The 8 Types and Elements of Love

Love is a four-letter word that may be described in many different ways. Different people have different notions about love. For some, love might be sharing that last slice of pizza, it might be making time in their busy schedule, and for some, it might be sharing their playlist. Similarly, there are various elements of love1When we talk about love, we also have certain unrealistic expectations that we gain from the rom-com that we watch.

1. Types Of Love

Love is very simple, and in its truest form, love is an eternal feeling of bliss. There are many other types of love apart from just romantic love. By chasing romantic love, we often forget about other types of love that exist in our life, which might prove to be more fulfilling and comforting in the long term. The different types of love2 are:

1.1. Philia 

twilight meadow flowers friends
Photo by Sam McNamara on Unsplash

It is affectionate love. It is not romantic in nature and is shared between friends. It exists between two people when they share the same values, have the same wavelength, and respect each other. It can also be referred to as “brotherly love.”

People who share philia are open to each other, trustworthy, supportive, and engage in deep and meaningful conversation. The distinctive feature of philia is shared goodwill. Friendships founded on goodness are connected to mutual benefit and togetherness, reliability, and trust.

1.2. Eros

It is passionate love. It is sexual and is displayed through physical intimacy or affection. Our body releases hormones that awaken our sexual desires, which the admired partner must fulfill. This type of love is basically a desire for another individual’s physical body.

It can be displayed through physical touch such as hugging, holding hands, kissing, or any other romantic affection or admiration.

1.3. Storge

family online learning session
Photo by sofatutor on Unsplash

It is familial love. It is kind of a philia but between parents and children. This type of love is built on deep emotional connection and acceptance. Storge is the fondness that grows as a result of dependency or familiarity.

It is a naturally occurring type of love. It can be displayed by sharing memorable and eventful moments, sacrificing time, self or pleasure, and forgiveness.

1.4. Ludus

It is playful love. It is the flirtatious and childlike love found in the beginning stages of relationships3. It can also be uncommitted love with the focus of no strings attached. Ludus works best when both individuals are emotionally mature and self-sufficient.

In this type of love, our emotions allow us to feel excited, giddy, and interested in the other person. It can be displayed through dancing, teasing, seducing, engaging in whimsical conversation, or conjugating.

1.5. Mania

It is obsessive love. In this type of love, there is unwanted possessiveness or jealousy; it leads to codependency. Her survival instincts drive an individual to want their partner desperately. When there is an imbalance of love between couples, mania or obsessive love arises more often than not.

1.6. Pragma

couple holding forever letters
Photo by Gabby Orcutt on Unsplash

It is enduring love. This love develops over one’s long-term interest and matures as the years pass. In this type of love, personal qualities, shared goals, and compatibility are more important, and sexual tension takes a back seat.

The subconscious drives the two toward each other. To develop this kind of love, commitment, and dedication are required.

1.7. Philautia 

couple holding hands bw
Photo by Shelby Deeter on Unsplash

It is self-love. It is love that makes you realize your self-worth and personal needs. Self-love begins with having a sense of your self-worth and acknowledging that you are responsible for your own well-being.

Our soul always allows us to reflect on our physical, emotional, and mental needs.

1.8. Agape

It is the selfless love that you have to offer to the universe. It is the love that you give without expecting anything in return. Our spirits create bigger purposes than ourselves, which motivates us to pass on kindness to others. Agape can be said the love for the unknown or can be linked to the concept of altruism. This kind of love can be displayed through staying conscious of our actions for the good of humankind, helping others improve their life, or donating to charity.

All the different types of love are present in individuals to some degree at any given point.

2. Elements Of Love

As there are different types of love, there are different elements of love too. Love relationships should have these elements of love for one to have a solid and mature relationship. The different elements of love are:

2.1. Loving-Kindness

In Sanskrit, this element of love is also known as “Maitri.” This element means that to love someone in the truest form, we should be kind to them and not intentionally hurt them.

Genuine love ought to create happiness and not agony; having the option to offer happiness to your partner is the pith of this element of love. But one must always keep in mind that the first person to offer love-kindness should be ourselves, because if we can’t keep ourselves happy, how will we offer others happiness?

2.2. Compassion

people handshake agreement unsplash
Photo by Rémi Walle on Unsplash

This element of love is known as “Karuna” in Sanskrit. Like love-kindness, we need first to practice compassion towards ourselves. Then only will we be able to have compassion towards our partners or anyone else. With compassion, we understand our sufferings and other people and wish for others (and ourselves) to be free from them. True compassion is free of personal attachment or intention. One compassionate action, word, or thought can diminish someone else’s anguish and bring them delight.

