You know what I love? Carbs. Chocolate. My dog. Going for a run first thing in the morning… Oh! And sleeping! Definitely sleeping… And those things don’t even compare to my important relationships: my husband, my kids, my dog, my friends, my community…
Isn’t it unfortunate that the English language falls short in differentiating between the different levels of love in our hearts? Think back to my first blog in this series (about intimacy, commitment, and passion) and the second (about the brain chemistry of love). With the complexity of how our minds and bodies respond to deep emotions like love, we need to break it down a bit to differentiate what we’re feeling. When we focus only on romantic love, we miss out on the balance these other types bring to our relationships:
Eros– This is an erotic love, fueled by sexual desire with little to no concept of consequences. It’s passionate, but it’s quick-burning when it stands alone.
Philia– This is a pure-hearted, brotherly love and the foundation of quality friendship. It’s necessary for a fulfilling relationship that lasts.
Ludus– This love is playful, infatuated, and flirtatious. Limerence (a state of infatuation, obsession, and fantasy) also fits in here. It’s fun, but needs mutual effort to grow.
Pragma– This love is longstanding, practical, mature, affectionate, supportive, and respectful. This mature type of love requires individual health and united work over time.
Agape– This is a deep love that hits the soul. It’s altruistic without expectation from the other, offering true empathy and forgiveness without holding grudges.
Philautia– This is the trendiest: a self-love, but not in a narcissistic way.
Storge– This one is similar to the love a person has for a child. It’s about companionship with some of that familial attachment with an instinct to give.
Think about how these play out in your different relationships and the emotional response you have to each type. Talk to your partner about what you enjoy most together and where your growth spots might be.