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How to Use the Triangular Theory of Love to Improve Your Relationship

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How to Use the Triangular Theory of Love to Improve Your Relationship

Love is one of the most universal and profound human experiences, yet it is also one of the most complex and elusive. How can we understand and measure love? How can we improve and enhance our love relationships?

One of the most influential and widely used theories of love is the triangular theory of love, proposed by psychologist Robert Sternberg in 1986. According to this theory, love consists of three components: intimacy, passion, and commitment. These components can be combined in different ways to form eight types of love, ranging from nonlove to consummate love.

The triangular theory of love can help us to assess and improve our love relationships by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of our current type of love and suggesting ways to increase the levels of intimacy, passion, and commitment. By using this theory, we can achieve a more satisfying and fulfilling love life.

What are the Different Types of Love According to the Triangular Theory?

The triangular theory of love proposes that there are eight types of love that result from different combinations of the three components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. These types of love are:

  • Nonlove: This is the absence of all three components of love. It is the type of relationship that you have with strangers or acquaintances that you do not feel any attraction or attachment to.
  • Infatuated love: This is the presence of passion only. It is the type of relationship that you have with someone that you are intensely attracted to and obsessed with, but do not have any emotional or long-term bond with. It is often based on physical appearance or superficial qualities.
  • Empty love: This is the presence of commitment only. It is the type of relationship that you have with someone that you have decided to stay with, but do not have any intimacy or passion for. It is often based on social norms or obligations, such as marriage or duty.
  • Romantic love: This is the presence of intimacy and passion. It is the type of relationship that you have with someone that you are both emotionally and physically attracted to and involved with. It is often based on mutual respect and affection, such as dating or courtship.

These types of love can change over time and across situations, depending on the fluctuations and interactions of the three components of love. For example, romantic love can turn into companionate love or empty love if passion fades away. Similarly, companionate love can turn into romantic love or fatuous love if passion is reignited. .

How to Assess Your Current Type of Love and Identify Areas for Improvement

One of the ways to use the triangular theory of love to improve your relationship is to assess your current type of love and identify its strengths and weaknesses. To do this, you can use the Triangular Love Scale, a tool that measures the levels of intimacy, passion, and commitment in your relationship.

The Triangular Love Scale consists of 45 items that correspond to the three components of love. You can find the scale and instructions on how to use it here. You and your partner can take the scale separately and compare your scores.

The scale will give you a score for each component of love, ranging from 0 to 15. The higher the score, the higher the level of that component in your relationship. Based on your scores, you can identify your current type of love and its strengths and weaknesses.

For example, if you have high scores on intimacy and passion, but low scores on commitment, your current type of love is romantic love. This means that you have a strong emotional and physical connection with your partner, but you may lack stability and security in your relationship. Some of the strengths of this type of love are excitement, attraction, and affection. Some of the weaknesses are uncertainty, jealousy, and conflict.

Based on your current type of love and its strengths and weaknesses, you can set some goals and actions to improve your type of love based on the theory.

For example, if you want to increase your commitment level, you can:
  • Discuss your expectations and goals for your relationship and align them with your partner
  • Make plans and decisions together and involve your partner in your life
  • Celebrate your achievements and milestones as a couple and create shared memories
  • Resolve conflicts and challenges constructively and compromise when needed
  • Be loyal and faithful to your partner and trust them

By assessing your current type of love and identifying areas for improvement, you can use the triangular theory of love to enhance your relationship and achieve a more satisfying and fulfilling love life.

How to Increase Intimacy in Your Relationship

Intimacy is the feeling of closeness, connectedness, and bondedness that you have with your partner. It is the emotional aspect of your relationship that makes you feel comfortable, understood, and valued by your partner.

Intimacy is important for your relationship satisfaction and well-being because it enhances your trust, communication, and affection with your partner. It also reduces your stress, anxiety, and loneliness and increases your happiness, health, and longevity.

