The 8 Types of Love You can Experience in a Lifetime
Love comes in many types and forms. We love our friends differently than our parents, and our partners different than our pets. Love can be understood as the fundamental energy that connects us – and all of life together as one. Love is a feeling, a state of being, an awareness, an experience. It’s something indescribable, yet, could be described in an infinite amount of ways.
The Greeks were very interested in exploring the different philosophies of love and how we navigate each kind. Over time, different philosophers conceptualized a number of unique types of love, eventually emerging 8 prominent types of love we all experience throughout life.
This is the first and physical love, driven by a passionate desire for another. Named after Eros, the Greek God of Love, Beauty, and Attraction. This type of love was originally thought to be a “lesser” kind of love, as it’s primarily based off of sexual attraction. However, a deeper look at Eros reveals the true nature of this love.
The essence of Eros is the seed of desire. It is the deep want for something, a desire for two energies to merge together. While this is usually solely applied to intimacy, it can also be used to create anything in your life. With passion and drive for something, you can make truly anything happen – like creating the life of your dreams. It’s this push within us that creates forward motion, change and personal evolution in our lives.
Typically, Eros describes the intimate passion between people, but with a deeper understanding of it’s essence, this type of love can act as a powerful tool in your life.
Philia is the type of love we feel between close friends. Meaning affection or “to have affectionate regard for” in Greek, this is a love many of us feel, and it’s wonderful! This type of love evolves over time, as people get to know each other and go through different experiences that bond them together.
Sometimes these experiences are difficult and emotionally distressing, creating a sacred bond between you and your closest friends. This type of love has a “I got your back” type of energy, it is trusting, loyal friendships that last a lifetime.
Storge, or familial love, is a love felt between family members. It is also felt between pets, and can sometimes have an essence of obligation to it. It’s a love that comes from a pre-made connection of family members, it exist naturally, seen easily in children. Sometimes we may feel we need to love family members, because even if we don’t get along, we know they are closely connected to us and the love is created naturally.
In relationships, Storge has been described to exist more out of convenience rather than passion or attraction. It can manifest as a couple having common interests that drive their relationship forward. When both partners equally support and uplift each other, it can be a very beautiful love that is productive and creatively charged.
Pragma is an incredible, and sometimes rarely found type of love. It is a love that has evolved over time, it has gone through trials and tribulations to test it’s true strength. Mostly found in older couples, Pragma is a love that has been through it all.
It is stable, forward thinking and requires dedicated work to keep alive. Representing the concept of “pragmatic”, Pragma love has gone through the little drama’s of life to grow into a mature, harmonious relationship.
There is a level of trust and understanding needed with your partner that will allow for a supportive and strong partnership. This type of love does not try to change others or place expectations – it comes from a grounded contentment within yourself first that creates a beautiful balance between you and your partner.
Ludus – Latin for the word “play” or “game”. Ludus, similarly to Eros can be a bit misunderstood. It is known to be a playful, childish love. It is the young lovers type of love – that feeling of butterflies you get when you first start to fall in love with someone. Ludus in relationships is known to be a sort of immature love that can’t commit to one person, as it isn’t serious or stable yet.
Yet, a deeper look at Ludus and it’s true essence describes an important love we must all keep in our hearts. It isn’t merely a childish love, but the love of a child. It is our inner child. Like the spark of life in a child’s eye, this same spark we must keep ignited in our hearts. Beyond a relationship with another, having our own relationship with our inner child is crucial for self love and acceptance of ourselves.
Then, as we grow up with another, our childlike spark stays alive even as we age. This is how elderly couples can stay together for 60 years – it’s their inner children that have fallen in love with each other and that spark of divine innocence is forever ignited.
Philautia is known as self love. It is an integral type of love that’s important to develop for ourselves, just as we do for others. If we are constantly giving our energy out, and never replenishing ourselves, we will become drained very quickly. If we seek out relationships while being drained of our own life force, we will almost definitely transfer this draining energy onto our partners.
We must be able to feel emotionally full, calm and centered on our own to truly experience a balanced relationship. While it’s beautiful to ask for help and support from our partners, at the end of the day we must be our own support as well.
This type of love comes from within us, and it is for us – it is not selfish or vain to openly love yourself, to admire and inspire yourself. Philautia love wants us to ask ourselves “Do you know how amazing you truly are?”
Agape is known as selfless love. It is considered by the Greeks to be the highest and most transformative type of love. It is an unconditional, and altruistic type of love. Agape is understood as “universal loving kindness”; it is the very energy that permeates all of creation.
In relationships, this type of love requires a level of self mastery. Agape asks us to be completely authentic, open and free from attachments. There is no sense of ownership or pride between partners. With an altruistic attitude, we genuinely want the best for our significant other and allow them to be free. There are no expectations or emotions of jealousy.
This type of relationship is something many of us strive for, it is the evolution of a typical relationship into something much more magical. It transcends the duality of separation and creates an energetic merging of two souls.
The last “love” is Mania, but truly, this is not a type of love but a symptom of lack of self love. The Greeks regarded this love as an obsessive and attached type of love.
While many of us may feel we have experienced something like this in a relationship, mania is not love itself. It is a fear based in attachment and a need for another. This can manifest as a jealous or deeply possessive lover who is completely wrapped up in their partner. This may exist in relationships for countless reasons – from feeling a lack of love as a child, to being cheated on in previous relationships. Mania is a sign of needing your own love first before we can unconditionally love another.
All of these types of love are necessary and important for exploring the journey of growth as a human. As we experience and learn from each type of love, we can better understand how to connect with those around us and with ourselves. We can learn to love deeper and extend that love to everyone around us.