Happy Inner Self

Decoding the Complexity of Love: From Liking to Attachment Styles

The Difference Between Liking and Loving

Have you ever wondered about the distinction between liking someone and loving them? It’s a question that has fascinated philosophers, psychologists, and everyday people for centuries.

While the concepts of liking and loving may seem similar at first glance, they actually involve different emotional states and levels of commitment. In this article, we’ll explore Rubin’s theory of liking vs.

loving, and the Color Wheel Model of Love, to shed light on these complex emotions. Rubin’s theory of liking vs.


Psychologist Zick Rubin proposed a theory to differentiate between liking and loving someone. According to Rubin, liking is often characterized by feelings of appreciation and admiration for someone’s qualities.

When we like someone, we enjoy spending time with them, appreciate their company, and may feel a physical attraction to them. However, liking does not necessarily involve deeper emotional connections or long-term commitments.

On the other hand, loving someone goes beyond mere liking. Love involves caring deeply for another person and feeling a bond with them.

It often includes dependent needs, such as the need for emotional support and comfort. Loving someone also comes with a predisposition to help and support them in their goals and desires.

Love is often exclusive, creating a sense of exclusiveness and intimacy between two individuals. Rubin also suggests that love is characterized by absorption, where we feel a deep sense of connection and become preoccupied with our loved one.

The Color Wheel Model of Love

Another theory that explores the different styles of love is the Color Wheel Model of Love. This model suggests that love can be divided into three primary styles: eros, ludus, and storge.

Eros is passionate and romantic love, characterized by intense desires and a focus on physical and erotic attraction. It is often associated with the early stages of a relationship, where the couple experiences a strong sense of infatuation and desire for each other.

Eros love is typically seen in the context of a romantic relationship, where passion and desire play a significant role. Ludus, on the other hand, is playful and fun-loving love.

It is characterized by a focus on having a good time, enjoying shared activities, and engaging in light-hearted flirtation. Ludus love is often seen in the initial stages of dating or in casual relationships where the emphasis is placed on having fun and not taking things too seriously.

Storge love is the deep, affectionate love that develops from a strong friendship foundation. It is characterized by a sense of familiarity, trust, and deep emotional connection.

Storge love is often seen in long-term relationships and marriages, where couples have developed strong emotional bonds based on friendship and mutual support.

Secondary love styles

Apart from the primary styles mentioned above, several secondary love styles exist. These include mania, pragma, and agape.

Mania love is characterized by obsessive and possessive behavior. It often involves intense emotions, jealousy, and an excessive need for reassurance from the partner.

Mania love can be tumultuous and may lead to frequent emotional highs and lows. Pragma love, on the other hand, is realistic and practical.

It is based on rational choices and compatibility rather than passionate feelings. Pragma lovers tend to seek partners who fulfill specific criteria and are compatible in terms of shared values, lifestyles, and goals.

Agape love is selfless and unconditional. It is characterized by a willingness to give without expecting anything in return.

Agape lovers prioritize the needs and well-being of their partners above their own and are always ready to sacrifice for the sake of their loved ones. By understanding the different styles of love, we can better comprehend the complexity of human emotions and relationships.

While some relationships may be driven by passion and desire, others may be rooted in deep friendship or practical considerations. In conclusion, the distinction between liking and loving someone is essential to understanding the depth of our emotions and commitments.

Rubin’s theory of liking vs. loving and the Color Wheel Model of Love provide valuable insights into the different emotional states and levels of commitment involved in these two concepts.

By recognizing and appreciating the various styles of love, we can navigate our relationships with clarity and understanding. Lee’s 6 Styles of Loving

In addition to Rubin’s theory and the Color Wheel Model of Love, another influential theory in the realm of understanding love is Lee’s 6 Styles of Loving.

John Alan Lee, a psychologist and relationships expert, proposed that the primary love styles can be combined to create secondary love styles. Let’s delve into Lee’s theory and explore how these combinations result in unique ways of experiencing love.

Lee identified six primary love styles: eros, ludus, storge, mania, pragma, and agape. Each of these primary styles represents a particular pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving in the context of romantic relationships.

However, Lee also acknowledged that individuals can possess a mix of primary love styles, leading to the emergence of secondary love styles. 1.

Romantic Love (Eros + Storge)

The first secondary love style is romantic love, which combines the eros and storge primary styles. Romantic lovers are passionate and emotionally connected.

They seek deep emotional intimacy and share a strong bond with their partners. Romantic love is characterized by intense emotions, dreamy idealization, and a desire for physical and emotional closeness.

2. Playful Love (Eros + Ludus)

The combination of eros and ludus primary love styles gives rise to playful love.

Playful lovers prioritize fun, spontaneity, and shared laughter. They engage in light-hearted banter, playful teasing, and enjoy exploring new adventures together.

Playful love encourages a sense of lightness, enjoyment, and joy within the relationship. 3.

Possessive Love (Eros + Mania)

When eros and mania primary styles fuse, possessive love emerges. Possessive lovers experience intense infatuation and often become obsessive in their relationships.

