Love and Commitment Essay

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Definitions of Love

Lee’s Colors of Love

  • Eros: an erotic, passionate love. Eros love can be love at first sight and can end suddenly, leaving the person wondering what they saw in their former beloved.
  • Mania: the dark side of passionate love. Mania involves obsession with the beloved person and jealousy.
  • Storge: friendship-based love that develops gradually over time. Even if the love relationship ends, the strong friendship associated with storge often means one continues to be friends with the former beloved.
  • Agape: altruistic love. Agape love is associated with the desire to give to the beloved without asking anything in return.
  • Pragma: a practical love that involves loving something about the person, such as being a good parent, respected in the community or wealthy.
  • Ludus: love for the moment, without commitment. Ludus is associated with flirtation and the desire to seduce someone for a sexual encounter.

Love styles are assessed at one point in time. One s feelings can change over time or with another partner.

Passionate versus Companionate Love

Passionate love involves strong sexual arousal, fantasy, and idealization of the beloved. It occurs suddenly and does not last long. Companionate Love is affection or deep friendship that develops gradually.

Commitment to a Relationship

There are three basic forms of attachment that develop during infancy based on interactions with the primary caretaker: secure, avoidant, and anxious. Securely attached infants become upset when the caretaker is absent and happy when the caretaker is present. Avoidant infants are not upset about the caretaker s absence and show little positive affect in the presence of the caretaker. Anxious infants appear clinging when caretakers are present, and upset when absent. As adults, these infant reactions to the caregiver are transferred to the romantic partner. Work by Shaver and others has indicated that those with secure attachments are more committed to their romantic partners, and feel more satisfaction about these relationships. Those with an avoidant pattern are less committed to their romantic partners and report less satisfaction. The anxious adults form relationships very quickly, but they do not appear to have long-term commitments.


  1. Adams, J. J. & Jones, W. H. (eds.) (1999) Handbook of Interpersonal Commitment and Relationship Atability. Kluwer, New York.
  2. Lee, J. (1977). Colors of love: An Exploration of the Ways of Loving. New Press, Don Mills, Ontario.

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