Relationship and Love Types

Attraction is the notion that combines hearing, visual perception, and smell. Sometimes attraction happens subconsciously as in some cases it impossible to explain our driving towards a person. Relationships, sense of belonging, and love are common human features that take an important place in our life from birth till death.

It is considered that there are the following factors of attraction: 1. Proximity. This factor makes people discover common interests and consider the time which is spent together; 2. Physical Attractiveness. Despite rejections that good-looks is not an issue, people unconsciously size others up according to looks; 3. Similarity. The factor of similarity is subdivided into such categories as attitudinal similarity, similarity in interests and experiences, and similarity in physical attractiveness; 4. Liking Reciprocity. We tend to like those who like us having the feeling that we are likable; 5. Association. This factor of attraction helps us associate our opinions about other people (Frazer, 2007); 6. Positive and Negative Effect. When a person does something it arises positive or negative affect which leads to association and effect. 

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When two people from different cultural backgrounds meet they encounter between two cultures. A culture is an internal code which is present in the back of our mind. The code indicates what is normal or abnormal, right or wrong. If people know the code, it makes them feel that they belong and live in a predictable world. A culture is what we experience from the birth and follow during the whole life. That is why it is easy to befriend a person from the same culture, with similar background and physical aesthetic.  

Humans have always felt immense need in building bonds, relationships and belonging. The satisfaction of this need various according to the individual differences, cultural variations, and the way people express and satisfy the need. The desire to form bonds and relations has survival and reproductive benefits. The need to belong has two features. The first one is that people have a need to frequent personal interactions and contacts with others. The second one is the need to perceive an interpersonal relationship or bond that is marked by affective concern and stability. But to satisfy the need to belong one should believe that another person loves or likes him or her and cares about his or her welfare. Generally it is believed that bonds and relationships are associated mostly with positive emotions. A relationship is related to the experience of falling in love which is marked by joy and happiness. But when love arises without belongingness, it is considered to be unrequited live which causes distress and disappointment.     

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We feel depressed and anxious when we lose important relationships or severe connections with other people, feel lonely when there is a lack of important relationships. The feeling of jealousy may appear when we feel or know that the person we love or with who have a relationship likes and chooses somebody else (Baumeister and Leary, 1995). Deprivation of belongingness causes undesirable effects and leads to a variety of affiliative behaviors. Deprivation of good and stable relationships is related to a variety of aversive and pathological consequences as people who lack belongingness suffer physical and mental illnesses, have behavioral problems, and even commit suicide. Thus, belongingness is considered to be not just a want, but a need. Human need to belong is innate as loneliness is a burden which is very difficult to bear. 

There exist three types of love – compassionate, passionate, and companionate. Love may be expressed in different ways. Most relationships begin with the passionate love which further transform into the companionate form of love. Passionate love starts the relationships but it may fade quickly, it forms attachments (passion, falling in love, physical effects, etc.). It is a complex of feelings, expressions, appreciations, physiological processes, and behaviors. This kind of love is fleeting and intense (Cherry). People who experience passionate love want to know where the partner is, what he or she is at, and to talk to the person and to be with. The couple which has physical relations each time they see each other is an example of passionate love. The partners see only good sides in each other and are focused on themselves. Compassionate love, also called altruistic, is a kind of attitude towards people. It is related to the construct of love without limits where people act selflessly and focuses their behavior on tenderness, support, care, and concern. It can be experienced for a family member, friends or a romantic partner (Neto). It may occur between close friend who have a platonic and strong friendship or adults who care for one another and want to spend the rest of the live together building a family. This kind of love keeps the relationships strong, stable, and happy.

The theory of triangular love is based on three love components, such as intimacy (attachment, support, openness, etc.), passion (physical attraction, lust, romance, etc.), and commitment (decision to love with the aim to maintain the relationship) (Triangular Love Theory Explains the Types of Love). These components interact with each other and produce different kinds of love experiences. Infatuated love which is the result of passionate arousal when intimacy and commitment are absent; it is as the love at first sight. This type of love disappears suddenly if intimacy and commitment are not developing. Sternberg characterizes empty love as a commitment without passion and intimacy whereas romantic love derives from passionate and intimate components of love (Triangular theory of love).

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Thus, love and relationships are multifaceted as they differ due to social experiences and the ways they are expressed. The balance of love components tends to shift in the process of relationship. Knowing the components of love may help people in their relationship building and avoiding pitfalls.

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