Types of Love

The 7+ Types Of Love You’ll Probably Experience In This Life

Discover all the different types of love in the world, from ancient Greek terms for love to modern types of love.

7 Types of Love, according to the ancient Greeks

The ancient Greeks had seven words for love that corresponded to different types of love, ranging from physical love (eros) to purely spiritual love (agape). Here are the seven kinds of love according to the ancient Greeks. 

1. Eros: Love of the body

Eros was the Greek God of love and sexual desire. He was shooting golden arrows into the hearts of both mortals and immortals without warning. The Greeks feared that kind of love the most because it was dangerous and could get them into the most trouble. Eros is defined as divine beauty or lust. Eros is mainly based on sexual attraction and it is where the term “erotica” came from.

Example of Eros love: A young couple that meets and immediately feels attracted, and lustful, towards one another.

2. Philia: Love of the mind

Also know as brotherly love, Philia represents the sincere and platonic love. The kind of love you have for your brother or a really good friend. It was more valuable and more cherished than Eros. Philia exists when people share the same values and dispositions with someone and the feelings are reciprocated.

Example of Philia love: Two friends talk about how deeply they understand each other, and how that security and openness causes them to feel comfortable and taken care of.

3. Ludus: Playful love

Ludus is the flirtatious and teasing kind of love, the love mostly accompanied by dancing or laughter. It’s the child-like and fun kind of love. If you think about it; this generation loves Ludus more than anything else.

Example of Ludus love: Modern love at its finest, Ludus love is best described by thinking of two people who just want to have fun together, with little need for security or roots.

4. Pragma: Longstanding love

The everlasting love between a married couple which develops over a long period of time. Pragma was the highest form of love; the true commitment that comes from understanding, compromise and tolerance. It is pragmatic this is why it is referred to as “standing in love” rather than “falling in love” because it grows over time and requires profound understanding between lovers who have been together for many years.

Example of Pragma love: Think about your grandparents, and how they have endured so much, but have always chosen each other.

5. Agape: Love of the soul

Agape love is selfless love, the love for humanity. It is the closest to unconditional love. The love you give without expecting anything in return reflected in all charitable acts. It is the compassionate love that makes us sympathize with, help and connect to people we don’t know. The world needs more Agape love.

Example of Agape love: The person in your life that is always giving to others, and needing nothing in return. This is the way they show their love, and this is the way they are energized through love. By giving all that they have, and all that they are, to those around them, they find beauty in life.

6. Philautia: Love of the self

The ancient Greeks divided Philautia into two kinds: There is one that is pure selfish and seeks pleasure, fame, and wealth often leading to narcissism and there is another healthy kind of love we give ourselves. Philautia is essential for any relationship, we can only love others if we truly love ourselves and we can only care for others if we truly care for ourselves.

Example of Philautia love: Selfish Philautia love is the kind of love that takes and does not give back in return — this is someone who only uses others to excel in life. Think about the social climbers of the world. On the other hand, the positive kind of Philautia can be seen in a couple that is a union, not a melting pot. They both do their own things, but they come together and support each others own growth.

7. Storge: Love of the child

Storge is the love parents naturally feel for their children. It’s based on natural feelings and effortless love. Storge is the love that knows forgiveness, acceptance and sacrifice. It is the one that makes you feel secure, comfortable and safe.

Example of Storge love: Think about the kind of love your mother gives you, or your very best friend. It is rooted in friendship, and understanding, but there is also a deep emotional connection there.

12 Types of Love, as we experience it today

The author Mary McMahon in a Thought Catalog article outlined 12 realistic and relatable types of love. All these types of love are in fact so relatable that you’re bound to have experienced some of them. 

