passion. An example of Empty Love is a couple staying in a marriage or relationship for the "sake of the children;" Empty Love is characterized by a lack of emotional warmth or heat of passion where partners tolerate each other because of a false sense of duty, obligation, or fear of change. 4.
Romantic Love is a relationship based on passion and intimacy; however, it lacks commitment. Romantic Love is characterized by a couple who are emotionally and physically...
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