Styles of Love
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love
◦ The triangle is composed of intimacy, passion, and commitment. Each of these can be part of the love
The “Warm” Component
◦ Intimacy is the foundation of the triangle because it is seen as the glue that holds the rest of the triangle
together in close relationships.
◦ Intimacy does not imply sexuality—rather it just means that people feel emotionally close and connected.
◦ Intimacy is based on emotional attachment
‣ The more irreplaceable the person the more attached you are to them
◦ Intimacy is moderately stable and controllable
‣ How much you want to disclose to them
‣ Give them a chance
◦ Latent versus Manifest Intimacy
‣ Latent Intimacy is internal– it is the level of closeness we feel for someone.
‣ Manifest Intimacy is external- it is the level of closeness we show to someone
The “Hot” Component
◦ Passion is based on motivation—we are motivated to be near someone and to protect our relationship with
‣ Sexual & physical attraction
◦ Passion is often related to sexual arousal and wanting to be physically close to someone.
‣ Drawn to this person for some reason
◦ Passion is the most unstable and uncontrollable component of the triangle.
‣ Drawn to a person who is completely wrong for you
Commitment: The “Cool” Component
◦ The commitment part of the triangle is based on the decision to love someone and the commitment to try
to maintain that love.
◦ As such, commitment is a cognitive choice.
◦ Commitment is the most stable and controllable component of the triangle.
◦ Commitment is related to trust, loyalty, and faithfulness, which have been found to be central to love. In
fact, commitment ranks higher than intimacy or passion when people are asked what love is.
Different Types of Love
◦ Sternberg believes that the three components in the triangle help define different types of love as well as whether people love or like each other.
‣ liking = intimacy only (no passion)
‣ infatuation = passion only
‣ empty love= commitment only (no passion; obliged to stay together for kids)
‣ romantic love = passion + intimacy
‣ friendship love = intimacy + commitment
‣ consummate love = all three components
Lee’s Styles of Loving
Eros: Passionate Love
◦ This style focuses on passion and physical love. Eros lovers often fall in love quickly and intensely.
◦ They us