Love is a special and complicated emotion which is quite difficult to understand. Love actually occurs in the brain. Artists, poets and painters all epitomize the heart as the love symbol, but it’s the brain that generates chemical signals to make people understand love. 

There are different forms and styles of expressing love. To describe these styles, the Ancient Greeks came up with four terms of love 
(Eros, Storge, Agape and Philia). Here are these four loves in details.


This is an unconditional love that sees beyond the outer surface and accepts the recipient for whom he/she is, regardless of their flaws, shortcomings or faults. It’s the type of love that everyone strives to have for their fellow human beings. Although you may not like someone, you decide to love them just as a human being. This kind of love is all about sacrifice as well as giving and expecting nothing in return. The translation of the word agape is love in the verb – form: it is the love demonstrated by your behavior towards another person. It is a committed and chosen love.


The Phileo love refers to an affectionate, warm and tender platonic love. It makes you desire friendship with someone. It’s the kind of love which livens up the Agape love. Although you may have an agape love for your enemies, you may not have a phileo love for the same people. The translation of the word phileo is love in the noun – form: it is how you feel about someone. It is a committed and chosen love.


It is a kind of family and friendship love. This is the love that parents naturally feel for their children; the love that member of the family have for each other; or the love that friends feel for each other. In some cases, this friendship love may turn into a romantic relationship, and the couple in such a relationship becomes best friends. Storge love is unconditional, accepts flaws or faults and ultimately drives you to forgive. It’s committed, sacrificial and makes you feel secure, comfortable and safe.


Eros is a passionate and intense love that arouses romantic feelings; it is the kind that often triggers “high” feelings in a new relationship and makes you say, “I love him/her”. It is simply an emotional and sexual love. Although this romantic love is important in the beginning of a new relationship, it may not last unless it moves a notch higher because it focuses more on self instead of the other person. If the person “in love” does not feel good about their relationship anymore, they will stop loving their partner.
This just offers you a general understanding and description of the four types of love which promotes a good, healthy and progressive relationship. In any relationship, you should have all these four loves working together to enable it survive for a longer time. But in some cases, a relationship may be long-lasting if partners share the same style of love.

Theory of Love

This theory was advanced by Robert Sternberg. The theory proposes three building blocks which must be present for love to be complete. Absence of one or more blocks in a love relationship can lead to its disintegration.



This is mainly associated with physical arousal. Passion causes people to be physically moved by the presence of their partner. However, passion may also encompass any other deep emotional satisfaction that partners derive from the relationship.


This comprises a mutual feeling of closeness and attachment to each other. Intimacy causes partners in a love relationship to have a strong bond connecting them. It makes them feel at ease with each other.


Unlike the other two blocks, commitment involves a conscious decision to stick with one another. The decision to remain committed is mainly determined by the level of satisfaction that a partner derives from the relationship.


Sternberg came up with a triangular model where the three love components take the vertices of the triangle. The three love components interacts with each other to generate seven distinct kinds of love.

Sternberg’s seven kinds of love:


This is the ideal kind of love in which all the three components are present in their right proportions. This form of love is considered to produce the perfect couple. The love relationship can survive over a very long time. However, it can also die if any of the three components start to diminish.


This occurs when people make commitments based on passion without the element of intimacy. Lack of the stabilizing effect of intimacy makes the relationship disintegrate as passion diminishes with time.


Companionate love is the kind that exists among family members. It involves intimacy and long-term commitment .This kind of love is characteristic of many couples who still remain affectionate and committed to each other long after passion dies.


This form of love happens as a result of intimacy and passion. Such couples are attracted to each other physically and have strong emotional bond. However, there is absence of commitment in the relationship.


This is characterized by the absence of intimacy and passion. Partners in such a relationship are only committed to each other.


It is a form of love driven by passion only. Intimacy and commitment can develop over time making infatuated love to graduate to romantic and consummate love. However, it can diminish quite easily if the other components do not come in.


It is characterized by feelings of friendship. There are feelings of warmth and closeness towards each other. However, there is absence of commitment and any strong passion towards each other.


This happens where there is absence of all the three components. People just interact casually with one another.
The triangular theory of love has been criticized especially due to its inability to specify the time or point in which one form of love evolves to another. However, it has been tested for its validity and found to hold some water.
Robert Sternberg

Post by:

Remi Badmus (MRS.)

GIT9ja Relationship Expert/Counsel
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