Triangular Love Theory

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About love
Psychologists and researchers have proposed a number of different theories of love. Love is a basic human emotion, but understanding how and why it happens is not necessarily easy. In fact, for a long time, many people suggested that love was simply something that science couldn't understand. The following are four of the major theories proposed to explain liking, love, and emotional attachment.

Scales of Liking and Loving
The nature of love has been explored by a number of theorists. The first researchers to develop and instrument designed to empirically measure love is Zick Rubin a Social psychologist. According to Rubin, romantic love is made up of three elements:

Attachment
The need of to be cared for and be with the other person. Physical contact and approval are also important components of attachment.

Caring
Valuing the others happiness and needs as much as your own.

Intimacy
Sharing private thoughts, feelings, and desires with the other person. According to the view of romantic love, Rubin developed two questionnaires to measure these variables. The results allowed Rubin to identify 13 questions for 'liking' and 13 questions for 'loving' that were reliable measures of these two variables.

Rubin's Liking and Loving Scale are as the following examples are similar to some of the questions used in:

Items Measuring Liking
I feel that _____________ is a very stable person.
I have confidence in ______________'s opinions.
I think that ______________ is usually well-adjusted.
__________ is one of the most likeable people I know.

Items Measuring Loving
I feel strong feelings of possessiveness towards ____________. I like it when __________ confides in me.
I would do almost anything for _____________.
I find it easy to ignore __________'s faults.

Love is not a concrete concept and is therefore difficult to measure. However, Rubin's scales of liking and loving offer a way to measure the complex feeling of love. In 1958, psychologist Harry Harlow suggested that "so far as love or affection is concerned, psychologists have failed in their mission. The little we know about love does not transcend simple observation, and the little we write about it has been written better by poets and novelists." Rubin's researched marked an important step forward in the understanding of romantic love and paved the way for future research on this fascinating topic.

Compassionate love and passionate love

Compassionate love and passionate love two different types of love describe by Psychologist Elaine Hatfield. Compassionate love involves feelings of mutual respect, trust and affection, while passionate love involves intense feelings and sexual attraction.

Hatfield defined passionate love as:
"A state of intense longing for union with another. Passionate love is a complex functional whole including appraisals or appreciations, subjective feelings, expressions, patterned physiological processes, action tendencies, and instrumental behaviors. Reciprocated love (union with the other) is associated with fulfillment and ecstasy. Unrequited love (separation) with emptiness, anxiety, or despair".

Factors Influencing Passionate and Compassionate Love
Some of the factors associated with passionate love are as follows:

Timing
Being "ready" to be in love with another person is essential.

Early attachment styles
Securely attached individuals tend to form deeper, longer lasting love, while those who are anxiously attached tend to fall in and out of love quickly.

Similarity
Hatfield and Rapson note that we tend to fall passionately in love with people who are relatively good looking, personable, affectionate and similar to ourselves.

While passionate love is intense, it is generally very fleeting. Researchers have looked at how relationships progress among new couples, newlyweds and those married for a longer time and found that while passionate love is more intense at the...
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