1. New Love

Oh, this love is so fun. You don’t even realize you love them. It’s more of a ‘like,’ honestly, because you’d never admit to yourself it’s love. It’s not a deep love, but more of a “call me back, and also don’t get hit by a truck, thanks,” kind of love. But regardless, it’s a bundle of nerves and a whole bunch of fun at the same time. It’s miserable because it can be taken away so quickly, but you’re also just so damn hopeful it’ll last. It’s the cutest of love, next to old people love, which I’ll get to.

2. Routine Love

You’ve been dating for a while, and you love each other. It’s just a fact. There’s this cozy comfort in this person. Routine sounds like it’s a bad thing, but it’s really not. It’s simplicity. There’s no questioning. There’s really no hiding your feelings for each other and it’s great. They’re right there for you, and you’re right there back. There’s comfort in that.

3. Disgusting Love

Get a room, sickos.

4. Infatuation Love

You love the idea of this person. By god, you want them, but outside of that, there’s really no connection. This love is often fleeting, a whirlwind. There’s so much about this person that you want to be a part of of, but low and behold, there’s not much meat to the relationship now, is there? You love the thought of being with this person, and you want to be with them. But once you have them in your grasp, you realize that you aren’t quite meant for each other the way you thought. This kind of love can be the one that breaks your heart in the easiest way.

5. Friend Love

You want to love this friend, but it’s just not there. Like you love them, but you don’t love them. It’s just not there for you. You’d be perfect for each other, but they just don’t get it going for you, hence why you’re friends. But it’s okay. You provide a different support for each other than a lover ever could.

6. Fake Love

You want it to work so badly. But guess what? It doesn’t. So you force this idea onto yourself that this person is “good enough” for you and you are “good enough” for them, so you march along onto this syllabus that was handed to you during childhood about what you should be doing with your love life – fall in love, marriage, house, babies, etc. But not with this person maybe. No, cut it off and find yourself an “In It To Win It Love.”

7. The “One” Love

They’re it. Plain and simple. It might take a while for you to realize it, but they’re it. You might break up, get back together, break up again, etc, but at the end of it all, you realize that there is no one quite on earth like this person. You’d give everything for them. They’re so perfect that you almost hate them for it, because you didn’t think there would be a person in the world that could make you feel this way.

8. In It To Win It Love

You guys are in it. You’re not giving up on this. You’re partners in life. You can somehow watch this person have food poisoning and still want to have sex with them (much later). You’ve been through it, whether it is losing a job or having a child, buying house or the death of a parent…and they were there. They were supporting you the whole way through it. You couldn’t imagine life without them. I’d like to think that this is the next step to “The One Love,” because it goes far deeper than that.

9. Tragic Love

It ended and it shouldn’t have. Unrequited. This kind of love is deeply embedded into your soul, and it passes through you slowly, but eventually you heal. You will always feel the pangs of this love, but it’s never quite the same as it was before. And you know this. Your love would never be the same if you were to be together again. And everyone knows this. No matter what you do or who you love thereafter, you’ll always remember this person. Perhaps, in another lifetime, you’ll be together.

10. Your Parents’ Love

Now this can be taken two ways, the kind where your parents love you even if you totally screw up or the love they have for each other. I’m going to talk about the latter. Their love isn’t always the best. They’ve fought. They’ve hugged it out. They’ve learned how to make it through their 20s, 30s, 40s and so on…and you’ve witnessed it all. They’ve made the biggest impression on how to love. It may or may not have messed you up, honestly, but it might’ve shown you what kind of love you’re looking for whether it’s the same or different from your own.

11. Unhealthy Love

Ugh, we all have that ex. They can’t have you, so they want you. They finally get you, and they don’t want you any more. It’s a vicious cycle. But you still care for them, because it went deeper than that. After all, you had a different kind of love before. You had a new love or a routine love or something else. But it ended and now you still care for each other, but it can never be again. Point blank. You’re toxic to each other.

