Approaching Love from Another Perspective
Approaching Love from Another Perspective
  • 김태연 기자
  • 승인 2006.11.29 00:00
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By Kim Tae-yeon


Love has been a topic of human interest for at least as long as recorded history. Ancient Egyptian burial manuscripts speak of love for spouses and families. Greek philosophers debated concepts of friendship and romantic love. Early Christian writers spoke of human love and divine love. Two popular theories of love still used by modern relationship counselors include J.A. Lee’s color typology and R.J. Stenberg’s triangular theory.

J.A. Lee’s A Typology of Love, written in 1970, explains love as different colors, which correspond to different personality types. There are three primary colors and three secondary colors that are combination of the primary colors. (See diagram A) The three primary colors are called Eros, Ludus, and Storge, while the three secondary colors are Mania, Pragma, and Agape.

Lee says Eros is a passionate love where one experiences a strong level of emotions. People feeling eros tend to fall in love at first sight easily as they are always ready to fall in love. Ludus is an amusement love where one’s emotional devotion and responsibility is low. In general, people whose emotions match this color can date many people at once and can leave their lovers easily. Storge is a friendly love where one values intimacy. Rather than passion, one pursues sentiment and long-term emotion in a relationship.

Lee classifies mania is a fanatical love that is a combination of Eros and Ludus. “Maniacs” tend to experience frequent jealousy, obsession, and possession. They demand great devotion and love. Pregma is a logical love, and it is a combination of Ludus and Storge. People who match this color know that love is not composed of feelings only but that practical aspects are important as well. They tend to decide whether they should fall in love or not depending on the practical characteristics of their lover. Agape is an altruistic love, which is a combination of Eros and Storge. People matching this color do not easily show their true feelings and care more about their lover and other people over themselves.

According to research conducted in 2001, Korean men showed higher percentage of Eros and Ludus compared to women, who showed higher percentage of Storge and Pregma.

The Triangular Theory of Love was published by R.J. Sternberg in 1986. Sternberg explains different types of love as a result of different combinations of basic ingredients. According to Sternberg, love is made of intimacy (I), passion (P) and decision/commitment (C) (see diagram B) and the type of love one experiences changes with the level of the three factors.

Based on Sternberg’s theory, if only I is high, a person has a crush, a sort of extreme degree of friendship which seems like real love, but isn’t. If only C is high, the experience is one of empty love, where one is not attracted to his or her lover. Some arranged marriages might fall into this category if the partner truly hope for marriage but don’t really see anything special in each other. If only P is high, this is intoxicating love, where one idealizes his or her lover and falls in love at first sight.

When both I and P are high, this is a romantic love says Sternberg. This is well shown in Romeo & Juliet, where the two protagonists are strongly attracted to each other. When P and C are high, this is insubstantial love where one fantasizes about a partner. However, when the fantasy is gone, the couple has high tendency to break up due to lack of intimacy. When I and C are high, it is a friendly love. This is easily seen in old, stable relationships. But, says Sternberg, the best love is when all three components are high. This is a mature love where one understands his or her partner and is both attracted and devoted. However, for the relationship to be successful, both partners need to have similar level of I, P, and C, Sternberg says.


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