They may exhibit jealous and possessive behavior, constantly seeking reassurance and attention from their partners. While possessive love is driven by strong emotions and desires, it can also lead to unhealthy dynamics if not managed carefully.

4. Realistic Love (Pragma + Storge)

Combining the pragma and storge primary styles gives rise to realistic love.

Realistic lovers prioritize compatibility, shared values, and practical considerations in their relationships. They approach love with a pragmatic mindset, seeking partners who align with their long-term goals and aspirations.

Realistic love emphasizes stability, trust, and a shared vision of the future. 5.

Altruistic Love (Storge + Agape)

The fusion of storge and agape primary styles results in altruistic love. Altruistic lovers are compassionate, selfless, and prioritize the well-being of their partners above their own.

They possess a deep sense of empathy and willingly sacrifice their own needs for the sake of their loved ones. Altruistic love is characterized by unconditional acceptance and an unwavering commitment to supporting and caring for the partner.

6. Pragmatic Love (Pragma + Agape)

The final secondary love style is pragmatic love, which combines pragma and agape primary styles.

Pragmatic lovers prioritize practical considerations and compatibility but also demonstrate selflessness and a desire to support their partners. They seek long-term harmony and stability in their relationships, valuing both practicality and selfless acts of love.

It is important to note that these secondary love styles are not entirely distinct from one another. In reality, individuals may exhibit a combination of traits and behaviors from multiple styles, leading to a complex and unique experience of love.

Triangular Theory of Love

Another theory that explores the dynamics of love is the

Triangular Theory of Love, developed by psychologist Robert J. Sternberg.

Sternberg proposed that love consists of three essential components: intimacy, passion, and commitment. According to his theory, different combinations of these components result in distinct types of love.

1. Romantic Love (Intimacy + Passion)

Romantic love, as per the Triangular Theory, is characterized by a strong emotional and physical connection between partners.

It combines both intimacy, which involves feelings of closeness, sharing, and emotional support, and passion, which encompasses intense desires and sexual attraction. Romantic love often represents the early stages of a relationship, where partners experience a heightened sense of infatuation and excitement.

2. Companionate Love (Intimacy + Commitment)

Companionate love focuses on the emotional bond and deep connection between partners.

It combines intimacy with commitment, which refers to the intention to remain in a long-term relationship. Companionate love is often seen in long-lasting relationships or marriages where the initial passion may have subsided, but the emotional connection and commitment remain strong.

3. Fatuous Love (Passion + Commitment)

Fatuous love is characterized by a combination of passion and commitment, without the deep emotional intimacy found in other types of love.

It often involves a whirlwind romance or impulsive commitment without a strong foundation of emotional connection. While passionate and committed, partners in fatuous love may lack the depth of intimacy found in other forms of love.

4. Consummate Love (Intimacy + Passion + Commitment)

The ultimate ideal of love, according to Sternberg’s theory, is consummate love.

This type of love involves a perfect balance of all three components: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Consummate love represents the ideal relationship, where partners experience deep emotional connections, intense desire, and long-term commitment.

However, achieving consummate love requires ongoing effort and maintenance from both partners. Understanding these various components and combinations of love styles can help individuals navigate their relationships with greater awareness and insight.

It highlights the multifaceted nature of love and emphasizes that different relationships may prioritize different components and styles of love. By recognizing and appreciating these differences, individuals can better understand their own needs and preferences in relationships and build stronger, more fulfilling connections with their partners.

In conclusion, the combination of primary love styles proposed by Lee and the

Triangular Theory of Love suggested by Sternberg offers valuable frameworks for comprehending the complexities of love. Lee’s theory demonstrates how primary love styles can be combined to form unique secondary love styles, while Sternberg’s theory underscores the significance of intimacy, passion, and commitment in love relationships.

Both theories deepen our understanding of the various components and dynamics involved in the experience of love, enabling individuals to navigate relationships with a greater level of self-awareness and insight

Attachment Theory of Love

When it comes to understanding the complexities of love and relationships, attachment theory provides valuable insights into how our early experiences shape our attachment styles and influence our romantic connections. Developed by Hazan and Shaver, attachment theory suggests that our childhood relationships with our parents or primary caregivers can influence the way we form and maintain relationships later in life.

Let’s explore the attachment styles identified in this theory and how they impact our romantic experiences. 1.

Secure Attachment Style

Individuals with a secure attachment style have a positive view of themselves and others. They feel comfortable with emotional intimacy and are able to trust and rely on their partners.

Securely attached individuals are open to both giving and receiving support and seek out healthy and balanced relationships. People with a secure attachment style tend to have more satisfying and stable relationships, as they have learned to communicate their needs effectively and feel secure in the bonds they share with their partners.

2. Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment Style

Anxious/ambivalent attachment style stems from inconsistent caregiving in childhood.

Individuals with this attachment style often have a negative self-image and a tendency to worry about their worthiness and the stability of their relationships. They crave closeness and reassurance but may also experience fear of abandonment and doubt their partner’s feelings towards them.

