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Introduction: Love and Affection as Parts of Human Nature
Interpersonal relationships are an intricate part of human nature owing to their social aspect. The fact that a man cannot live alone means that there is a need for a better understanding of these relationships. The reason for this is that it will be instrumental in promoting better communication between people. Understanding the types of relationship that one has with another can enable one predict and overcome communication barriers. A community that has sufficient communication channels will be more closely knit and thus, more efficient towards achieving societal goals. Considering John Alan Lee’s love styles, this article will be able to look at them in a bid to promote the understanding of how human interpersonal relationships develop. That may provide insight to the audience of this article regarding how they can strengthen bonds with each other.
Six Stages of Love: From Eros to Agape
Lee provides his theory of love in six stages differentiated into primary and secondary stages. The primary stage entails three loving styles, namely: eros, ludus, and storge. Eros is a Greek terminology that can be translated as passionate or erotic. Thus, according to Lee, this style can be described as a type of passionate love that is expressed physically and emotionally. The love that one displays is that of an individual having the desire to satisfy his or her partner, ensure sexual security and contentment, and mostly to create aesthetic enjoyment. It is primarily based on a strong emotional and physical attraction between partners which is most commonly referred to as ‘chemistry’. This type of love can be seen mostly in movies where actors fall in love at first sight. That is a mere demonstration, but it does not mean it does not exist.
The eros loving style has its set of advantages and disadvantages. Its advantage is that it provides individuals with a sense of security which can be found at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs alongside shelter and food. That ensures that an individual is content. A disadvantage is the fact that there is a threat of decay in attraction. If the attraction disappears, so does the love.
Ludus is the second primary type of love which in Latin is ‘game’. It was the word that describes those people who perceive love as the desire to have fun with one another. Lovers of this style have a tendency to want to have as much fun as they possibly can. It is very rare for them to become truly involved with a partner and they can have two or more partners at the same time. The perspective of these lovers regarding marriage is that it is a trap and in case these individuals find themselves in one, they are most likely to engage in infidelity. Sex is a conquest which means that they engage in relationships because they look at them as a challenge. Ludus love style has numerous disadvantages including the increased chances of infidelity because these individuals cannot withstand temptation. Moreover, when those engaged in this style of love reach their extreme, they become sex addicts.
Storge is the third loving style that falls under the primary classification. It is the type of love that develops out of friendship whose basis is on the partners having similar commitments and interests rather than passion. Scholars call this love familial love. It can exist between siblings, spouses, children, parents and even cousins. A characteristic of this love is that it necessitates familial entitlements, duties, responsibilities and loyalties.
Under the secondary loving styles, there are three types, namely; mania, pragma and agape. These loving styles are various combinations of the primary loving styles. Mania, for instance, is a combination of ludus and eros loving styles. Whereas eros is a loving style where the lover is a ‘hopeless romantic,’ ludus lovers perceive love as a game. A combination of these two gives rise to mania whose lovers portray jealousy and obsessiveness. It is an emotionally intense loving style that has a characteristic of the lovers being preoccupied by their beloved partners. Moreover, there is a tendency for repeated reassurances of being loved. Lee describes manic lovers as those who speak in superlatives and possessive languages when they speak of their partners which causes them to portray that they need their partners. To these individuals, love is a means through which they are rescued.
When within manageable lovers, this type of love can be the key to strong marriages. However, in excess it becomes obsession and would often result in intense feelings of jealousy and possessive. Lee posits that this style of love is a result of low self-esteem as well as the need for an individual to be loved by his or her partner. Agape is a secondary loving style which can be described as the purest love form and is the combination of eros and storge loving styles. The primary characteristic of this style is the altruistic behavior that an individual has towards his or her partner and the love feeling when the individual engages in such acts. That is, the individual has the willingness to endure difficult experiences that arise from the circumstance of his or her partner. The basis of this loving style is the unbreakable commitment that one has as well as unconditional and selfless love. Individuals who have embraced this style will view their partners as a blessing which will always drive them towards taking care of them.
Pragma is another loving style that encourages practicality. It combines the ludos with the storge loving styles. It is not necessarily derived from romantic love but scholars have described it as a convenient style of love. Pragmatic lovers tend to embrace the notion of being of service which, according to them is more realistic and rational. These type of individuals will choose their partners in accordance with the traits that they perceive as compatible and desirable. In essence, they endeavor to find value in their partners which will encourage them to work with their partners to meet a certain objective.
Mania as an Example of Love Style in Confusing Love with Obsession
From the book, “Confusing Love with Obsession”, the most predominant love style that can be identified is mania. The main characteristic of this love is its possessive nature. Many characters in the book portray this type of love while primarily it can be seen in Nancy. Nancy is obsessed with Ron as it is evident from the things she does in the story. Firstly, Nancy becomes instantly attached to Ron at a very early stage in their relationship which resulted in Nancy manipulating Ron with pregnancy. She does this in a bid to keep Ron close to her which is an evidence of possessive behavior. She even engages herself in revenge acts against the women that Ron has an affair with.
The Obsessive Love Wheel and Four Stages of Its Development
The wheel has four stages which show the development of obsessive love. Attraction is the first stage where the individual finds himself or herself attracted to people who are either abusive or emotionally unavailable. Obsessive lovers are people who suffer from low self-esteem and will often become attracted to anyone that they hold as their object of affection. The second stage is the anxious stage where the individual starts feeling insecure about losing their object of affection. They start being anxious and that is when they graduate to the next stage of obsession. It is at this stage that he or she abandons oneself in pursuit of their object of affection. Obsessive individuals will neglect their spiritual, emotional and physical needs to satisfy their obsession. The final stage in the wheel is the destructions stage where the individual engages in self-destructive and manipulative behavior. The danger of this type of love is the fact that it affects the relationships that the individual has with others. It will cause a strain because one will be involved in endless lies which eventually eliminates the trust. Even the person with whom he or she is obsessed with will have a strained relationship with the person.
Love addiction, from the knowledge I have gained from reading this book, can be described as a form of addiction that entails one individual becoming attached to another almost instantly without ensuring that the person is emotionally available. Love addiction has numerous disadvantages and has a negative effect on the interpersonal relationships between people. Having a relationship with obsessive people can be difficult since they perceive things from a much different angle. There is need to be wary of these individuals because scholars have associated conditions like borderline personality disorder which leads to psychopathic behaviors. The primary cause of love addiction is low self-esteem which means that these people suffering from this condition are codependent. It is necessary that this condition of love addiction is known if there is to be ample communication between members of the society.
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