There is only one word for love. But there are different types of love. You will experience different types of relationships in your life. How many times have you been in love? Was it the same? No, it is not.
We can feel the love in different ways and different states. You can feel love when you are happy, but also when you are sad and angry. We use love as an action, a force that keeps our relationship with the partner alive.
But we have to remember, we are all different people. We each experience love in a different way. What is love for you, might not feel the same for your friend.
Yet, the ancient Greeks tried to explain the different types of love. According to their philosophy, there were eight types of love.
And according to Greek philosophers, almost all of us experience these types of love relationships at least once.
So, let’s find out what are the types of love and their meaning.
What is Love Catalyst?
All of the types we will mention below have a love catalyst. What is it? Well, simply put, it is an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action. This is the part of yourself that enhances your love experience. For example, the love catalyst for self-love is the soul. And your mind is the catalyst for the affectionate love.
So, here are the types of love Greek philosophers discussed.
Eros or Erotic Love
This is the first type of love, named after the Greek god of fertility. Eros represents the idea of sexual passion and desire. Today, we call this lust. Back in the day, Greeks didn’t think of erotic love as something positive. Instead, they view this type of love as dangerous and irrational.
Eros often displayed loss of control. That frightened the Greeks. You know the feeling. When someone attracts you sexually, you cannot control yourself.
This type of love is beautifully idealistic. It is a primal and powerful fire that burns out quickly. Lust doesn’t last for long. The explanation is simple, Eros is a selfish type of love. Why do you ask? Because it is all about physical pleasure and personal infatuation. We show Eros when we admire someone’s body, with physical touch, and with hugging and kissing.
Ludus or Playful Love
This is the type of love between young lovers. It is all about flirting and teasing. This happens in the early stages of the relationship. You can also experience Ludus when you sit in a bar and laugh with your friends. Or when you go out dancing.
Ludus is the ultimate ludic activity. Think of it as a playful substitute for sex. Greek philosophers said it is what you need to spice up your relationship. Playfulness is an essential ingredient often lost in long-term relationships. But it is one of the secrets to keeping love alive.
You can flirt and engage in whimsical conversation with your partner, or spend time to have fun.
Phillautia or Self-Love
This is the type of love we feel within ourselves. It is essential part for any relationship. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love your significant other. And more importantly, you cannot expect someone to love you and respect if you do not do it.
Be careful. This type of love can go to extremes. You do not want to get to narcissism. Self-love is a healthy version that enhances your capacity to love.
It is a process to learn how to love yourself. Create an environment that helps your well-being. Take care of yourself. Spend time around people who support you. This is how you learn to love yourself.
Philia or Deep Friendship
This is one of the 3 types of love in your life you must experience. We all need that one friend that we almost love as a partner. In the age of social media, it is more important than ever to have that one true friend.
Ancient Greeks valued philia more than Eros. The reason is simple. Philia is a love between equals. Think about the word platonic love. It means to love without physical attraction. This is what Plato preached. He said physical attraction is not a necessary part of love.
To nurture your philia, engage in deep conversations with friends. Support them and earn their trust.
Agape or Love for Everyone
This is empathy in modern terms. Some say this is the most radical type of love. It is one of the types of love in the Bible. Jesus often says you have to love others. In Latin, the word is “caritas”. This is the origin of the word charity.
Greeks believed this is the highest form of love. It embraces the universal and it is an unconditional love that transcends any situation. Agape goes beyond the emotions and helps behavior that comes from within.
Some people call Agape spiritual love. It is bigger than us. You can show it by dedicating your life to improving the lives of others. Offer your time and help others in need.
Pragma or Long-Standing Love
Long-standing or enduring, this is the type of love between long-married couples. It is all about making compromises in your life and relationship.
This love matured and developed over time. It goes beyond the physical. It is a unique harmony you can develop over time. You can find it in couples, but also in friends that know each other for decades.
Pragma is the result of effort on both sides. This type of love is not one-sided. Either both sides have it, or none.
Storge or Familiar Love
Between the 6 types of love, some resemble each other. That is the case here. It is similar to philia. It is a type of love without physical attraction. This type of love often flows between parents and their children.
You can find it between childhood friends that share it as adults. Storge can sometimes be an obstacle on the spiritual path. This happens when your family or friends do not support you on your journey.
Mania or Obsessive Love
Be careful of this type of love in your partner. Or if you have it, then you are the problem. This type of love can lead to madness and obsessiveness.
Mania happens when there is an imbalance between Eros and Ludus. People with poor self-esteem often suffer from mania. They need love to find a sense of self-value. And because of that, they are possessive and jealous lovers.
If you recognize this behavior, act upon it. Or run from it.
What is the Perfect Love Combination?
The perfect love is a bouquet and a combination of different types of love. Which types do you need for a perfect friendship? Or for a marriage? What about your family. Here are the three best combinations for every situation.
- For a long and lasting friendship, you need philia, storge, and philautia
- For a perfect relationship with your significant other, you need pragma, Eros, and Ludus
- In your family, always show these types of love: storge, agape, and philia
Modern Approach to Types of Love
While Greeks defined different types of love and relationships, modern science has other words for it. They are not much different, but let’s take a look at them.
Fatuous love is a sexual attraction and commitment to your significant other. There is no emotional closeness. Think of it as purely sexual and physical love.
Romantic love is one that matures over time and it is all-consuming sexual arousal combined with security, respect, and comfort. Most modern relationships are between fatuous and romantic love. Often, partners are not on the same page.
Companionate love combines philia and storge. It is deep love and respect between friends and peers. Think of it as a love of intimacy and commitment built through respect. Often, this does not translate to sexual attraction and remains the platonic type of love.
Consummate love is one that contains intimacy, passion, and deep commitment. We all strive for this type of love in the relationship. Sadly, not all of us reach that point.