A2 Coursework: Theories of Love Male and Female Differences

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¶ … Love / Male Female Differences

Theories of Love & Male and Female Differences

Theories of Love

Sternberg proposed a Triangular Theory of Love (Sternberg, 1986), in which each point of the triangle shape represented an important element or ingredient for love. The three elements that he included were intimacy, passion and commitment. Intimacy, according to Sternberg, refers to the feelings that bring a couple to feel close to each other, concern for the welfare of one another, and a sense of happiness, shared positive regard, support and intimate communication. Passion refers to the sexual arousal one feels for the other, and the belief that one can have their sexual needs met by this person and vice versa. Commitment refers to the conscious decision to be in love and to be with this person. Each of these elements develop differently over the course of a relationship, such that intimacy grows over time, passion is often strong at the beginning and dies down later, and commitment also grows over time. With these three elements it is possible to differentiate between different kinds of love, based on the relative contributions of each element. For example, consummate love includes all three elements, and is the type of relationship that most people strive to achieve, yet there are other kinds of love, such as romantic love which has a great deal of passion and intimacy, but lacks in the area of commitment. Infatuation can be described as purely passion, while liking someone or being someone's best friend might be described as only intimacy. Empty love is characterized by a relationship that still has commitment, but has lost the intimacy and passion.

In some ways Sternberg's theory of love is similar to other theories,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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