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Theories of Love Essay

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Theories of Love Essay Sternberg (1986) presents a triangular theory of love, consisting of three components that define love: commitment, passion and intimacy. A successful relationship - entitled 'consumate love' - consists of all three of these components. However a singular component can feature in a relationship, commitment alone being called 'empty love', intimacy alone is a liking or a friendship, and passion alone is seen as infatuation. Sternberg also displays that the absence of one of these components would create a type of love different to 'consumate love'. Passion and intimacy in a relationship causes 'romantic love', as they are a combination of infatuation and liking, with the absence of commitment. Passion and commitment would be considered 'fatuous love' with the absence of intimacy. ...read more.


For example, through establishing that a relationship is based on commitment and passion ('fatuous love'), a couple could be made more aware that they are lacking 'intimacy' and therefore work to try to achieve 'consumate love'. The research is supported by other theories of love such as Rubin (1970) who distinguished 'liking' from 'loving' using similar components to Sternberg - attachment (involving passion and possessiveness), caring (involving concern for the other) and intimacy (involving the reciprocal exchange of personal information, feeling and actions). Sternberg (1986) also reflected Berscheid and Walster (1974) who developed a distinction between passionate love and companionate love, thus linking in well with other theories of love. Sternberg's research can also be criticised in terms of weaknesses. ...read more.


For example it is more appropriate in Western culture to marry for love, and also to base a relationship on passion and sex. In other cultures, such as Hindu India, it is not unusual to marry somebody of which you have never met in an arranged marriage. In terms of historical differences, Vernant (1996) explains that for the ancient Greeks one of the highest forms of love was that between a boy and an older man, often being sexual. This shows that Sternberg (1986) is not considerate of the historical and cultural differences in the perception of love. Finally Fehr (1988) argues that it is futile to attempt to identify love and define it as a definition may not exist, which in completely disputes any theories of love. ...read more.

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