Mystery of Love

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Mystery of Love

by – Shefali S K (introduction at the end of the essay) Issue.XXX, Vol.III, July 2017


Is there anyone, who doesn’t love the sugar rush that comes with gobbling up the entire “Rasgulla” at one go? In the same way, is there anyone who doesn’t like the love rush that comes when a handsome guy is on his knees, for you and just for you?

There is no one, who doesn’t want to get bounced between the utopia of love and anxiety of break up. Everyone would agree if I say that, love is the ingredient which is required for happy life.  If not everyone, at least most of you would definitely agree.  Love is undoubtedly one of the most important topics in songs, movies and novels. But what, exactly is love? Is it just an emotion or something more than that?

When asked, “What is love?” we can expect answers like this. “Love is a feeling”, “Love is when two people touch each others soul”. “Love is mutual respect for each other”. Like this, each one of us have different definition. Probably even you might have your own definition, which is very different from these.

Surprisingly, till date, psychologists didn’t define love scientifically. But they told us, what not love is. Love is not merely a close relationship extended to physical intimacy. Love is not being sexually interested in another person.

Even though we don’t know what exactly love is, Sternberg in the year 1986 made an attempt to explain different kinds of love, through his theory of Triangular Model of Love. The first type which he speaks of is Romantic Love. In this type, lovers are physically and emotionally attached to each other but without commitment. Passionate love usually begins as sudden, overwhelming, surging, all- consuming positive reaction to another person- a reaction which feels, something which is beyond one’s control. But, unfortunately, because of the absence of commitment, Romantic Love fades with time. Sternberg explains the second type- Liking. “I like you, but I don’t love you”.  We have heard people say this in movies or if you are lucky enough, you might have heard this in your real life also. It is because, the other person experiences the sense of intimacy towards you but the essence of passion or long- term commitment is missing. More or less, they consider you as a true friend and nothing more them that. Moving on to the third type- Companionate Love.  This type of love can be probably seen in long- term relationships or marriages, where intimacy and commitment are still present but passion has already faded. Next, comes the Empty Love. This type is characterised by commitment without intimacy or passion. Usually, Indian arranged marriages begin with Empty love and as time passes, as the couple gets to know each other, empty come gradually changes to other types of love. Now we have the fifth type of love that is Fatuous Love. In this type, commitment is based on passion but without time for intimacy to develop. Fatuous Love can be exemplified by a whirlwind courtship and marriage.  Infatuation is another type of love which is explained by Sternberg. This type has only one element that is the passionate feeling towards the other person and there is no intimacy or commitment. Have you heard of ‘Love at first sight?’ Though it sounds like, something which can be heard or seen only in movies, infatuation is the strong reason which is responsible for the feeling of love, at first sight. The last type of love, which we consider as the ultimate type of love and that is Consummate Love.  It is a complete love, consisting of all the three components, that is Passion, Intimacy and Commitment. I don’t say it is impossible, but it is very difficult to attain this type of love. As time passes, one or the other elements get faded, keeping all the three elements in coherence is truly a real man’s job.

Even though we know so many things about love, all love stories don’t end up in marriages or long term relationships. We hear break up stories here and there and all over.  It is because, either of the elements which has been explained by Sternberg gets washed off and commitment is something which today’s young generation lack and also usually in love relationships, we feel possessive about our partner but it should not reach to an extent where in, the other partner feels suffocated.  As the journey continues possessiveness might turn into suspiciousness. Suspicious behaviour or thoughts might destroy the trust which we have on the partner. As it is always told, the suspicious mind is most poisonous one. It might bitter the relationship completely.

Or sometimes even over emotional attachment can be a threat to the relationship. Ones we are emotionally attached to our partner, then we want their attention. Their slight ignorance might lead to insecurity. Insecurity is like a slow poison which kills the person from within and as also the relationship.

“He doesn’t give me time at all”, “She calls me ten times in a day”, can also be the reason for relationships to break.  Spending some time with the partner is very much needed, but giving too much of time, might destruct the partner’s personal space.  So understand your partner well.

Lastly, adjustments and compromises are the magical keys for the successful relationships.  Tolerate your partner’s mistake because no one is born perfect. Sometimes forgiveness is all, which is needed. Forgiving the partner and giving them a chance to learn, doesn’t make any loss. All, we will have to do is, keep our ego aside and let it go.

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships”. Let us not assume and ruin a colourful relationship.

Love relationship is a beautiful journey of promise, let us all enjoy it with commitment.




  • Baron, R.A and Branscombe. (2015) .Social Psychology (13th ed). India: Pearson


  • Snyder, R.C; Lopez, J.S and Jennifer P T(2011). Positive Psychology (2nded), New Delhi: SAGE publication India pvt. Ltd.


Introduction to the Author:

SHEFALI SK is an Asst. Professor, Dept. of Post Graduate Studies and Research in Psychology SDM PG Centre, Ujire- Dakshina Kannada.

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