When thinking about how we express love to others, it may seem incomparable to how those around us show love. We think of our expression of love as uniquely our own, but all of us are more intertwined in our love styles than we think. Having a better understanding of all love styles can teach us what we need to compliment our own style.
Here are the 6 love styles as explained by J. A. Lee. He argued that people have different ideologies when it comes to love. Lee states that there are three primary styles of loving, which can then be combined in various ways to create secondary love styles.
Here’s what the three primary styles entail:
Eros – this style is commonly called romantic love or passionate love; rooted in feelings of affection, attraction and sexual desire.
Those with Eros style tend to be eager to develop deep, intense, passionate relationships. Drawn to physically attractive and good lovers, which makes this style common in the initial stages of romantic relationships. They are able to develop a sense of intimacy and connection quickly through high levels of self-disclosure. They are better at coping with stress, which helps them feel satisfied in their relationships.
Storge – this style is called friendship or compassionate love, it is based on high levels of intimacy and commitment but comparatively low levels of passion.
Friendship love is formed through developing companionship and shared interests. It is thought of as the “glue” holding relationships together. Similarities, shared values and self-disclosure are essential to storge lovers. If these fade so will the love. Physical attraction plays a smaller role compared to security, companionship and shared activities. Personality characteristics hold more weight to storge lovers, such as intelligence, communication skills and understanding. These relationships may seem boring but they are dependable and stable.
Ludus – this style is often called game-playing love. It is based on having low levels of commitment and seeing relationships as fun, playful and casual.
Ludus lovers communicate in ways that highlight the game-playing aspect of this love style. They tend to have difficulty coping with stress, due to the causal nature they look for in relationships. Their unwillingness to commit is reflected in their communication style as well, in which it stays casual. This love style tends to reflect lovers in on-again off-again relationships. This can become toxic in some cases since there is no strong line of communication they use negative strategies to maintain their relationship by making their partner jealous. This low commitment style is adopted by younger people.
Now let’s get into the secondary love styles:
Mania: based on a combination of eros and ludus. Mania involves having a possessive style of loving.
This style contains elements related to passion as well as game-playing. Manic lovers tend to be more demanding, jealous and possessive than the other styles. There is a strong need for control over their partner in the relationship; their desire to be close and control their partner stems from high levels of physical attraction and passion. Manic lovers often find sensitive partners that can help manic lovers cope with the highs and lows of their emotions and offer reassurance. Manic lovers use communication as a way to intensify closeness with their partner, often testing their loyalty. This style can be very negative in its strategy of testing their partner in ways of spying and engaging in destructive conflict to gain power over their partner.
Agape: based on a combination of eros and storge, it involves having compassionate style of love that revolves around caring, concern and tenderness.
An agape lover has a deep, abiding and highly passionate love for their partner that goes beyond physical attraction. This love style focuses more on the aspect of giving than receiving. Agape lovers look for partners with positive personal characteristics like a sense of humor, understanding, compassion, communication skills and intelligence. Lovers are motivated by intense concern for their partners well-being. Unlike Mania, Agapic lovers don’t use manipulation in their relationships; communication is intense and passionate. At times agape lovers can put their partners on a high pedestal, which makes their partner feel like they cannot live up to the image they have created.
Pragma: based on a combination of storge and ludus, pragma involves having a practical style of love that focuses on finding a person who has specific desired characteristics.
Pragmatic lovers search for a person who fits a particular image in terms of age, height, religion, occupation and high level of loyalty. These lovers take a “common sense, problem-solving approach to life and love” which is reflected in their communication style. They tend to want to engage socially with their partners friends and family to see first how they would fit into their partners social network. The practical approach in this style helps lovers match with someone they are compatible with, though to maintain the relationship there need to be some level of intimacy and passion. It can take pragmatic lovers longer to develop those because the realistic concerns must be laid out to create a foundation. Pragma lovers also tend to use spying methods to get informations and maintain their relationship.
Those are the six love styles as explained by Lee. It is important to understand your particular love style because it lets you know what you bring to relationships, both knowingly and unknowingly. A better understanding of how we show love will lead us to a compatible match that gives us the communication we desire and assurance needed to maintain a healthy relationship.
A persons love style is innately their own, you cannot change how a person processes or shows love. In many situations we get hurt by trying to force someone into a mold they could never form into. That’s not to say that certain love styles would never meet and form a relationship, but it does help to know why there is tension in certain aspects such as communication.
What is your love style?