How Do the Different Types Of Love Affect Everyday Relationships?
Updated November 21, 2019
Reviewer Audrey Kelly, LMFT
When you think of love, you probably think of one specific type. You may recognize that the love you feel for a child is different from the love you feel for a partner, or love interest, but you may not think about the many different ways that we love other people around us. It's not all about the relationship we have with a significant other. It can also be about a great deal more than that. So what are the different types of love that are out there?
Types Of Love
Eros - Sexual Love
When it comes to the love that we have with our partner, it's comprised of partially sexual love. In ancient mythology, sexual love was a type of madness that Cupid, the god of love, causes us to feel. In fact, in many instances, Cupid is depicted as making people fall in love even against their will, yet the love is so powerful and passionate that there is nothing they can do about it. With this type of love, there's a romantic aspect to it alongside the sexual aspect.
Philia - Friendship Love
That feeling you have for your friends where you care about them and that you enjoy having them around is a type of love as well. It's a familial love that's a little different from what you feel for a brother or sister, but closer to that then to the sexual love we just discussed. It comes from a foundation of trust, companionship, and even dependability. We believe that the other person is good, pleasant, and useful and therefore we have a sense of goodwill toward them. This can also coexist with Eros and in all healthy and strong relationships.
Storge - Familial Love
This is the love that you feel for your children, for example. This type of love is based on simply being there and being familiar. It has nothing to do with specific qualities, interactions, or even a sense of someone being good in general. This is a love that exists simply because the person is there. In a sense that you would love your children no matter what they may do, you will feel a sense of Storge love toward them. The love does not change based on actions or inactions from the individual.
Agape - Universal Love
If you have a religion or if you have a strong bond with nature or specific charities or organizations, you feel a sense of love toward them in a way that has nothing to do with familiarity, characteristics or anything else. You feel the love in a general sense, and therefore, it is considered a separate type of love compared to everything else we've discussed. With this type of love, you feel a sense of altruism and that altruism can lead you to feel important, helpful, and better about yourself in general as well.
Ludus - Uncommitted Love
When you feel a sense of fun in your relationship rather than a sense of longevity or purposefulness, it's a Ludus type of love. This is the love that you experience when you're simply having fun with someone and not attempting to form a long-term relationship necessarily. When you're flirting and having some fun, even in a romantic way, this is the type of love you experience. Many might not even consider as a type of love at all, but it does play a role in your life and make things more interesting, as long as both parties feel the same way.
Pragma - Practical Love
If you feel a sense of duty, reason, compatibility, shared goals, or anything else practical toward a person, you may be able to fall into this type of practical love. The best way to think about it is to compare it to the days of arranged marriages when couples would often not even meet before they were married. As a result, they would generally fall into a type of Pragma over time, coming to care for each other because they share interests, duties, or simply appreciate qualities or characteristics of their partner. It is not an overly romantic style of love, but it is comfortable.
Philautia - Self-Love
This is a crucial part of your ability to live a healthy and happy life. Being able to love yourself, no matter what may be happening in your life is always going to be important to be able to enjoy your life. Being too full of yourself is not a healthy type of love, but neither is putting yourself down too much. It's important to have a sense of belief in yourself and your abilities, status, and accomplishments that is balanced. Finding this balance can sometimes be difficult, but it relates to self-esteem, self-confidence, and overall physical health as well.
If you struggle with self-love or any of the other types of love, you may want to seek out professional help to work towards a healthier future for yourself. Getting professional help can allow you to express your thoughts and feelings comfortably and healthily and will allow you to start forward toward a healthy and happy future as well. Whether you are currently in a relationship, just getting out of one, looking for something or just focusing on your wellbeing, it's important to speak with a professional to find out more about the different types of love and how they affect you.
ReGain is one way that you can reach out to a professional that you can feel comfortable with. With this service, you can get online and connect with a therapist or other mental health professional that's located anywhere in the country without regards to their physical location (or yours). Then, you just set up your appointment and sign in to your online account when it's time. Just like that, you're connected, and you can have your session without ever having to leave your home.