The Triangle of LOVE

Triangular theory of love - by Sternberg, characterizes love in an interpersonal relationship on three different scales: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Different stages and types of love can be categorized by different combinations of these three elements. 


Passion- the drives that lead to romance, physical attraction, sexual consummation, and related phenomena.
Intimacy-feelings of closeness, connectedness, and bondedness in loving relationships
Commitment - the decision that one loves someone else and ... the commitment to maintain that love`


Sternberg notes that the relative emphasis of each component changes over time as an adult romantic relationship develops.
Passion - Passionate arousal tends to occur at the beginning of relationships, peaks relatively quickly and then reduces to a stable level as a result of habituation. Following relationship termination, an individuals capacity for passion appears to go negative for a period of time, as the individual overcomes feelings of loss.

Intimacy  - Intimacy tends to peak slower than passion and then gradually reduces to a relatively low level of manifest intimacy as interpersonal bonding increases. Changes in circumstances, however, tend to activate latent intimacy, which can cause the manifest level of intimacy to return or exceed its earlier peak.

Commitment -  In successful relationships, the level of commitment rises relatively slowly at first, speeds up, and then gradually levels off. Where relationships fail, the level of commitment usually decreases gradually and descends back towards the baseline.

Sternberg goes on to compare his theory with existing research and to consider a how partners love triangles could be compared, that an individual may have both ideal and real triangles, self and other triangles and interactions between all these.





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