How to Understand what Kind of Love Relationship you Have


How to Understand what Kind of Love Relationship you Have

A true love relationship is a topic so mysterious and yet widely shared throughout books, songs, and movies. We hear about it everyday, and felt love during some point in our lives whether those feelings were reciprocated or not. And yet, the question, “What is love” still exist.

Humans are fascinated by the concept of falling in love, and only very few could honestly admit they have no interest in it. Love is an extremely addicted passion that resembles a drug itself.

It’s known that the appetite for love could be just as strong as food and sex. The love humans had for other people gave them the motivation to thrive for greatness or do something crazy. You could find plenty of funny examples from this article in Cracked.

The love we have for objects such as foods, items, or places are different than the love we have for people. Rather than loving an object that can’t love us back, loving another person ignites bursting chemicals inside our brains that lets us feel connected with something other than ourselves. It creates a sense of belonging we all want.

Not too long ago, as I briefed someone about the concept of love, it led to a practical theory regarding the Triangular Theory of Love. It was developed by Yale psychologist, Robert Sternberg, back in 1986. His theory dealt with the relationships between couples and the different stages they might be in regarding their love relationship.

One person might love their partner more than the other, or perhaps neither partner have feelings as they did in the past. Robert’s theory breaks into 3 parts, which relates to the evolutionary process of a love relationship. The three elements he refers to are Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment.

Love Relationship

How to Understand what Kind of Love Relationship you Have


Friendships count in this category because there’s no passion or commitment in it. You feel intimate when you’re emotionally close to someone and want to display your feelings towards them. But this usually points to only your personal interests, hobbies or personal affairs.

Rather than creating trust with them through physical contact, it’s formed through a collection of words and actions that make the friendship stronger. The root of intimacy creates a bond with someone that makes us want to share our thoughts, feelings, and time with them.  

Normally, we have a sense of intimacy whenever we form a bond with someone and get time to know them. This takes the relationship to a different level than with someone who’s just an acquaintance.

I’ll be more comfortable telling my friend my inner thoughts rather than some random stranger I met in the subway. If you only have intimacy in a relationship, this doesn’t immediately lead to love or passion.

A basic form of intimacy is developing a true friendship with someone because you feel comfortable enough to share your ideas and beliefs with them. An example would be receiving a roommate who you have no knowledge of. At first, you’ll be cautious and worried because you’re not familiar with them. But overtime as you get to know them, become comfortable and more open. This leads to sharing your personal thoughts with them and creating a strong friendship that lasts longer than the average friendship.


Passion is an intense emotion that stirs your mind and drive you to push beyond your limits. You’re driven by passion to chase after your goals and dreams. The reason passion works this way is because it combines your emotional intensity with arousal. In other words, it brings out your sexual driven nature.

When you have a love relationship with someone that deals solely in passion, it never lasts long because it’s a relationship without any tight bonds. Another way to think of passion in a relationship is lustful behaviors.

When you target your passion towards humans, you get into the habit of creating, “one night stands,” and “flings”. I’m sure you’re aware of the lustful taste you have towards someone you liked, but could never form a relationship with.

Examples would be admiring a movie star or singer you would like to have a sexual encounter with. Another would be fantasizing about sleeping with someone from your neighborhood or even a close friend. These kind of thoughts is why passion works so well in initializing a relationship but never lasting. 


This is perhaps one of the most common forms of “love” that I normally come across with many troubled married couples. This is when the couple decide to make a conscious choice to remain together due to external factors.

For example, couples who know their marriage is over decide to remain together for the sake of the children or money problems. Other people remain together due to religious beliefs or traditions.

Though both couple no longer love each other, they stay together with a single goal to achieve bigger than themselves. A few married couples I came across mentioned they only stayed together for over two decades to prevent their children from being raised by a single parent. But after those years passed they had grown so used to each other that they couldn’t even imagine living without the other. 

Commitment marriages normally become more of a love-hate relationship after a certain point. Some people would describe this decision as self-destructive as some would call it necessary for the greater good.

With thousands of different traditions comes millions of different opinions upon the sole decision of divorce. For example, in most Asian cultures, the duty to remain married are more important than to the average American.

Combining the Different Emotions

Above were the emotions you undergo if you only used one in a relationship. However, when you start combining the different types of emotions you experience in a love relationship, you tend to develop different feelings towards your significant other.

Combining Intimacy and Passion

This creates a romantic love in the relationship because it excites and energizes both partners to share their interests while intensifying their passion sessions. These two ingredients are what normally cause a relationship to start.

It begins with passion where both partner become attracted to one another, and after time, develops into intimacy. This is usually a healthy way to start a relationship, and very custom in the Western part of the world. This is how we get to know someone before choosing to become fully committed to them.

