by Andrew Pacholyk MS. L.Ac ~
The triangular theory of love is a theory of love developed by psychologist Robert Sternberg. In the context of interpersonal relationships, “the three components of love”, according to the triangular theory, are an intimacy component, a passion component, and a decision/commitment component. The three components of the Triangular Theory of Love are:
The feeling physically aroused and attracted to someone. Passion is what makes you feel “in love” and is the feeling most associated with love. It also rises quickly and strongly influences and biases your judgment. Passionate love involves continuously thinking about the loved one and also involves warm sexual feelings and powerful emotional reactions.
The feeling close and connected to someone (developed through sharing and very good communications over time). Intimacy is what makes you want to share and offer emotional and material support to each other.
Pledging to your self and each other to strengthen the feelings of love and to actively maintain the relationship. Commitment is what makes you want to be serious, have a serious relationship and promise to be there for the other person if things get tough. Compassionate love is having trusting and tender feelings for someone who is close to you.
Sternberg also uses his Triangular Theory of Love to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about love:
Is there love at first sight?
This is when we are overwhelmed by passion, without any intimacy or commitment (both of which take time). Sternberg calls this infatuated love, Because there is not intimacy or commitment, infatuated love is fated to fade away.
Why do some people get married after being in love for a very short time?
This is a combination of passion and commitment, but without any intimacy. Sternberg calls this Hollywood love. This is where two people make a commitment to each other based on their passion. Unless intimacy develops over time, this relationship most likely will end.
Can their be love without sex?
Ah yes, compassionate love, where intimacy and commitment are present without any sexual passion.
Why doesn’t romantic love last?
Passion and intimacy without commitment is Romantic love. When the passion fades, and the intimacy wanes, the relationship ends.