triangulo sternberg tres pilares del amor

The Three Pillars of Love: Sternberg's Triangle: Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment

It is a theory developed by psychologist Robert Sternberg about love. This ensures that love is made up of three fundamental pillars: intimacy, passion and commitment.

The three components of love interact with each other: For example, more intimacy can lead to more passion or commitment , just as more commitment can lead to more intimacy or, less likely, more passion. In general, then, the components are separable, but they interact with each other.

Although the three pillars are important parts of loving relationships, their importance can vary from one relationship to another, or over time within a single relationship. In fact, different types of love can be generated by limiting the cases of different combinations of the components.

  • Intimacy is about a feeling of connection, trust, and togetherness. It is when someone feels the need to take care of someone, support, spend time with that person... It is in short when that affection between two people is born. This feeling can be intensified by getting to know the other person more through, for example, personal trivia games.
  • Passion is characterized by sexual desire and excitement towards the other person. It is that desire for physical union beyond the emotional one with another person.
  • The commitment/decision is the willingness to maintain the bond and a feeling of responsibility in this regard. One cannot forget the role that the decision and the expectations of maintaining the relationship and staying together play in love. In this sense, loyalty, fidelity, responsibility... work, as a general rule, as good barometers of the progress of a love relationship.

A perfect situation would be a balance between passion, intimacy and commitment. Sternberg assures us that the difficult thing is not to achieve it but to maintain it. But what if there are imbalances?

Different types of love are born such as:

  • Affectionate relationship: there is intimacy but no passion, no commitment.
  • Infatuation: there is passion, but not intimacy or commitment. They are the well-known “love at first sight”.
  • Empty love: there is no passion or intimacy, but they are maintained due to the commitment of both.
  • Romantic love: there is passion and intimacy, but it lacks commitment. It is "floating in the clouds" idealizing the other but without the intention or will to give real significance to the bond. This type of love generally disappears when adversities or difficulties occur.
  • Sociable love: there is intimacy and commitment but not passion. The two enjoy each other's company but lack sexual or romantic desire. It is very common in couples who have been together for a long time.
  • Fatuous love: there is great passion, commitment but no intimacy. Most of the time, the decision to be together stems from romanticism or sexual desire, but not from compatibility. This type of relationship is characteristic of people with great insecurities and dependencies.

Do you identify with any? 

If you want to know more about falling in love and its stages , check this article

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