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Психология A TRIANGULAR THEORY OF LOVE
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Text 16

According to psychologist Robert Sternberg, love varies from one relationship to another because its mix of components differ. Sternberg suggests that love has three possible components: intimacy, passion and commitment. In his theory, intimacy is the emotional component of love. It refers to feeling close and bound together by mutual affection. Passion is love’s motivational component. It is the drive that leads to romance, physical attraction, and sexual consummation. Finally, there is commitment, the cognitive component of love. It refers to the decision to label a certain relationship “love” and to seek to maintain that relationship over time.

Different types of love, Sternberg claims, have different amounts of these three components. Liking consists of intimacy without passion or commitment. Infatuation, or love at first sight, is passion alone, in the absence of commitment or intimacy. When a person is committed to a relationship that lacks both intimacy and passion, the result is empty love. Romantic love is intimacy and passion combined, without much commitment (though commitment may come later). When passion is absent but intimacy and commitment are present, we have what is called companionate love, the kind of love that sometimes occurs after many years of marriage. Passion and commitment without intimacy produced fatuous love, the type that is found in a marriage that follows a whirlwind courtship. The parents have a strong sexual attraction and have decided to share their lives, but they have not yet developed much knowledge of each other or deep feelings of emotional closeness. What Sternberg refers to as consummate love is the richest of all; it consists of all three components – intimacy, passion and commitment.

One strength of Sternberg’s theory is that, in identifying love’s structure (its components), it can account for love’s many variations. Another strength is that the theory can deal with love as a process, as something that changes over time. It allows us to describe change in terms of shifts in the mix of love’s three components. In a marriage, for instance, the passion component may fade over the years, while intimacy and commitment remain strong. Fatuous love, characterized by passion and commitment, may gradually acquire intimacy and become consummate love.

Sternberg’s theory also has some limitations, the most basic of which is the fact that it is primarily descriptive. While it defines different types of love in terms of three components, it gives us no framework for understanding why these different types occur and who is most likely to experience each one.


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  • - A TRIANGULAR THEORY OF LOVE

    Text 16 According to psychologist Robert Sternberg, love varies from one relationship to another because its mix of components differ. Sternberg suggests that love has three possible components: intimacy, passion and commitment. In his theory, intimacy is the emotional component of love. It refers to feeling close and bound together by mutual affection. Passion is love’s motivational component. It is the drive that leads to romance, physical attraction, and sexual consummation. Finally,... [читать подробенее]


  • - A TRIANGULAR THEORY OF LOVE

    Text 16 According to psychologist Robert Sternberg, love varies from one relationship to another because its mix of components differ. Sternberg suggests that love has three possible components: intimacy, passion and commitment. In his theory, intimacy is the emotional component of love. It refers to feeling close and bound together by mutual affection. Passion is love’s motivational component. It is the drive that leads to romance, physical attraction, and sexual consummation. Finally,... [читать подробенее]