“Put Jamie Oliver on! I love him!” you might say. But you don’t love love him, right? There are all types of love we feel and it might surprise you to know how many different kinds of love you’ve felt in your life. There’s your friend’s dog, who you definitely love. There’s family, friends and then, of course, your partner.
To simply say you ‘love’ all of them wouldn’t really be accurate or even fair to them all. There are different kinds of love you experience for each, and each form of love brings with it a unique set of ways to show them. While trying to make up with a friend, you’re not going to surprise them with a bed with satin sheets, strewn with rose petals on it, right? That’d just be weird.
So how exactly do these loves differ and how can you get better at expressing them? To understand the different kinds of love, with insights from Shazia Saleem (Masters in Psychology), who specializes in separation and divorce counseling. So without further ado, let’s dive right in.
What Are The Types Of Love?
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Depending on the many different relationships you have with people and the various things you feel toward them, you’re naturally going to have different kinds of love within you for them. You want to smush that puppy’s face and pet it all day, but that’s not how you’re going to show affection to your mom. (Or so we hope. Please don’t do that to your mom.)
Love in itself is a very complex emotion, to begin with. The Bible says, “Love never fails” but it seems to when your significant other very conveniently forgets your birthday. When that happens, love is the last thing on your mind. But is holding a grudge what you should be doing in these situations? Or should you forgive your partner promptly? How exactly does love work and what should you do to nourish it?
Thankfully, the ancient Greeks studied the various types of love so we can understand it better. Thank god for the Greeks because when you’ve upset your friend and you don’t even know why, an understanding of love in all its forms might just help show you what you should do next. Did you know that not all types of love are healthy and that there are some you should even avoid? Here, we list out the different types of love relationships you’ll have in your life.
Related Reading: 8 Types Of Intimacy In A Relationship
1. Eros – the love we call love
There are all kinds of love in this world and Eros is the one that actually describes the love that we think of when we hear the word. “I’m in love!” can only really mean one thing, right? That you’ve found a person you really like, you’re in a romantic, sexual relationship with them. Well, that’s Eros love for you, named after the Greek god of love and fertility.
But ironically, the Greeks were scared of this type of love (ask anyone who couldn’t shake off a bad breakup and they’ll say the same thing). The Greeks thought this sort of love results in a loss of control due to our primal instinct to create new life. That’s a pretty grim way of looking at the love you have for your bae, we’d say.
What does the “Eros” type of love mean for you?
Called “romantic love”, it’s what you feel when you kiss, hug or touch your partner. This love thrives on physical touch, the kind where you would literally drop anything if you had the chance to cuddle up with your partner.
If you’re wondering how to best feel/express this type of love, look no further than your partner’s physicality. Tell them you admire their appearance and make them feel special. Remember the warm fuzzy feeling in your chest when your partner suddenly hugs you? That’s exactly what we’re talking about here.
2. Storge – the familiar love
Shazia suggests, “Any relationship that thrives only on love is difficult to survive in the long-term. Love is only an emotion and emotions are never static. You can love a person too much today and a little more or a little less the next day. But when love is surrounded by togetherness, trust, bond and respect, a relationship is much stronger. Trusting a person is far more difficult than loving them. Love without a sense of trust and fondness is easy to lose. Familiar love is usually unlike that.”
Storge is the love that naturally flows between parents and the children and your extended family. This type of love can also exist between childhood friends since a form of familiarity exists in those relationships too. Storge brings with it a fondness and dependency on these people because you’ve trusted them since forever and we know how important trust is in a relationship. Since your earliest memories feature your family members, you instinctively develop love toward them.
What does the “storge” type of love mean for you?
The “storge” type of love really shines through during those “remember when” conversations. Out of all types of love relationships, this is the one that everyone certainly experiences and cherishes the most. Reliving old memories with your loved ones always makes for a pleasant evening, and it’s the language of the storge love.
If you’ve ever randomly bumped into a childhood friend somewhere, you’re definitely going to remember how happy that made you. Your day was instantly made, you’re going to tell a few people about it too. From the different kinds of love, storge makes you feel the most secure.
3. Agape – love that transcends singular relationships
There are all kinds of love in the world and Agape is universal, selfless love. It doesn’t pertain to individual relationships in your life. Agape is a love you experience toward the greater good, an unconditional love toward the belief of universal harmony. Out of the different types of love relationships, this is the one you share with something bigger than yourself.
The type of love is best described by how Christians believe Jesus Christ gave his life for our sins. Agape a righteous love, one that stems from wanting to do good for others, as you wish they’d do to you. You know, like when you lent your morning newspaper to your neighbor.
What does the “Agape” type of love mean for you?
Agape is the type of love you feel after you do a charitable act. Helping those in need, giving back to society. Doing your part makes you feel a sense of fulfillment that’s hard to match. It’s the purest kind of love since you truly don’t expect anything in return (unlike the time when you expected a one-month anniversary gift from your partner).
Helping others instills a sense of joy and love, which is why some even devote their lives to charitable acts. We’ve got an agape joke for you: What did the Buddhist monk say to the hot-dog vendor? “Make me one with everything”. Get it? One with every… Never mind.
