In a world of high divorce rates, meaningless hookups, and one-night stands, the idea of finding true love may seem a little cheesy or ‘out there’. However, within most of us is a romantic that still holds onto the hope that we will find that ‘special someone’, and ride off into the sunset happily-ever-after.
But what if you already found someone special and experienced that mind-blowing love? You gave your heart, connected on a meaningful level, made plans for the future and then it all fell apart. Is it true that there are other fish in the sea, or has your one chance passed you by?
The face of dating in today’s modern society is incredibly different from that which our parents were accustomed to. Rather than wining and dining someone, trying to win them over and earn their affections, a large number of Americans today turn to social media and dating websites in their quest for love. In fact, in a 2017 online dating survey, 19% of brides reported that they met their spouses online. Despite the fact the process has changed, there is still hope for success!
Anthropologist Helen Fisher had dedicated her career to better understanding the concept of love, relationships, intimacy and connection throughout our lives. In this time, she has developed an important theory that may change the way you look at love today – the ‘Three Loves Theory’.
The theory is built on the idea that throughout our lives, we will experience different types of love, and not all are experienced equally or designed to fill the same needs in our lives. There are three different stages in our lives when it comes to a romantic connection, each leading to a different type of relationship. These use different aspects of the brain, impact how we feel in different ways and trigger different emotional reactions. By understanding this, we are able to better understand why some relationships will never develop beyond a certain point, and others are destined to crash and burn before long.
The ‘Three Loves Theory’ introduces these three types of love:
Love One – Lust
If you have ever felt an immediate physical attraction to someone you met in a bar or engaged in a ‘one-night stand’, then you have experienced lust. This is love that is built on raw sexual attraction to another and doesn’t require any type of emotional connection. In some more intense cases, you may even feel ‘addicted’ to this individual, overcome by your animalistic desire for them, and many people mistake this for love but don’t be fooled. This is a very surface level connection and may past as quickly as it came on.
Love Two – Passion
The type of love that is often seen when a couple first develops a relationship, known as the ‘newlywed phase’, passion is the stage in which everything is new and exciting. It is at this stage that we need to remember the concept that ‘love is blind’. It is easy to become swept up in everything at this stage losing sight of reality. You simply want to be together all the time, never to be separated. This form of love serves an important role, as it helps us to develop an emotional connection with another. For some relationships, this is as far as it will ever develop, but in that time, you will learn a lot about your capacity to love and feel for another. For others, however, this will build the emotional foundation on which a deeper relationship is formed.
Love Three – Commitment
The most mature of the three types of love, this is the stage in which two people commit to sharing their lives with one another mind, body and soul. While our eyes are opened to the reality of our partner, this is also the stage in which true ‘unconditional love’ is experienced. Sure, you will start to see your partners quirks, flaws, and weaknesses, but that won’t change your love for one another. In fact, you will discover that you love your partner and their flaws rather than in spite of their flaws. When the most difficult times in life are thrust upon us, such as the loss of a loved one, a struggle with addiction or a serious illness, this is the only type of love that will survive. Why? You have committed to stand by one another’s side regardless of what challenges you face, and this conviction will help you to become closer together through your struggles rather than allowing them to tear you apart.