Love, while wonderful, isn’t black and white, and it sure isn’t simple. There are lots of different types of love and we experience different types with the various people in our lives. Here are the types of love:
Romantic Love. This is often what people think of when they first think about love. Romantic love occurs between two people who are in a relationship and care deeply for each other. They are attracted to each other as friends, as well as physically and emotionally. Romantic love is the love we feel for our partners, and is often accompanied by things like butterflies in our stomach or thinking about them all the time.
Companionate Love. This is the kind of love we feel for our friends and we can also feel it with our partners as they grow into being our best friends. Companionate love is emotional and spiritual but lacks the physical aspect that romantic love has. With companionate love we care deeply about someone, love the way they contribute to our lives and want to see them happy. We are comfortable with them and have a routine of being together that bring happiness and comfort to both parties.
Unconditional Love. This is the type of love that we feel with our families, or in some cases, with very good friends. Unconditional love means that we will never stop loving someone, even if they hurt or disappoint us. When we love someone unconditionally there is no worry breaking up because the love is forever.
Physical Love. This is also known as lust, and describes the chemical/physical attraction that we can feel towards someone. Physical love may can be felt on it’s own or it may be combined with other types, such as romantic love. Physical love is an attraction to a person’s physical appearance, although a person’s personality can also play a role in our attraction to them as well. Physical love can often develop into more when we get to know the person better, which is often the case with new couples.
Toxic Love. Toxic love happens when we love someone who isn’t good for us. For example, if you are in a relationship with someone who is abusive or dangerous to you in some way, you may very well know that the relationship isn’t healthy but you love them regardless. It’s characterized by the feeling of an invisible force that draws you into the relationship even if it’s not good for you. Toxic love is often characterized by a feeling of desperation and a sense of urgency to be together, but not in the stable and healthy way that other types of love are. The reasons for being in a relationship that involves toxic love often have more to do with the individuals self esteem than the other person in the relationship.
Unrequited love. Unrequited love is the experience of loving someone who either doesn’t love you back, or doesn’t know how you feel. Unrequited love can be painful and you may feel “lovesick” for the other person. You may yearn for them and the longing can be difficult to endure. You may have to see them with another partner, which can make you feel particularly pained. Unrequited love can be changed if you eventually end up together, but it can also last for years if you continue to harbor feelings for someone without it ever materializing into a relationship.