Love and Relationship


  1. Intimacy (亲密关系) : Feelings of attachment, closeness, typified by sharing secrets, etc.
  2. Passion (激情的爱) : Feelings of sexual and romantic attraction.
  3. Commitment (承诺义务之爱): A willingness in the short-term to create and maintain a relationship and long-term plans to sustain the relationship.
  • Nonlove(零爱或没爱) “refers simply to the absence of all three components of love. Nonlove characterizes the large majority of our personal relationships, which are simply casual interactions.”
  • Liking/friendship (喜爱/友情) is “used here in a nontrivial sense. Rather, it refers to the set of feelings one experiences in relationships that can truly be characterized as friendship. One feels closeness, bondedness, and warmth toward the other, without feelings of intense passion or long-term commitment.”
  • Infatuated love (迷恋,痴情): “Infatuation results from the experiencing of passionate arousal in the absence of intimacy and decision/commitment…like Tennov’s limerance .” Romantic relationships often start out as infatuated love and become romantic love as intimacy develops over time. Without developing intimacy or commitment, infatuated love may disappear suddenly.
  • Empty love (空虚的爱) is characterized by commitment without intimacy or passion. A stronger love may deteriorate into empty love. In an arranged marriage, the spouses’ relationship may begin as empty love and develop into another form, indicating “how empty love need not be the terminal state of a long-term relationship…[but] the beginning rather than the end.”
  • Romantic love (浪漫爱情) “derives from a combination of the intimate and passionate components of love…romantic lovers are not only drawn physically to each other but are also bonded emotionally”- bonded both intimately and passionately, but without sustaining commitment.
  • Companionate love (伴侣式的爱情) is an intimate, non-passionate type of love that is stronger than friendship because of the element of long-term commitment. “This type of love is observed in long-term marriages where passion is no longer present” but where a deep affection and commitment remain. The love ideally shared between family members is a form of companionate love, as is the love between close friends who have a platonic but strong friendship.
  • Fatuous love (愚昧的爱) can be exemplified by a whirlwind courtship and marriage – “fatuous in the sense that a commitment is made on the basis of passion without the stabilizing influence of intimate involvement.”
  • Consummate love (完美之爱)is the complete form of love, representing an ideal relationship toward which people strive. Of the seven varieties of love, consummate love is theorized to be that love associated with the “perfect couple.” According to Sternberg, these couples will continue to have great sex fifteen years or more into the relationship, they cannot imagine themselves happier over the long-term with anyone else, they overcome their few difficulties gracefully, and each delight in the relationship with one other. However, Sternberg cautions that maintaining a consummate love may be even harder than achieving it. He stresses the importance of translating the components of love into action. “Without expression,” he warns, “even the greatest of loves can die.” Thus, consummate love may not be permanent. If passion is lost over time, it may change into companionate love.

*****As a side note, my issue with this is that I don’t agree that everyone’s “perfect love” is consummate love. On the contrary many people have many different ideas of what the perfect relationship for them is. Also, sex or “passion” is not always the best part of any relationship, and there are people who don’t want or need to have sex to have a happy healthy relationship and this marginalizes those people. I think this is a good chart with interesting classifications, but an inaccurate idea of what the most “perfect love” is.

An interesting post about relationship to share with all of you. The diagram depicts the TRIANGLE OF LOVE and I personally concurred with what the above blogger have said: sex and passions are not the most important factors in a healthy relationship. Ask what will happen if your partner is injured in an accident and unable to have sexual intimacy for the rest of her/his life, are you going to leave her/him? Note that the Chinese terms were interpreted by me for your easier visualization the love process.

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