Combining Intimacy with Commitment

This combination gives birth to either a very strong friendship or a close connection in a loveless marriage. It’s where we form the BFF status with another person and stay with them for long-term, even considering the individual to be family to us. When this regards to marriage, this is when people get married for the sake of marriage.

Normal circumstances for this type of marriage would be either an arranged marriage or hooking up with someone at a certain age to avoid being alone. Though no deep passion is in the mix, both partners are still comfortable with each other.

Combining Passion with Commitment

We normally combine these ingredients when we’re young but slow down after we age. This is basically quickly forming a relationship with someone based on passions alone. Perhaps the sexual experiences were so great that it caused both partner to believe they found true love.

These type of relationships always start off strong due to its passionate nature, but are short-lived because it’s a fire that eventually dims itself. If a relationship relies solely on sex and pleasure, they’re not getting a chance to know the other person’s thoughts and beliefs.

It could feel like you have everything you want in this type of relationship, but overtime this creates a loneliness in your hears because you truly don’t know them, nor do they know you.

Combining All Three

This will be the standard goal all couples should thrive for while in a love relationship. This is where all three emotions are present and shared equally by both partners.

In a loving relationship, you need a sense of intimacy to develop a connection with someone. From there, you thrive on passion to intensify those emotions. In the end, to make it last, you need commitment that gives you the conscious decision to be in the relationship and work on keeping it alive.

Unfortunately, despite what movies and social media portray, people don’t experience this type of love so often. And people who seek after this perfect unity of love normally feel cheated when they’re in a relationship that doesn’t give all 3 values.

Perhaps a person has an intimate friendship with someone, but wants to bring it to a passionate level. Or maybe they have a friend they want to take from a passionate level to a commitment level. It’s difficult combining all three values together because we’re not expected to do that alone. It must be maintained and structured by both partners to keep it alive.


About Author

Besides being random and dealing with ADHD from time to time, Michael Gregory II is the CEO of the Self Development Workshop. He's traveled to over a dozen countries, counselled a variety of people, and continues furthering his knowledge in self-development, depression, and mastering your happiness. On his lazy days, he enjoy watching people, reading in Starbucks, and speaking to random strangers. (Yeah, he’s weird.)


  1. Hey Januah!

    Back in my earlier years, there was a girl that I liked and she liked me. However, what didn’t match was the fact my friends didn’t approve of her because of her recent dating history. I won’t go too deep into it, but it wasn’t a pretty history if you could CARFAX her.

    Now of course, since I’m younger and sillier, I didn’t want to upset my friends and be mocked. However, when possible, I did sneak my way to spend some alone time with her since I still liked her. Although we remained friends, there was always that spark of attraction that made things interesting. We flirted more times than I could probably count. We sent each other naughty messages.

    Eventually, my friends discovered what I was doing on my spare time and made fun of the situation. But due to the amount of times I spent with her and actually understood her, the less it bothered me because I knew the truth. And using that knowledge, I persuaded them to spend time with her too. We all went out together, had a great time, and before I knew it, they actually thought she was pretty awesome.

    Did we end up dating after that? I’ll get to that point later.

    Now you must be wondering what was the point of me telling you that?

    You’re often going to come across a situation where there’s someone you’re interested in, but someone else in your life won’t approve of it. It can be your friends, family, or even your peers. And that situation will make you feel uncomfortable. You want their approval but you also want a chance to find true love. But if it’s something I’ve come to notice after all these years, the more you remove other people opinions about a person and get to know them for yourself, the less other people criticism will bother you.

    It’s like pizza. If you never had pizza before but always heard people complaining about how awful it was, you’ll feel discriminated from trying it out. However, once you tried a slice of pizza and realized just how great it was, other people opinions about it wouldn’t matter as much.

    So to answer your question, spend time with the boy you’re interested in. Don’t let your brother influence your decisions. That way, you remove his opinions from the situation. Get to know the guy you like as a person, and see if you’re compatible with him. You don’t have to date him, kiss him, or even hug him. Understand how his mind operates and if his chemistry matches yours.

    And once you understand the type of person he is, subtly find ways to introduce him to your brother. You can tell him he’s only your friend and nothing else. You can tell him you’re dating, but nothing serious has happened yet. You want to show your brother you can think for yourself as a mature woman. You want to clarify you can make your own decisions. If this boy ends up being a jerk or someone you’re not interested in, take the initiative to leave him. If there’s potential in the relationship, see where it takes you.

    As for what happened between and that girl I mentioned earlier. Nope. We never officially dated and that’s always been something I wondered about. Although we remained friends, there was always that spark of attraction that remained between us. But overtime as I got to know her, she became more of a sister than a lover.

    Hope this helps!

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