Love According to the Greeks: Which Types are You and Which Types do You Want?

November 21, 2019

 

According to the Ancient Greeks, there are 8 different types of love.  We all want the long everlasting love, but how do we obtain and maintain that?  Just as important, how do you we achieve self-love, the type of love that so many of us forget to have for ourselves.  Which types of love do you want in your life?  Which types do you strive for? 

 

1.      Agape – Unconditional love 

  •  Per the Greeks, the first type of love is Agape, which means selfless love.  It is when we do not expect anything in return.  It's to love one completely and without any strings attached.  The Greeks felt that only some people have the capacity to have Agape for the long term.  I agree with the Greeks in this regard because it can be difficult for people to accept one another as they are, especially when they are different from us.  Yes, we do accept others in our lives, but do we accept them completely?  We do not agree with everything they do, whether or not we voice our opinions.  Obtaining Agape in romantic relationships can be difficult if we do not accept our partner fully.  Do you find that there are things about your partner that bothers you and you cannot voice your opinions?  Or if you voice your opinions too much, do you feel like a nag?  It is important to find the balance of what you want, what works for your partner, and what you are willing to compromise without losing yourself in the relationship.  Doing this will help you to be able to obtain Agape and maintain the unconditional love in your relationship. 

 

2.      Eros – Romantic love 

  • From unconditional love, there is Eros, Greek’s god of love and fertility, also known as Romantic love.  To have Eros is to have sentiments, lust, and physical affection.  The Greeks were afraid of Eros because they believed that it is people’s instinct to breed and conceive babies, and this instinct is so strong that it would cause people to lose control.  Nowadays, people yearn and want Eros even though this love does not always last.  Others would argue they would not be in a relationship with a partner without Eros or at least they would not be in a satisfying relationship.  How to keep Eros alive is something we all strive for.  Couples therapy can help you rediscover each other and realize what is restraining you to have Eros in your romantic relationship.  

 

3.      Philia – Affectionate love 

  •  As one is in a romantic relationship, it is important to have Philia in your life.  Philia is the type of love you feel for your friends, the platonic love, where there is no sexual attraction.  The Greeks felt Philia is more beneficial than Eros because Philia corresponds to love among equals.  Many would agree that Philia is the safe love because you will not get hurt as compared to being in a romantic love.  Even in friendships, you can get hurt due to disagreements or arguments with your friends.  How you handle and navigate these conflicts with your friends can indicate how you manage conflicts in general.  If the way you handle conflicts have been unsuccessful, therapy can help discover why you respond the way you do and introduce you to tools to help navigate through these conflicts.  I feel it is important to have Philia in your life because Philia is always there for you even if you do or do not have Eros.  Philia is something we can always count on given that we have supportive friends.  

  

 

4.      Storge – Familiar love 

  • Philia is essential, but Storge is also just as important.  Storge is the love between a parent and child, which help shapes how the child grows up seeing the world, reacting to the world, and feeling about the world.  Having a strong and positive foundation of Storge helps children learn healthier ways to relate to others and themselves.  This leads to children being more secure and self-confident.  Without this reaffirmed foundation, children become adults with insecurities and lack of confidences, which affects their relationships.  Therapy can help realize how your upbringing affects who you are now as an adult and assist in self-repair.     

 

5.      Mania – Obsessive love 

  • The lack of strong foundation in Storge, may lead to Mania, which is when a partner feels obsessive and outrage.  When a partner has a very low self-esteem, just wants to be loved, and feels like his/her love is not reciprocated, this can lead to Mania.  This may cause a partner to be jealous, controlling, and possessive.  Ironically Mania results in very destructive relationships for both parties involved. Therapy can help you learn why you have a low esteem, what is causing you to feel obsessive and outrage, and why you feel the way you do when you are in a romantic relationship.  Finding the source, recognizing why you act that way, and learning healthier ways to react and feel will help you be in healthy and successful relationships.  

 

6.      Ludus – Playful love 

  • Before people feel Mania, they experience Ludus, which is usually found in the initial stages of falling in love.  These are the feelings of the butterflies in your stomach, the tinkling feelings, and feelings of excitement.  Many people love this feeling of Ludus and are eager to experience this feeling.  Others in long-term relationship, who feel stagnant or feel like they do not know their partner anymore, desire the feeling of Ludus.  Couple therapy can help you rediscover each other and experience this feeling of Ludus. 

 

7.      Pragma – Enduring love 

  • From the initial feelings of Ludus, many people strive for Pragma.  This is the enduring love, which has grown and matured over time.  Pragma is found in married couples or long-lasting romantic relationship/friendships, where love is reciprocated, patience occurs, and compromises have been made in the efforts to make the relationship work.  This is the type of love we all would like to have but realize that healthy and successful relationship is a lot of work that we initially thought or romanticized.  Couple therapy can help you recognize what is working and not working in your relationship and hopefully, help you obtain Pragma in your relationship.  

 

8.      Philautia – Self-Love 

  • An essential element in achieving Pragma is to have Philautia, also known as Self-Love.  In my opinion, Philautia is one of the most important loves and hardest one for people to obtain.  Philautia is about being compassionate to yourself and accepting yourself as you are.  I feel that not many people have attained total Philautia and people struggle to love themselves because they feel it is selfish to put themselves before others.  However, I believe you are not being selfish in putting yourself first because you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.  If you have children and want to build on a strong foundation of Storge, I feel you are being a great role model to your children by teaching them to have self-love and self-care first before they take care of others.  So often, we give so much to others while losing ourselves in the process.  At the end, we feel tired or depleted because we did not take care of ourselves or love ourselves during that time.  How you give yourself permission to love yourself is very important.  Therapy can help you learn to love yourself and take away the self-criticisms, anxieties, fears, and doubts.  With self-love, you will be able to live a happier and more fulfilled life as well attract healthier relationships. 

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