Love… A word that contains many underlying emotions. An emotion that makes us behave in many different ways and makes us do many subtle things. It is something that gives us a meaning for our existence on earth.
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own… Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy”-Robert A Heinlein
Love.. Love is a funny yet curious thing. The same love may make us at time happy, confused, sad or even become a bane. When you hear that word the first thought that comes to mind is of first love or the butterfly sensations you get on seeing your loved ones.
But is that the only kind of love? How about the unintelligible gurglings of a baby when its mother coos? The innocent joy you feel when you meet your best friend after a long time? All these are love, in its various manifestations.
Let me take you on a journey of different kinds of love.
1. Romantic Love
This is probably the first thing that comes into one’s mind on hearing the word love. Ancient Greeks named this love, “Eros”, after their God of Love Eros. They believed that this was the most dangerous kind of love as it leads to trouble or heartbreak. Can’t say that they were wrong…
It is typically the physical love that two people feel for each other during the initial days of a relationship. The period of a relationship when they can’t keep their hands off each other.
It is the most primal and powerful kind of love, whose flame is too bright for the eyes. But, unless the flame is fanned enough to make it matured, it can leave lots of broken hearts in its wake.
2. Longstanding Love
This is the love that has sustained and endured all kinds of hardships. The kind which is present between couples married for a long time. It is the considered as the highest form of love. Built on the true commitment which comes from understanding, compromise, and tolerance, it is, without a doubt, the truest kind of love. Ancient Greeks call it “Prague”.
It is the most matured love, that transcended the physical and casual stages and ended up in mutual harmony between two souls, more like a fairy tale with “happily ever after” ending.
It is the kind of love that needs a lot of hard work and patience from both the involved parties. But this kind of love is quite rare and not easily found.
3. Playful Love
This is the childlike and flirtatious kind of love. Do you know that innocent love which gives butterflies in your tummy? That is the one I am referring here. The Ancient Greeks fondly called in “Ludus”. It is usually fond in young lovers, in the peak of innocence.
Although one may say that there are elements of eros in it, it is much more than that. It is the love in which you may find yourself grinning from ear to ear. All you want to do is to be with each other.
You find colors in the world, which you never saw before. You both are happy and find the whole world rejoicing with you. This has the element which is missing in love term relationships and that is playfulness.
4. Affectionate Love
This is the kind you have with your friend. Not just a friend, but the one with whom you have a special deep bond. It is the kind of love that existed even between people of opposite sex without any physical attraction. So for the same reason, Greeks placed it above Eros and called it “Philia”.
It can also be termed as platonic love. It is the love you have for your friend who helped you through had times and you did the same for that person. The moment when you realize that you miss your friend without any physical attraction, you have just experienced Philia.
It may also be felt towards your siblings or even cousins with whom you were really close to from childhood. Also with your friends from childhood, but no longer in contact with him.
5. Empty Love
Empty love might be considered as the saddest form or love. A strong love in some cases deteriorates into empty love. This usually found in marriages that have continued for long term. But passion and intimacy no longer plays a role in this marriage or relationship.
It is a love in which only a sense of commitment remains. Passion and intimacy are long gone. The couples remain in the relationship just for the sake of their kids or fear of disrespect that they are afraid they may face after separation.
Neither one of the couples tries to keep the passion alive. In cultures where arranged marriage are a norm, many couples enter into marriage with empty love which may evolve into stronger love later
6. Obsessive Love
You must have understood what type of love it is, from the name itself. Ancient greeks called it “Mania”. It is the kind of love which is almost self-destructive. It happens when one of the partners becomes mad and obsessive about the other.
In most cases, it will be because the person lacks self-esteem and sees love as a way to reinforce it. They want to be in love and be loved back, to build up up a sense of self-respect.
As a result, they tend to jealous and over possessive about their partners leading to estrangements, if the other partner fails to reciprocate love in the same obsessive way. It may even lead to codependency, which is highly regarded as unhealthy.
7. Self Love
These days Self-love is considered highly narcissistic. People are nowadays self-involved and do anything to meet their ends. But this is not that kind of love. To love others, we must first love ourselves. The Ancient Greeks seem to know this and they called self-love as “Philautia”.
It is completely different from Narcissim. It is more like you are happy with who you are and what you are. You are always on a positive note and glad that you get what you deserve. It is based on the philosophy that you can give only what you have. If you don’t love yourself for what you are, then how will you love and expect others as what they are
Self-love is akin to self-esteem. But self-confidence and self-esteem aren’t the same things. a person can be confident but have low self-esteem. So self-love is very important in every person’s life.
8. Selfless Love
This love is considered as the most unconditional kind of love. It is the love for everyone and everything around us. Let it be humans or animals. It was considered as the highest form of love by Greeks and they named it “Agape”.
It is the love that can be defined as boundless empathy or infinite passion. Named as altruism in modern philosophy, it defines unselfish concern for others. Buddhists call it as ‘universal loving kindness’.
New thinkers say that it leaves us with a helper’s high. It leaves us with a sense of peace and happiness. But whatsoever, it is something different from our sex-obsessed culture, who consider sex as love.
9. Unrequited Love
This is the most painful kind. Because it is just one person who is in love. Maybe Greeks didn’t want love to be remembered as a sad painful emotion and hence they haven’t categorized it.
Either the object of that person’s love doesn’t know or even if they understand, they may not want to be with that person. There are many cases where the other party is in a relationship.
Because of the fear of remaining unrequited, there are many people who give up affection and passion. It is one that picturises love as a painful emotion. The worst part, it is like a drug. We know we shouldn’t but we still fall in love more deeply, every single day.
10. Selfish Love
Out of kinds of love, if there is something worse than unrequited love, it will be selfish love. It is a love in which the two people involved in the relationship, are in love with the one of the person in the relationship. More like, you love you and your partner loves you.
It is called smart love because the selfish are in that relationship for personal gains and will break the other person’s heart for personal gains. Maybe they date the other person just to climb the social ladder without ever actually falling in love with the other.
This love spoils the purity of the word and emotion ‘Love’. And the Greeks doesn’t think that this love should even be mentioned as they haven’t bothered to even name it.
These are the kinds of love that I believe exist in the world. Love is something that distinguishes human and animals. Love do exist in animals. But I doubt that such variety exists. So love dearly and boundlessly. Never break anyone’s heart. Be passionate. And moreover, love yourself to love others. We can make this world a better place to live.