Throughout history researchers have tried to understand Love, so much so that they have created theory upon theory of the various types on Love. However, the one element that they all seem to agree on is that Love is something you must have in your life. Being in Love is a huge protective factor, and not being in Love significantly increases your mental health risks. Love will improve physical, mental and emotional health. A lack of love can increase depression, because depression in itself is a feeling of being unloved on undesired. So what are the various theories on Love?
One theory states that relationship Love is divided into three separate phases: romantic feelings, physical attraction and emotional attachment. The romantic feelings stage is the initial feelings of lust that a relationship creates. This is due to the hormones that control this phase such as testosterone and estrogen. These hormones are said to help us find out appropriate mate in order to pro-create, however, at the same time endorphins are playing their part in shooting in out constant pleasure pulses. In this stage we tend to see our partner as perfect and very often do not notice or acknowledge their flaws. This can create a problem in the future when the hormones cool down and we are now noticing all of their flaws. The second phase of physical attraction is when even more hormones are pulsing through your body. The addition of dopamine and norepinephrine can often give you the feeling of lack of appetite, no need to sleep, and constant distraction about your partner. However, this phase is where you will start to notice some of their flaws and there may become tension over the solution to those flaws. The third phase is emotional attachment. During this phase the infatuation is over and a deeper emotional connection has been created. This is where you become aware of all of the flaws and decide whether or not the relationship will continue further. Another theory is Elaine Hatfield’s comparison of compassionate and passionate Love. Compassionate love is a long term love where respect, affection, trust, and connection have been created. Passionate love is that initial lust and infatuation phase where there are extreme levels of emotions and physical attraction. During this phase the love can either be returned or not, which can either lead to feelings of extreme happiness and fulfillment, or devastation. This type of love typically lasts between 6 months to 1-2 years. Another theory of love is Lee’s Color Wheel. The color wheel is used to describe the different variations and combinations of the three main styles of love: Eros, Ludos, and Storge. Eros is loving your perfect person. Ludos is making a game out of Love, and Storge is having friendship love. Then the wheel breaks down into the combinations of Mania, Pragma, and Agape. Mania is a combination of Eros and Ludos and is the creation of an obsessive love. Pragma is a combination of Ludos and Storge and is a practical and realistic love. Agape is a combination of Eros and Storge and is the creation of a love that is selfless. There are many more theories on love, but knowing the theories will not help you maintain love. So how do you find love and hold on to it?
Know the difference between infatuation and love. Infatuation will not create a bond for a long term relationship. As the theories above describe, most loves start in this as an initial phase, but in order for a relationship to succeed it needs to extend past this emotion. Communication is very important to love, so it is important to know how to communicate and to always do so. Try to change yourself for the better instead of always trying to change your partner. Work on your attitude, your behavior towards your partner, and how you speak to them. Learn the appropriate way to explain your emotions to your partner. Always try to see the good in your partner. Remember how you felt in the initial infatuation part of the relationship and try to maintain that attraction and desire for your partner. Know that compassionate love often takes some work, but as you can see the rewards of a healthy relationship go beyond just the emotional.