4. Ludus – when your inner child falls in love
Ludus is called playful love, common between young couples who flirt any chance they get (puppy love, perhaps?). It’s the start of a budding relationship, the “honeymoon phase” when all seems perfect. If you’ve ever been through the honeymoon phase, you know just how good it can be and. (If you haven’t been through it, it’s overrated. We swear.)
Shazia tells us, “Infatuation or puppy love is an instant attraction which is like an intense feeling of passion toward a person. One becomes very emotionally attached in this stage, even overlooking the other person’s flaws. It doesn’t last too long but is also not easy to come out of. It can also happen at any age and doesn’t just exist among the younger generations.”
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What does the “Ludus” type of love mean for you?
The giddy feeling you get when you’re flirting with your partner at the start of a relationship. Never being able to end a phone call because you’re both trying to decide who hangs up first. Of all kinds of love in this world, Ludus might be the most fun one.
Among the different kinds of love, Ludus – where you call your partner “honey bun” in public – is also the one your friends hate. Your friends can’t stand the obnoxious yet cute antics you two are up to. You cease to become a singular person, your friends now know wherever you’re invited, your “honey bun” is tagging along too.
5. Mania – the love you shouldn’t have
Mania is obsessive love, better described as codependency. It’s when there is an imbalance of love in the relationship. It often leads to jealousy, possessiveness, and an overall toxic relationship. The ancient Greeks called this obsessive love mania, while millennials nowadays just call them stalkers or even stans (stalker fans).
Shazia says, “Generally people who get obsessed in love are usually dealing with subconscious emotional disturbances. This makes them overprotective with those that they think they are in love with. They are not in the mental position to even recognize their own true feelings. Obsessive love can even lead to narcissistic tendencies and controlling habits.”
What does the “Mania” type of love mean for you?
If you think you’re involved in a “mania” relationship, you should try to get out of it. A codependent lover can also turn into an extremely hard to deal with an obsessive partner and is one of the types of love relationships that one should actively avoid. If he/she likes a photo of yours from four years ago while you’re just getting to know each other, maybe ask them how their previous relationships went before you jump into one with them.
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6. Philautia – putting yourself first
Philautia is an appropriate kind of self-love everyone should practice. In today’s society, we’re bombarded with images of what you “should” look like and ways to “better” yourself, as if there’s one ideal type for everyone. From all the different kinds of love, we’d argue that Philautia is the most important.
Accept yourself as you are and do not have resentful feelings toward yourself. Your mental health will flourish and you’ll get to know yourself better. As a result, all the other types of love relationships you’ll have will thrive. Loving yourself is the first step toward finding true love.
Shazia tells us, “Self-love is the most important kind of love, at all ages. In this technologically advanced era with so much happening around us, it makes it even more important to have self-love. One who cannot love oneself, cannot love others. Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself. Identifying or recognizing your own emotions is essential. Self-compassion is the need of the hour. Once we take care of ourselves, only then can we take care of others.”
What does the “Philautia” type of love mean for you?
Accepting yourself the way you are rather than running away from it will be the healthiest thing you can do. It is often said that you can’t be in a loving relationship until you learn to truly love yourself. Only after you appreciate yourself do you have the capability to share a healthy mutually beneficial relationship with someone.
Related Reading: 12 Clear Signs You Are Infatuated And Not In Love
7. Pragma – the enduring love
Pragma is the sign of a long and healthy relationship. Out of all the different kinds of love, this is the one that makes one go ‘Aww!’ the most. It’s the type of love you see between couples who’ve been together for years, decades even. It matures over time, a love that has been maintained through equal effort and consideration from both partners, a love that lasts forever.
What does the “Pragma” type of love mean for you?
Remember that one time you saw an old couple and went all “Omg! I want that”? That’s the kind of love pragma is. Once the honeymoon phase ends and takes with it the flirting and the playfulness, once the romance has been blossoming for long enough, then comes the type of love we know as Pragma. It’s a bond that seems like it will never break. The type of love everyone wants to achieve. To “grow old together”. What could be better?
8. Philia – the love you have for your friends
Philia is known as affectionate love, it’s the strong, platonic love that you feel toward your friends. A friendship, once it proves that it can withstand the sands of time, is a very important part of everyone’s life.
Shazia throws light on the same by saying, “Platonic relationship is mostly termed as the purest form of love since it does not involve any physical or sexual intimacy. One loves the other purely for their inner self. There are healthy boundaries and no insecurity in a relationship. The expectations are also realistic and less demanding. One can be in a romantic relationship and still have a platonic relationship with someone else. This closeness and comfort are beyond anything else.”
Related Reading: How Spending Time With Friends Helps Improve Your Relationship
What does the “Philia” type of love mean for you?
That call you get when your friend is in trouble? That’s philia. When trust and affection flow both ways, a friendship flourishes. You feel as though you have a safety net if anything were to go wrong. But it’s not just limited to bad times, philia love truly shines when you’re spending time together because you connect so well.
Those one-on-one drinking sessions turn into all-night conversations, the time you traveled together, the time one of you got that nickname you’re still known by. Truly, friendship love is a wonderful thing.
There are all kinds of love in this world, and no matter which one you feel, the important thing to remember is to cherish it and live in the moment. Except if you’re feeling mania, though. Please don’t stalk the people you love from behind the bushes. You don’t want your love to end up as a news story.