2.3. Joy

“Mudita” is what this element of love is known as in Sanskrit. Love in its truest form will always bring one joy. True love will always help one suffer less. When we know how to create opportunities for joy and deal with agony ourselves, we can always help our partners in this domain. There is no true love if there is no joy in that relationship.

2.4. Equanimity 

chalk heart on wooden bench
Photo by Jamez Picard on Unsplash

This element of love is known as “Upeksha” in Sanskrit. The word “Upeksha” literally means to overlook (‘up” means over, and “Iksha” means to look). This element of love means that if your love is bounded by attachment, discrimination, or clinginess, it is not in its truest form. As long as we see ourselves as different from others or of more value than others, true equanimity cannot be attained.

2.5. Growth

aaron burden eZrIiv5bKxY unsplash scaled
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Growth is one of the elements of love that implies that the partners should grow as individuals. People should encourage their partners to do things that might bring them closer to their goals or make them develop internally. Partners should push each other to reach their full potential. Among other elements of love, growth is a very important one cause if the love is true, you should grow along with your relationship.

2.6. Security

This element of love implies that true love will always feel safe and comforting, and the person will always feel at home. If you don’t feel secure in a relationship, it is not true, and it might also cause irreversible damage. Feeling secure isn’t equal to feeling caged. True love gives you the space to feel free and yet feel safe.

2.7. Shine

sunset heart hands silhouette
Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

One of the elements of love is shine; it exists as one being loved to such a great extent that they radiate light and warmth in the presence of their partner. If this element of love exists in one’s relationship, the partners will feel excited, happy, and optimistic. In true love, partners help each other shine.

2.8. Acceptance 

elements of love
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

There is no feeling more beautiful than being seen and accepted for who you are. Acceptance is one of the elements of love that is basic to any relationship. We should accept our partners wholly as they are, with their flaws, insecurities, and vulnerabilities. True love means accepting each other without any filter, both mentally and physically, and if one cannot do so, you know that it is not true love.

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, and he has written many books, one of them being “How to Love.” It is a tiny book of only 125 pages that is filled with snippets that have the power to transform our lives. The book has in mention many elements of love with Buddhists as well as today’s modern perspective. Thich Nhat Hanh said that true love has healing and transformative powers, it helps one gain deeper meaning about life and their surroundings too. Happiness comes hand in hand with true love.

Your love needn’t stick to any particular definition. We all experience different types of love, and it might be unique to us. As long as the elements of love are present in your relationship or above, that relationship brings you happiness, and it is all worth it.

3. Conclusion

The concept of love is intricate and multifaceted, encompassing various emotional, psychological, and social elements that contribute to its complexity. While each individual’s experience of love may differ.

Love is characterized by a deep emotional bond between individuals. It involves feelings of affection, warmth, and care towards another person. This emotional connection often leads to a sense of security and belonging. Sharing one’s thoughts, feelings, and vulnerabilities with another person. This level of openness and transparency is a crucial element of love, as it fosters trust and a deeper understanding between individuals.

Trust is fundamental in any loving relationship. It involves having confidence in the other person’s intentions, reliability, and honesty. Trust is built over time through consistent actions and communication. Love is built on mutual respect for each other’s individuality, opinions, and boundaries. Respecting a partner’s autonomy and treating them with kindness and consideration is essential for a healthy and loving relationship.

Love involves providing emotional, psychological, and sometimes even practical support to one another. Being there for each other during both challenging and joyful times strengthens the bond between individuals. Understanding and empathizing with your partner’s feelings and perspectives is crucial. Empathy allows you to connect on a deeper level and shows that you genuinely care about their well-being.

The elements of love are interwoven and interdependent, contributing to the overall richness and depth of our emotional connections with others. While these elements might manifest differently in different types of relationships, they collectively create the foundation for nurturing and maintaining love in our lives.


1. What happens if one of the elements of love is missing?

A. The absence of key elements like trust, respect, or effective communication can lead to issues in the relationship. Addressing these gaps is important for maintaining a healthy bond.

2. Can love overcome all challenges?

A. While love is powerful, it might not be enough to overcome all challenges. Healthy communication, mutual efforts, and compatibility also play vital roles.

3. Do all loving relationships require commitment?

A. Commitment is often a cornerstone of lasting relationships, but the level of commitment can vary based on the nature of the relationship and the individuals involved.

Read more

  1. Levine, Stephen B. “What is love anyway?.” Journal of sex & marital therapy 31.2 (2005): 143-151. ↩︎
  2. Goode, William J. “The theoretical importance of love.” American Sociological Review (1959): 38-47. ↩︎
  3. Knapp, MARK L., and A. L. Vangelisti. “Relationship stages: A communication perspective.” Interpersonal communication and human relationships (2005): 36-49. ↩︎

Last Updated on by ayeshayusuf


Shivangi Somani

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *