In our constantly evolving world, one thing remains the same... Everyone desires loving relationships in their life, but few of us realize that far from being timeless and universal, romantic love is, in fact, a modern construct.
But there are many other ways to love, not all of which are consistent with romantic love. By preoccupying ourselves with romantic love, we risk neglecting other types of love that are more stable or readily available and that may, especially in the longer term, prove more healing and fulfilling than romantic love.
Did you know that there are 7 types of Love? These types of love have been written by Plato and Aristotle and are listed below:
Eros is sexual or passionate love. It is the most common type of romantic love that is pursued in our modern world. In Greek myth, it is a form of madness brought about by one of Cupid’s arrows. The arrow breaches us and we ‘fall’ in love,
The hallmark of philia, or friendship, is shared goodwill. Aristotle believed that a person can bear goodwill to another for one of three reasons:
a. that he is useful
b. that he is pleasant; and, above all,
c. that he is good, that is, rational and virtuous.
Friendships founded on goodness are associated not only with mutual benefit but also with companionship, dependability, and trust.
For Plato, the best kind of friendship is that which lovers have for each other. It is a philia born out of eros, and that in turn feeds back into eros to strengthen and develop it, transforming it from a lust for possession into a shared desire for a higher level of understanding of the self, the other, and the world.
Storge or familial love is a kind of philia pertaining to the love between parents and their children. More broadly, storge is the fondness born out of familiarity or dependency and, unlike eros or philia, does not hang on our personal qualities.
Agape is universal love, such as the love for strangers, nature, or God. Also called charity by Christian thinkers, agape can be said to encompass the modern concept of altruism, defined as an unselfish concern for the welfare of others. More generally, altruism, or agape, helps to build and maintain the psychological, social, and, indeed, environmental fabric that shields, sustains, and enriches us. Given the increasing anger and division in our society and the state of our planet, we could all do with quite a bit more agape.
Ludus is playful or uncommitted love. It can involve activities such as teasing and dancing, or more overt flirting, seducing, and conjugating. The focus is on fun, and sometimes also on conquest, with no strings attached. Ludus relationships are casual, undemanding, and uncomplicated but, for all that, can be very long-lasting. Ludus works best when both parties are mature and self-sufficient. Problems arise when one party mistakes ludus for eros
Pragma is a kind of practical love founded on reason or duty and one’s longer-term interests. Sexual attraction takes a back seat in favour of personal qualities and compatibilities, shared goals, and making it work. In the days of arranged marriages, pragma must have been very common.
Philautia is self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy.
Healthy self-love is akin to self-esteem, which is our cognitive and, above all, emotional appraisal of our own worth relative to that of others. More than that, it is the matrix through which we think, feel, and act, and reflects and determines our relation to ourselves, to others, and to the world.
Unhealthy self-love is akin to hubris. In Ancient Greece, a person could be accused of hubris if he placed himself above the gods, or, like certain modern politicians, above the greater good. Many believed that hubris led to destruction or nemesis. Today, hubris has come to mean an inflated sense of one’s status, abilities, or accomplishments, especially when accompanied by haughtiness or arrogance. As it disregards truth, hubris promotes injustice, conflict, and enmity.