Love is a word with many meanings and types, and you’ll probably experience some or all of these at different points in your life. Which are you in now?
Erotic love This kind of love is about desire and sexuality. This is a passionate form of expression and can be experienced when you’re attracted to another person. It’s also the drive for procreation, a natural desire that most people possess. You don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to feel erotic love for another person. Erotic love can often translate as lust and is a totally natural chemical response in the body.
Familiar love It could be a lover you’ve dated before or someone from a past life. Either way, this person feels totally familiar to you. It can have power over you even when the person is no longer in your life. It ensures that there’s always a little something between you and the person you’ve previously been with. That history can never be erased.
Manipulative love This is a kind of love that is full of suffering. One party (or both) is taking advantage of the other one. They’re being manipulative by gaslighting their partner, making them feel poorly about themselves, and controlling what they do and don’t do. This is a sad kind of love, leaving both people feeling actually more lonely than if they were alone.
Obsessive love With this type of love, it’s as if the person has a hole in their heart that they’re desperately trying to fill by using another person. These are the types that often get into codependent relationships because they feel as if they “need” their partner and they wouldn’t be whole without them. It’s a sad kind of love because it misses out on a lot of the good things due to its selfishness.
Family love The feelings you have for family are different than the feelings you have for a lover or even a friend. They run deep, almost as if the love grew with your bones. Family love is often (but not always) unconditional. It isn’t dependent on how a person is behaving or who they are, family just kind of loves you just as you are. It’s a unique kind of love.
Universal love The love that you have for a stranger when they’re going through a tough time is an example of this kind of love. It’s a kind of love that most humans are naturally equipped with. It can be equated to empathy or altruism. It’s totally natural to be concerned for other people and this manifests itself in the form of universal love.
Selfless love A step further than universal love, this kind occurs when you’re giving to someone without any expectation of something in return. It can be when you’re volunteering your time or when you’re in a relationship with someone you deeply care about. It’s almost a spiritual kind of love because it’s so magical. It extends beyond the individual and is a worldly experience.
Platonic love The love you have for a friend is generally platonic. There’s a quote by Elbert Hubbard that says, “A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” It’s the truth—friends get to see all of your imperfections and they choose to stick around anyway. Platonic love can mean different things to different people, but it’s essentially companionship. This is a special kind of love.
Self-love The sort of adoration and gentleness that you have for yourself (hopefully) is self-love. It’s turning all that mushy stuff in your heart back inwards to shine on your self-esteem and confidence. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be blessed with self-love, but those who are know how absolutely crucial it is to living a happy and fulfilling life.
Enduring love When two people love each other well for a great deal of time, that’s where enduring love is found. You see it in some married couples who have been together for a while and even in some friendships that have lasted the test of time. This kind of love is strong and reliable. It takes two people, though—you can’t have enduring love with just one person doing the emotional labor.
Playful love In the beginning stages of a relationship where both parties feel light and silly, that’s where playful love hangs out. It’s a flirty energy that makes you feel young and carefree. This kind of love is fun. It can even be experienced in friendships when you banter back and forth or have a good time together.
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