Main types of couples

According to Sternberg’s theory, there are 7 different types of couples. Are you among any of them? Keep reading.

Although we usually say that each couple is a world, it seems that psychology does not agree so, because Sternberg’s “theory of love” ensures that there are 7 types of couples. Do you want to know them?

7 types of couples

The American psychologist Robert Jeffrey Sternberg has been studying the behavior of couples for years, so he has finally created a model in which he classifies couples according to three elements:

  • The commitment: The degree of commitment of each member of the couple defines their willingness to fight for their love and it is the most rational side of the couples.
  • Intimacy: The capacity of intimacy that a couple achieves determines how close they feel to each other, which is why it is fundamental to create emotional and affective bonds in the couple.
  • The passion: The desire that each member of the couple feels towards the other is a necessary sexual component, which determines the type of couple you can be.

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The degrees of intimacy, commitment, and passion that exist in each couple determines seven typologies in the triangular model of the Sternberg. Here are the 7 types of couples.

1. Relationship of affection

The only component that exists in this type of couples is intimacy. They are couples who have built a very close bond in the relationship, but in which sexual desire and commitment are not present. Sometimes, they end up becoming friends, rather than as a couple.

2. Empty love

In this type of couples, there is only the commitment component. An example is those marriages that after many years have ceased to have feelings of love, but it continues to unite a feeling of commitment that translates into a relationship of respect and fidelity. However, these relationships often make their members unhappy and often end up in the breakdown.

3. Capricious relationships

They are those that are based solely on passion. It is the famous ‘infatuation’, intense but fleeting, in which there is a total lack of intimacy and commitment. A strong attraction that fades in the same way that it did, at first sight.

4. Romantic love

According to Sternberg, romantic love usually occurs at the beginning of a relationship. These are relationships where both passion and intimacy are interpenetrated, but there is still no strong commitment between them. Therefore, the commitment will determine the continuation or dissolution of this relationship with time.

5. Fatuous love

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These are somewhat peculiar relationships, where the commitment component exists, but mainly due to the high component of passion. The famous ‘friends with the right to touch’ fall into this category. Finally, these types of relationships do not usually end up creating emotional bonds.

6. Relationship of a sociable couple

When the components of the couple are commitment and intimacy, we are before the sociable love call. It is a type of relationship where sexual desire does not exist, but the affection is so strong that it is usually enough for both people. It happens in long relationships when the passion is extinguished little by little. However, in most cases, the sexual component can be retaken with professional help.

Also, the sociable love is reflected in some deep friendship relations or family relationships, where there is no romantic component but there are affection and commitment.

7. Accomplished love

The consummate love is the so-called ‘complete couple’, the one in which there are three types of components: intimacy, passion, and commitment. The idea of ‘the ideal couple’ may be able to approach this type of love and, although it is difficult to achieve and maintain, it is extremely satisfying.

In order not to lose any of the components and evolve in the relationship, the couple must always make a joint effort to keep alive the spark of their love.

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