Wednesday, May 9, 2018

What's Your Love Style? by Christine Bush

What’s YOUR Love Style?

In most languages, there are many different words that are used to make it easier to describe “Love”.  However, in our world, we use the same word in many different scenarios.  I LOVE my husband. I LOVE the Phillies. I LOVE my mother. I LOVE my dog.  I LOVE pizza.  For the most part (hopefully), we don’t mean the same thing. 

Even in the specific case of “love”, regarding a “mate or a date”, people mean different things when they say “I love you”.

In 1973, Dr. John Lee first proposed his list definitions of love styles, and to this day, they are great  topic of thought and discussion. How do you define love? Most people are a combination of several of the styles.

EROS LOVE.  This is the kind of exciting, romantic love. Think love at first sight. Think pounding hearts and sexual tension.  People with this style are the romantics, the people who work hard to keep that “special zing” in their relationships. I think a lot of romance writers and readers can identify with this.

LUDUS LOVE. This is the kind of light, flirty love that wants no commitments.  My college students call it “being a player”.  Quantity and not necessarily quality. Sometimes this is a stage in life (and not a bad one) where young people are exploring and learning about what they want in life.  “Not ready” for making a commitment is totally normal, though some keep this stage going all their lives. It can bring some heartbreak.

STORGE LOVE. I call this “best friend love”. Some folks clearly know that they want to “marry their best friend”. Some have a best friend for a long time. Then one day, they look at each other and all of a sudden, kaboom, they are “in love” and everything changes.  In this style, people often have very like interests, complementary careers, and parallel dreams.  Marriage, children, and building a life all happen very naturally, and fidelity is common.  Each partner “likes and respects” each other, and would never cheat on their “best friend”.

PRAGMA LOVE.  This is “practical love”. Pragma lovers sometimes have a “list” of characteristics necessary for their love commitment.  It might be economic, like a level of employment or education or financial status. It might be physical (ie tall dark and handsome). It might be interest driven (ie must love dogs, love children, love travelling). These lovers often have a life plan together (ie, finish school, buy the house, travel the world, then have kids, save for college).  Fidelity is present, but sometimes for a different reason (ie, if I cheated on her, she’d divorce me and take all my money). A little pragma is really practical, and good for most people, though some take it to extremes. Think of the wealthy 85 year old man on oxygen, with a 25 year old blond (wearing lots of diamonds and gold).

AGAPE LOVE.  This is caring love.  Altruistic love. Sometimes sacrificial love.  This is the love that cares for others, wanting the best for the person they love, even when it’s hard. Sometimes this is called “motherly” love.  This is the love that makes us flexible and forgiving, and supportive of the other.  Most good relationships that last have a good dose of this. However, if one person is strongly Agape, and the other has narcississtic tendencies, the Agape lover can become very drained. Best of BOTH have some of this.

MANIA LOVE. This is explosive, dramatic love. Manic lovers thrive on conflict and drama. Often there’s a lot of yelling and screaming and crying going on. Some in this category have damaged self esteem, and a breakup brings lots of hysteria. (Ie, “I can’t live without you” or “I will die if he leaves me.” In these emotional relationships, the stress seems to keep things intense. Often, there is an element of jealousy and suspicion.

The rich characters in our stories often fit one or more of these styles. And how about you?  What’s your love style(e)?

 Christine Bush is the award winning author of 20 novels and novellas. When she’s not writing (or petting her cats), she can be found having fun with her 12 grandchildren, teaching Psychology at a local college, or working with clients as a Marriage and Family therapist in private practice.  She LOVES to hear from readers and fellow writers!

    Christine's latest book, a romantic suspense titled  “Almost Anonymous” was released in April.