March 4, 2009
Last night when driving home from work, I said to my husband, ‘I wonder what I’ll write about tomorrow morning?’ (It can be challenging to come up with a new topic daily). He said, ‘Well, you are the NY Love Examiner so why not write about different kinds of love? There’ve been many times when my husband has inspired my writing. So, here goes…
Today I won’t be spouting research, merely musing about the different kinds of love we hear mentioned, for what may become one part in a series.
So What is Love?
Here is my general conception of love: It’s a warm feeling based upon knowing and accepting someone. This relationship often involves mutual learning, caring and growth. Also, when you love someone you generally want them to be happy.
The dictionary.com definition of love had a few versions:
-a profoundly tender passionate affection for another person
-a sexual passion or desire
-a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection
Which could lead to another question (and article): Is love a concept, feeling or action?
But for today, below are some different kinds of love that we hear mentioned. These are not dictionary definitions; I am defining them with my stream-of-conscious associations. This will give you an opportunity to think about each kind of love and offer your definitions as well.
15 Different Kinds of Love:
Infatuation- loving feelings towards a love object that are largely based upon fantasy and idealization (instead of experience). Often when partners get to know each other, infatuation diminishes.
Romantic Love- An abiding love for a partner with whom you feel passion, attraction, caring and respect.
Eros- a passionate love usually involving sexual feelings for a love interest.
Companionate Love- feelings of warmth towards a friend with whom you love to spend time
Unconditional Love- A type of affection and caring that is so strong that you feel it consistently, regardless of what that other person does
Conditional Love- A love that requires specific action or conditions in order to be maintained. For example, at its extreme, a parent who gives very conditional love would only love his child when he gets straight A’s, becomes a surgeon and has two children. The love is based on outside conditions and when they do not occur, the love is withdrawn.
Puppy Love- A childish, innocent temporary crush on someone that you don’t know well.
Maternal Love- This term usually connotes love that is nurturing, accepting and protective. In actuality this love can also be given by a father etc.
Paternal Love- This term connotes love that involves guidance and some authority. Paternal love usually prepares a child to be ready for the outside world. Again, in reality this type of love is not gender specific.
Soulmate Love- This type of love is described as a love that has survived multiple life times. Not everyone believes in this concept.
Spiritual/Divine Love- This type of love recognizes the Divine light in everyone and everything. Love is given to everyone as an act of loving God.
Love of your country or patriotism- This is love for the place you live or the place that were born. It is a type of loyalty and a special feeling of belonging that you attribute to that specific geographic location.
Self-Love- This is a positive feeling that you have about who you are and what you deserve. It often is expressed by treating yourself well, respecting yourself, wanting yourself to be happy and expecting others to respect you too.
Brotherly Love- This term connotes having a feeling of love for your neighbor, because all humanity is considered to be part of a larger family of human beings.
Tough Love- This term is used to describe a love that is expressed by setting boundaries for the good of the other person. So for example, a parent may send their teenager to rehab if he is drug addicted, even if he does not want to go. They feel that this is an act of love because it stems from a desire for their son’s ultimate good and happiness.
Which Types of Love Have You Experienced?
Have I forgotten any other kinds of love? So many types of love are mentioned in our society. We understand these terms conceptually and most of us have had experiences of feeling these different kinds of love but most of us haven’t sat and meditated upon what love means to us and which kind we consciously want to give and receive in our relationships.
So today I ask you to consider the above different definitions of love and see if you can comment with any additions.
Also feel free to share the type of love you most want to give and receive in your life right now and which type of love feels the most challenging and why.
My Best in Love, (which kind do you ask?:)
Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a licensed psychologist and author of ‘Dating From the Inside Out: How to Use the Law of Attraction in Matters of the Heart’ by Atria Books, award Winner of the National ‘Best Books’ of 2008 in the category of Self-Help: Relationships. She’s the Director of http://www.mydatingschool.com which offers coaching and classes in unconscious mating. She was a speaker of The Learning Annex and an expert on television shows such as the CBS Early Show & the AM Northwest Early Show. She has been quoted in publications such as MSN.com, USA Weekend, Lifetime.com, Reader’s Digest, ‘Glamour,’ ‘Seventeen’ ‘Complete Woman’ magazine and the NY Times.