Companionate love

I was doing some further research into psychology, completely separate from my specification. I came across Sternberg’s Theory of Love. This is where I explain this beautiful theory and how it relates to us as well as my personal evaluation of the theory. This is also a practice for my EPQ 5000-word essay as I am experimenting with psychology based subjects so a scientific outlook will also be shown.

Companionate love consists of intimacy and commitment, but no passion. It is less passionate than “passionate love” but it’s long lasting, most often found among close friends. The intimacy is built on feelings of closeness, trust and honesty. Commitment is built on the desire for short-term relationships to be maintained in the long-term. Passion is a sexual or attractive desire between two individuals.

Some may argue that the need to be with someone is part of our genetic makeup, our brain forms and manages relationships with the attachment system. It tries to make sure we remain close to our loved ones (intimacy) by exposing us to certain emotions which result in certain behaviour.

When your friend doesn’t reply to your text, you may begin to feel anxious. This is your attachment system trying to reestablish contact with your friend by making you feel anxious (intimacy).

Your friend’s behaviour could make you feel jealous, worried, or obsessive, but as the frequency of these feelings increase, you start balancing the anxiety, absorption, bursts of joy…with love. This can lead to mistaking your activated attachment system with a passion. Some persuade themselves that “I feel jealous when my friend goes out without me, so that must mean I love them,” but this isn’t true love.

We need security to generate strength and comfort from. We have to feel calm in our friendship because true love means peace of mind.

“Still waters run deep.” This is companionate love.

I guess following this theory, it is possible to love your friend in a way similar to romantic relationships but missing passion needed to create them.

I understand that the anxiety is caused by the attachment system trying to regulate relationships with intimacy, the anxiety causes the behaviour of making contact with the person. I don’t know why the original person requires such intense intimacy to have outbursts of love, I guess either a sensitive attachment system or specific fears in relations to trust, loss and rejectment? As a topic of psychology, I believe this needs further research.

Research and inspiration from:

Photo credits to @jack_l_bronze_photography (Instagram).



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