There are many ways to increase intimacy in your relationship, such as:

  • Communicate openly and honestly with your partner. Share your thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires with your partner and listen to theirs. Avoid criticism, judgment, and defensiveness and use empathy, validation, and feedback. Express your love and appreciation for your partner verbally and nonverbally.
  • Spend quality time together and share your interests and hobbies. Make time for each other and do things that you both enjoy and find meaningful. Learn new skills, explore new places, or try new activities together. Have fun and laugh together and create positive memories.
  • Support your partner emotionally and practically. Be there for your partner when they need you and offer your help and advice. Show your interest and involvement in your partner’s life and goals. Encourage your partner to grow and achieve their potential. Respect your partner’s autonomy and boundaries and trust their decisions.
  • Show physical affection and cuddle. Touch your partner gently and frequently, such as holding hands, hugging, kissing, or caressing. Cuddle with your partner and enjoy the warmth and comfort of their presence. Physical affection can release oxytocin, the hormone that promotes bonding and attachment.

By increasing intimacy in your relationship, you can strengthen your emotional bond with your partner and enjoy a more satisfying and fulfilling love life.

How to Increase Commitment in Your Relationship

Commitment is the feeling of decision and dedication to maintain your relationship in the long term. It is the rational aspect of your relationship that makes you feel confident, secure, and loyal to your partner.

Commitment is important for your relationship stability and security because it enhances your trust, cooperation, and support with your partner. It also reduces your temptation, doubt, and fear and increases your happiness, health, and longevity.

There are many ways to increase commitment in your relationship, such as:
  • Discuss your expectations and goals for your relationship and align them with your partner. Share your vision and values for your relationship and agree on the direction and purpose of your relationship. Negotiate and compromise on any differences or conflicts that may arise.
  • Make plans and decisions together and involve your partner in your life. Plan for your future and make important decisions as a team. Include your partner in your daily activities and routines. Introduce your partner to your friends and family and show your commitment publicly.
  • Celebrate your achievements and milestones as a couple and create shared memories. Acknowledge and appreciate your progress and growth as a couple. Celebrate your anniversaries, birthdays, and special occasions. Reminisce and reflect on your past experiences and memories.
  • Resolve conflicts and challenges constructively and compromise when needed. Be respectful and understanding of your partner’s perspective and feelings. Avoid blaming, criticizing, or stonewalling your partner. Use effective communication and problem-solving skills to find win-win solutions. Forgive and apologize when necessary.
  • Be loyal and faithful to your partner and trust them. Honor your promises and agreements with your partner. Avoid cheating, lying, or betraying your partner. Respect your partner’s privacy and boundaries and do not spy on them. Trust your partner’s intentions and actions and do not accuse them of anything.

By increasing commitment in your relationship, you can strengthen your rational bond with your partner and enjoy a more stable and secure love life.

Conclusion

In this article, we have learned about the triangular theory of love, a powerful and practical tool to understand and measure love. We have also learned about the eight types of love that result from different combinations of the three components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Finally, we have learned about some practical tips and examples on how to increase the levels of intimacy, passion, and commitment in our relationship and achieve a more satisfying and fulfilling love life.

Using the triangular theory of love can help us to assess and improve our love relationships by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of our current type of love and suggesting ways to enhance the balance and harmony of the three components of love. By doing so, we can enjoy the benefits of a more stable, secure, exciting, and vital relationship with our partner.

We encourage you to apply the tips and suggestions that we have provided in this article in your own relationship and see the results for yourself. You can also use the Triangular Love Scale to measure your current type of love and monitor your progress. If you want to learn more about the triangular theory of love and other related topics, you can check out these additional resources and links:

  • The Triangular Theory of Love, a blog post by Berit Brogaard that explains the theory in detail and provides some examples and applications.
  • The New Psychology of Love, a book by Robert Sternberg and Karin Weis that presents the latest research and theories on love and relationships, including the triangular theory of love.
  • The Science of Love, a video by AsapSCIENCE that illustrates the biological and psychological aspects of love and attraction, including the role of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.
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