Anxious/ambivalent individuals often seek constant validation and reassurance from their partners and may exhibit clingy or demanding behavior. These patterns can lead to higher levels of relationship conflict and dissatisfaction unless both partners are responsive to each other’s needs.

3. Avoidant Attachment Style

Avoidant attachment style develops when caregivers are consistently unresponsive or rejecting in childhood.

Individuals with an avoidant attachment style tend to be uncomfortable with emotional intimacy and may struggle with trust. They may avoid emotional dependence on their partners and prefer to maintain their independence.

Avoidant individuals often suppress their own needs and emotions as a way of self-protection. They may struggle with vulnerability and struggle to establish and maintain long-term relationships.

However, with self-awareness and a willingness to communicate, avoidant individuals can learn to develop more secure attachment styles and form healthier relationships.

Attachment styles and relationship outcomes

Our attachment styles have a significant impact on the quality and stability of our romantic relationships. Securely attached individuals are more likely to have satisfying relationships characterized by trust, communication, and emotional intimacy.

Anxious/ambivalent individuals may struggle with trust issues, experience heightened levels of jealousy and insecurity, and have more frequent relationship conflicts. Avoidant individuals, on the other hand, may have difficulty fully engaging in emotional closeness and may struggle with commitment.

It is important to note that attachment styles are not set in stone and can be influenced by our experiences and the quality of our relationships as we grow and develop. Additionally, attachment styles can interact with our partner’s attachment styles, creating dynamics that either support or hinder relationship satisfaction and stability.

Developing self-awareness about our own attachment style and fostering open communication with our partner can help us navigate challenges and build stronger, more secure relationships. Compassionate vs.

Passionate Love

In addition to attachment theory, Elaine Hatfield’s theory of compassionate and passionate love provides further insight into the different dimensions of romantic connections. Hatfield suggests that love can be classified into two distinct types: compassionate love and passionate love.

These types of love differ in terms of their characteristics, motivations, and reactions. 1.

Passionate Love

Passionate love is often associated with intense emotions, sexual attraction, and an overwhelming desire for one’s partner. It is characterized by infatuation, an intense longing for the partner, and heightened physiological arousal.

Passionate love is often fueled by novelty and excitement, making it more prevalent in the early stages of a relationship. However, it can also be a transitory and short-lived experience.

While passionate love can be exhilarating, it is important to recognize that it can wane over time without the presence of other components of love. 2.

Compassionate Love

Compassionate love, on the other hand, is rooted in mutual respect, attachment, and deep affection. It emphasizes the long-term bond and shared experiences between partners.

Compassionate love involves feelings of warmth, caring, and empathy towards one’s partner. It transcends the initial intense emotions of passionate love and nurtures a sense of security, stability, and companionship.

Cultural expectations and individual experiences can shape the balance between passionate and compassionate love in relationships. Cultural narratives often emphasize the passion and excitement of early romantic love, leaving compassionate love undervalued.

However, a lasting and fulfilling relationship requires a healthy mix of both types of love, combining the intensity of passion with the stability and security of compassion. It is worth noting that passionate and compassionate love are not mutually exclusive.

In fact, they can coexist and evolve over time within a relationship. As the initial passion diminishes, compassionate love can deepen, providing a foundation for long-lasting and fulfilling partnerships.

Understanding the differences between passionate and compassionate love can help individuals navigate their own love relationships. It enables couples to recognize the importance of nurturing both the intense emotional connections of passionate love and the enduring bonds of compassionate love.

By appreciating the multifaceted nature of love, individuals can strive for balanced and satisfying relationships that incorporate both elements. In conclusion, attachment theory provides insights into the influence of childhood experiences on adult attachment styles, while Hatfield’s theory distinguishes between passionate and compassionate love.

Understanding our attachment styles and the interplay between passionate and compassionate love can help us navigate the complexities of romantic relationships and foster healthier and more fulfilling connections with our partners. By recognizing the dynamics at play and fostering open communication, individuals can build relationships that thrive on trust, emotional intimacy, and a balanced blend of passion and compassion.

In conclusion, understanding the various theories and concepts surrounding love provides valuable insights into the complexities of romantic relationships. Rubin’s theory of liking vs.

loving highlights the differences between admiration and deep emotional connections.

The Color Wheel Model of Love categorizes love into primary and secondary styles, encompassing passionate, playful, realistic, and selfless love.

Lee’s combination of primary styles forms unique secondary love styles. The

Triangular Theory of Love identifies intimacy, passion, and commitment as key components, leading to different types of love.

Attachment theory explores the influence of childhood experiences on attachment styles, including secure, anxious/ambivalent, and avoidant. Hatfield’s theory of compassionate and passionate love highlights the importance of balancing intense emotions and long-term connection.

These theories provide insights into relationship dynamics, helping individuals navigate challenges and build healthier, more satisfying connections. By fostering self-awareness, open communication, and a mix of passion and compassion, individuals can cultivate relationships that thrive on trust, emotional intimacy, and fulfillment.

The topic of love is vast and complex, but by delving into the theories and concepts, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and others, allowing love to flourish in all its beautiful forms.

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