By Eulalee Thompson
So you say you are in love, right? Would you still feel the same way if the object of your love became fat, grew a pot belly, lost a leg, or grew old and grey? No? Maybe? So, how deep is your love?
Difficult to answer. What exactly is love anyway? Check out Sternberg's love triangle theory. He believes that love or interpersonal attraction has three components - passion, intimacy and commitment. Passion, as you may have already guessed, is about romance and physical and sexual attraction. Intimacy is about feelings of warmth, closeness and sharing in the relationship; it ranges from intense to superficial. Commitment is a cognitive process; it is a decision that you take to stick with the relationship.
Types of love
The strength of each component of love and the interaction between the three components will not only determine the depth of your love but the type of love in the relationship. Here are some examples:
1. When passion is the only element in the relationship, that's infatuation (as in an affair or a fling).
2. Romantic love is high on intimacy and passion, low on commitment.
3. When passion is low or absent but intimacy and commitment are present, this is affectionate (or companionate) love, the kind you might see among older couples in long-standing marriages.
4. When passion and commitment are present without intimacy, the relationship is about fatuous love.
5. Consummate love is the most powerful and complete type of love — where each individual in the couple shares, relatively equally, all three components of love.
Two love triangles
The love triangle can get even more complicated if, for example, the two individuals in the couple have two different love triangles - a love triangle for the current relationship and another one for the ideal relationship.
How deep is your love? The answer lies in your compatible love triangles.
Eulalee Thompson is a freelance health editor and a therapist & counsellor in private practice; email: firstname.lastname@example.org