12. Old People Love

The cutest love of all, obviously. Who hasn’t welled up watching two old people hold hands in the park? They’ve been through it all. Even the most garbage parts about a relationship, they stuck through it. They’re more of a partnership than anything else. They’ve learned forgiveness, strength, perseverance through each other. It’s a long love. It’s a tragic kind of love because one must always go before the other, but they know that they’d never want anyone else by their side than their mate.

A Comprehensive List of All Other Types of Love

There are probably as many types of love in the world as there are types of people in the world. Here is a list of other types of love and what they mean.

    • Tough Love: This is a love that is strict and all about holding you accountable and responsible.
    • Unrequited Love: This type of love is a lack of love from one partner. In other words, unrequited love is when someone loves someone else but the other person does not love them back. As Krizzia Paolyn, poetically put it unrequited love is “a love that is impossible because the person you love doesn’t love you back the same way.”
    • Obsessive Love: This is a dangerous kind of love, one that can often lead to possessiveness and even physical harm. To obsessive lovers, love is mania. This kind of love is always refereed to as “mania” love.
    • Forbidden Love: These are the star crossed lovers, the Romeo’s and the Juliette’s of the world. This love is almost always tragic, or it carries with it deep familial or cultural consequences. This love is strong, however, for those who choose to continue loving those whom they are forbidden to love, are clearly deeply connected and enamoured with their partner.
    • One-Sided Love: This is different than unrequited love. When you are in a one-sided partnership, you have both entered into a relationship, but one party puts in more effort than the other, and the other party seems to take advantage of that.
    • Constructive Love: This kind of love grow you. It is the kind of love you have with your best friend, or a partner that consistently wants you to expand as a human being. This love calls you out on your shit, but they do not judge you — they help you to become the best version of yourself.
    • Enabling Love: This is the kind of love that turns a blind eye to the things their partner needs to work on. Often, family members or partners of those with addictions will start off with this love, until the situation requires more of them. Think about a mother giving her son money knowing that he will most likely spend it on harmful habits. Or your father saying “Whatever makes you happy” even though he knows that you are doing something wrong.
    • Competitive Love: This usually exists between two highly motivated people, and can show up in two different ways. In a negative light, two people cannot be happy for one another’s accomplishments — they are always in competition with each other. In a positive light, both people are competitive, but they support each other and push each other to succeed — they are motivated to be the best for each other .
    • Resentful Love: This is the kind of love that usually exists in a relationship where one person has given up a dream or a career for another. Over time, they resent their partner for allowing them to make them their whole world, and feel like they do not have much to live for outside of their relationship.
    • Everlasting Love: This is the kind of love that lasts no matter what. Distance and time can come between these two people, but when they see each other, the feelings flood back. They are always connected, even when they are not.
    • Artistic Love: This is a muse relationship. This love exists between an artist and the person who inspires them deeply. This love is often tumultuous because there is so much passion there, and it can often be one sided or short-lived when the artists feels like they have found a new muse in another human being.
    • Distant Love: This is the kind of love that exists from a distance. When you love someone, but you never act on it. You don’t even truly know that much about them — you just feel deeply for them, and would rather nurture that from a distance than ruin the fantasy of who they are.
    • Explorative Love: This is the kind of love that fills your bones when you touch down in a new city, or country, and you feel an overwhelmingly strong sense of home. You may not have been born in this place, but you are immediately sure that you belong there.
    • Momentary Love: This is the kind of love that swells within you in the middle of moments; the kind of love that occurs when you are sitting with a friend and everything goes quiet. You look at them and your cells burst with happiness and gratitude for them. You feel lucky that they are in your life.
    • Switch Love: This kind of love is like a light-switch. One moment, you are completely enamoured with someone. However, once they do something to hurt you, or they say something or act in a way that turns you off, suddenly, all feeling is lost for them. You are almost repulsed by them, and cannot continue the relationship.
    • Curious Love: This kind of love is never strong at first. There is a gentle curiosity that bubbles within you. You do not love this person, but you know you could grow to love them. You know that they would treat you well.

Writing makes me feel alive. Words heal me.

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