The Triangular Theory Of Love Sternberg, 1986

• Sternberg believed that the type and strength of one couple’s love could be determined by measuring the relative strength of the 3 components of Love… 1. Intimacy – feeling of closeness between two people… 2. Passion – drive leading to romantic attraction, physical attraction and eventually sexual involvement… 3. Commitment – decision to stay with the person and forgo similar relationships with others…

3 Components…

• The ideal ‘balanced’ situation would exist when each side of the ‘Love Triangle’ has been experienced with sufficient intensity. • Though ‘perfect balance’ is difficult to achieve, so Sternberg developed a ‘Typology of Love Relationships’ in order to accommodate these interactions between the 3 components (Intimacy, Passion & Commitment)

Intimac y

Passion

Commitme nt

Balance?

• Different types of love exist – depending on the presence/absence of intimacy, passion or commitment. • E.g. There can be relationships with intimacy and passion only or even passion on its own. • Types of love can be classified according to the Typology below…

Intimac y

Passion

Commitme nt

Typology of Love Relationships

• Sternberg noted a fault in his theory – knowing where you were in a relationship, but not how you got there. • Secondary theory: individuals start to form ideas/expectations about what love is. E.g. through watching others, reading books etc. • 1998: students interviewed about their personal expectations. Findings: • 25 common stories • The fairy tale story (story of a prince and a princess) • The gardening story (relationships left unattended will not survive)

Love as a Story

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