Some writers like psychologists Robert Sternberg and Walter Riso have established theories about the components of complete love in a relationship. They agreed that these were:physical attraction, commitment and closeness.
The appearance of one or other of these componentshas a direct relationship with the type of connection between the two people.Thus, love varies at the physical, mental and emotional levels. Even though each author names each component differently, all refer to the same concept. Sternberg tells us about intimacy, passion and commitment. Walter Riso, for his part, talks to us aboutEros, Agape and Philia.Let's deepen these points.
"A complete, healthy and gratifying love, which brings us closer to tranquility than suffering, requires the combination of three factors: desire (Eros), friendship (Philia) and tenderness (Agapé)."
The beginning of love
Love can not be forced.It starts with the attraction between two people, which requires a physical component, in addition to a similarity and proximity. If we are attracted to someone and if that person feels the same for us, the natural tendency is to feel affection for that person and to want to share time with them. But to achieve this, it is necessary to have the same level of understanding, to be more similar than different.
The greater the connection at different levels, the more opportunities there will be for the relationship to continue.In the best case, this allows the two members of the couple to grow mutually by building a complete, healthy and rewarding love, on three levels: physical, emotional and intellectual.
We will see later how these two theories explain the concept of love and its components.
The triangle of love of Sternberg
According to the triangular theory of psychologist Robert Sternberg's love, this emotion is lively and changing. We can find it in different forms or phaseswhich can be explained as different combinations of three elements: intimacy, passion and commitment.
Regardless of the degree of each component,all three are necessary to talk about complete love.However, there are other types of relationships that rely on only one (or two) of these components.
For Sternberg,it can be more difficult to maintain a complete love than to reach it.To achieve this, he emphasizes the importance of actions to translate these components of love.
"Without expression, even the greatest love can die."
Intimacy implies the desire to give, to receive, to share …It includes all those feelings that bring people closer together, and that pushes them to want to spend time together and to reveal personal or private things.
In general, it is related toall those feelings that promote the creation of a bond.All that drives us to trust each other, to open ourselves and to be ourselves.
The origin of intimacy comes when we begin to show ourselves as we are.It depends on the trust we have in the other but also the acceptance that it shows us. In general, intimacy drives us to feel a sense of happiness and a desire to generate well-being in the other person.
"The strongest love is the one who can show his fragility".
Passion is the intense desire to be constantly with the other person.It translates into a very strong sexual and romantic desire, accompanied by a psychological excitement. Passion is "the spark of the relationship". It means feeling a physical attraction and desire for the other person. Without passion, you can not really talk about a romantic relationship; it would be a friendship.
It may be related to intimacy but it is not always the case. It is exciting in itself but is not enough to build a lasting relationship of complete love. However,passion and sexual intimacy are key points in relationships.
"Passion is the one that develops and fades the fastest, intimacy develops more slowly, and commitment becomes even more".
Commitment involves the decision to love the other person and to keep that promise.It is usually linked to a long-term vision. In practice, this leads to sharing life plans and starting a family. That is, to build together a vital project.
It is reflected through loyalty, loyalty and responsibility.It is the component that stabilizes the sentimental relationships of complete love.It can diminish or even disappear when the initial passion evaporates and is maintained or increased with intimacy.
The three components of Walter Riso's complete love
According to Walter Riso, a couple who enjoys a complete, gratifying and pleasant loveneeds the union of three factors: desire (Eros), tenderness (Agape) and friendship (Philia).Each of these components is an important part of what we know as true love. They also play a vital role in the appearance of physical attraction and its subsequent development.
"The combination of these three elements gives the following result: making love (Eros) with his best friend (Philia) with a lot of tenderness (Agapé)".
Eros is the feeling of attraction to the other, sexual desire, possession, passionate love. The most important in this element is the ME who desires, who wants, who demands. The other person, the TOI, can not be subject.It's the most selfish side of love that translates into "I want to own you," "I want you for me."
The componentErosis confrontational and dual in nature:he can lift us to heaven and bring us down to hell in a few moments.It is love that hurts, in which we find a madness and an inability to control ourselves. But we can not do without it because desire is the vital energy of any relationship.
TheErosalso makes us idealize the loved one and forget his mistakes. Thanks to him, we are able to worship each other, unconditionally.
"80% of a good relationship does not lie in Eros: you can not make love 24 / 24h and every day of the week".
In thePhiliathe ME transcends to integrate the other as subject. A union occurs between the MOI and the TOI, even if it is not complete. We understand thePhilialike friendship, and friendship as a way of loving oneself through the love and admiration of friends.The central emotion is the joy of sharing, the reciprocity, the desire to spend good times with each other and to be quiet.
"For a couple to work well, it's not just about making love, it's about making friends, challenging and appreciating them."
It's aboutto have projects in common with the person we love,to become a companion to adventures, games … You have to be happy to know each other. Just as we are happy to know our friends.
Loyalty is the main value of thePhilia.It's not about thinking exactly like the other. The idea is thatdifferences can strengthen the relationship.Together, we are bigger. Together we make the most of everyone's strengths and abilities.
Agapeis selfless love, tenderness, delicacy, non-violence. It is not the erotic MOI that crushes everything in its path, nor the I and the YOU of the friendly love: it is the devoted love, without selfishness. We take care of each other; his pain hurts us and we seek only his good.
Agapeis the component that makes love selfless. Without it, a long-term relationship does not work because it is essential to think of the other. Insensitivity and excessive egoism, sooner or later, only generate disenchantment.
"I do not want to love you much but enough to be good, to adapt to each other and to wrap ourselves with eroticism."
As we have seen, achieving complete love requires a fair balance between these three elements. However,reaching this type of bond does not guarantee a good relationship.On the contrary. Sternberg asserted that the key to happiness lies in the reciprocal feelings of both members of the couple.
The right formula to have a good relationship must be discovered by each couple,by combining the appropriate doses of each component. And it depends on every moment, every situation.
In any case, to feel a complete love,it will always be necessary to connect with the loved one physically, mentally and emotionally.This can be achieved by feeling physical attraction, feeling that the other person is someone we can rely on when we need it, sharing values and plans with her, and committing to making the relationship work.