A Psychologist Has Identified 7 Different Types Of Love But Only One Will Last

American psychologist Robert J. Sternberg has studied relationships extensively and concluded that while there are seven different types of love, only the right combination of intimacy, passion, and commitment will lead to a successful relationship. So how does your current relationship stack up to the science?

Liking and friendship How many people do you know who used to date before they decided that they’re better off as friends? It’s such a common relationship between two people who have a genuine bond and are incredibly close. You want to chat or text every single day and they’re the one you call on when something amazing or awful or pee-your-pants hilarious happens. It’s a deep bond and many of us mistake this intimacy as something more. The absence of a physical relationship and commitment make this fail romantically but succeed as an amazing friendship.

Infatuated love We’ve all been there. The incredible chemistry between you is intoxicating and it’s a mind-blowing physical relationship. These dalliances are powerful but unfortunately, they don’t tend to last very long. Some very lucky people will develop intimacy, which is great for a long-term relationship. For the rest of us, it’s short and sweet.

Empty love Sounds depressing, right? Surprisingly many of these relationships start out strong and happy. Over time, however, the passion flickers away and so does the intimacy. You’re still committed to each other but less intimacy and passion means a less-than-perfect relationship where one or both of you will become miserable and things will eventually end.

Romantic love Ever wondered why the commitment issue is so divisive? Why does it suddenly become a make-or-break issue? Most longer-term relationships start out as romantic love ones. You are in that sweet place where you like each other, you have a really close bond, and you want to be with them all the time. You can relax and be yourself with each other but still have great chemistry. Nice. This is one where the relationship can potentially be “The One.” So what goes wrong? Commitment or lack of it. For this relationship to stay healthy, you both need to be on the same page in terms of the future. If they want to move in with you but you’re not looking to commit, then sadly the relationship is doomed.

Companionate love The age-old joke about married people not having sex might be more than just a stereotype after all. Companionate love is a kinship which may have had all the important elements to begin with, however, as time has passed, the passion has inevitably gone. There is still deep affection and commitment, so people in these relationships still want to share their lives, but don’t have any sexual desire.

Fatuous love This is one of the more complex relationships. There is commitment there but it’s actually driven rather ironically by the passion in the affair! Think of the cliché whirlwind romance and a 10-minute wedding at the Little White Chapel. OK, it’s a glib example, but essentially this is fatuous love. The passion in a relatively new relationship is so overpowering that the couple believes it’s far more than that. They make the commitment but the essential element of intimacy isn’t there to ground it. Sadly, these relationships will also end.

Consummate love Ah yes, I saved the best for last. The holy grail of relationships, utopia itself. Of all the seven types of love, consummate love is the only one which contains all three magic ingredients; intimacy, passion, and commitment. The trio of triumph is the one which will go the distance. Sternberg warns us that once you have achieved consummate love, it can be more of a challenge to maintain it. If you lose the passion, it becomes companionate love; if the intimacy ebbs away too, then you have empty love. These types of love can evolve from one to another depending on the combination you have at any one time. If you have already have the trio of triumph and you make sure to work on the passion, intimacy, and commitment then you may have achieved the oh-so-elusive perfect relationship.

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