top of page
  • Kiara Iman

The different types of love

I understand that love is an art. Subjective. Beautiful. Complex, yet so simple. And, depending on whom and what someone's standard for it is, love has a huge impact on the way a person pursues relationships with his or her self + others.

(Photo by Sarah Kay Photography)

I first want to ask, “What does love mean to you?” I can further clarify my question with “What does love mean to you in this season?” It’s important to assess this as we move from moment to moment. Why? Because, we are constantly evolving, which means our perception of something can too.

For example, when I was younger I solely believed love to be love when it was easy and gave me what I wanted. But, in maturing, I have also found love to be the tough pill to swallow and the weight of sacrifice.

I have discovered eight types of conditional and unconditional love — each put language to my feelings. I now realize that all of them work together. Meaning, when I say I love something, I do. I just have to know what kind of love I’m referring to. I’ve learned this to be important so that whatever/whomever I am “loving” I know how to properly do so. Or, to stop. That is an option too.

8 Types of Love

The Greeks were smarter than us, and they had different words for different kinds of love.”

Agape aka “unconditional love”

  • selfless, sacrificial, universal

  • i.e., the love of God, a mother’s love for her child, extended love without a return

Eros aka “romantic love”

  • passionate, physical, sexual

  • i.e., physical attraction and gratification

Philia aka “affectionate love”

  • friendly, platonic, confidant

  • i.e., best friends, deep love but no need for romance

Philautia aka “self-love”

  • self-appreciation and fulfillment

  • i.e., personal care, self-compassion and affection

Storge aka “familiar love”

  • kinship, strong bond, familiarity

  • i.e., parent-child connection, love for family, rooted in memories shared between one another

Pragma aka “enduring love”

  • long-lasting, mature, commitment

  • i.e., through thick and thin, longevity between husband and wife, sticking by someone’s side no matter what, healthy compromise for reciprocated happiness

Ludus aka “playful love”

  • infatuation, strong interest, flirtatious

  • i.e., puppy love phase, butterflies, curiosity, giddiness, having a crush

Mania aka “obsessive love”

  • codependent, possessive, toxic

  • i.e., clingy, imbalance of affection, one-sided, needy for attention

Reflection Points

  1. I may love someone, but I should take intentional time to know in what way. I can always get better.

  2. If you’re new in a relationship, your feelings about a person are valid. You do love your partner. But to be in a relationship that lasts, how do you both need to grow in love for one another? What kind of love can you both work on? If it’s all eros, it may start passionate but quickly burn out. Where is the balance?

  3. You’ve been together for a while but no longer have that fire. How can you continue to cultivate the more playful, lighthearted versions of love? What can you do to keep igniting that flame? Keep it spicy, boo. Have fun. Switch up the routine. Laugh more.

  4. I can’t neglect my relationship with self.

  5. It’s easy to focus on filling everyone else up or blaming others as to why you don’t feel your own sense of worth. How will you put in the work to love you too? How will you take responsibility for your own confidence, independence, and fulfillment?

  6. What are your hobbies? What is something you can learn or do without the need for attention from others?

  7. How can you better validate and affirm yourself?

  8. I need a love anchor.

  9. What is your standard for unconditional love? How can you extend more sacrifice, grace, mercy, and “just because” love?

  10. God is love. Are you still earnestly seeking him? You need something higher than you to pour into you. Are you running to his well? Your soul may be thirsty.

  11. I long for community. It is good to have different people to pour out my love to.

  12. Who else can you show universal love to today? Who can you simply be a friend to?

  13. It is okay to find more people to build bonds with. Continue to pray for the people who are supposed to be in your life.

  14. It’s good to share your love. Don’t withhold because of fear or unforgiveness.

References and Resources

19 views1 comment
bottom of page