Everybody has at some stage asked themselves the question, “Will I ever find love?”
Perhaps you’re looking for a boyfriend, or a girlfriend. When we think of love, we tend to think of romantic love. Many of us have been exposed to the notion of romantic love in the movies and on television.
Because let’s face it, real-life love doesn’t look like it does on the big screen. People have jobs, chores, and kids to raise.
There are bills to pay, places to go and people to see. Deadlines to meet, yards to mow, and retirement accounts to build.
With all of that, who knows what love feels like? It’s the reason so many people are disappointed by love when they finally find some version of it.
But if you head out into the world with a variety of notions on love, you might find one type that suits your lifestyle and meets your most deepest desire: to be loved in return.
Here are 7 types of love that paint a more realistic picture of what real-life love is all about.
The seven types of love discussed below are loosely based on classical readings, especially of Plato and Aristotle, and on J.A. Lee’s 1973 book Colours of Love.
1) Eros Love
Eros love is the most common type of love, most closely associated with romantic love that we have built up in our minds and on televisions around the world.
But keep your eyes peeled when it comes to romantic love – Greek mythology tells a grim tale of love: people thought you were mad if you were in love.
As in, you know, crazy. Afterall, love does make us do crazy things. But the passion and sexual desire that one feels at the outset of Eros love does not last.
The dynamics of this type of love change and develop over time and it can leave people wanting more.
Focusing solely on one’s passion for another person might not be enough to equip a relationship to succeed in the long run.
Instead, people can focus on a variety of love to help them lead meaningful lives.
2) Friendship Love
A new way of thinking about love has caused people to turn away from the romantic notions of love and focus instead on the other types of relationships they have.
For example, have you ever had a friend you would do anything in the world for? You would drive across the country to lend them money, watch their bitchy dog for months on end, and pick up the phone just to talk?
That’s a kind of love that many people only dream about. But instead of looking to our friends to fill the gap left by a lack of romantic love, we find ourselves coming up short because we don’t recognize the potential on friendship love.
Our soul mates don’t have to be the person we marry. Think The Golden Girls, Sex and the City, or Gilmore Girls: all friendships that meant more than any romantic love connection ever could. Another term for friendship love is “platonic love” or kindred spirit.
3) Familial Love
Speaking of Gilmore Girls, familial love is a type of love that we often take for granted. We know our parents love us and we love them, but we don’t often pay homage to this type of love because we think it is so common.
The truth is many people don’t have family they can rely on or call upon to fill a gap left by love. Many people are lonely and wish they had a family to call their own.
So when you find yourself longing for a hot boyfriend to love you, think about how your family can love you in a different, but equally important way. But most importantly, let them love you.
4) Universal Love
Rather than nail down one particular person to love you for the rest of your life, or vice versa, why not spread the love around and see how that makes you feel.
We bet it makes you feel even better than getting the attention of one love interest. Showing kindness and compassion for people you don’t even know is a type of love that few people welcome into their lives, but it can be fulfilling and rewarding in a totally different way than a romantic relationship.
If you ever find yourself feeling lonely, why not reach out to a stranger and make sure they don’t feel lonley. You can do this by visiting a seniors’ home, homeless shelter, or even a shelter for animals who will love you unconditionally if even just for a little while.
5) Non-committal Love
Of course, there is a type of love that is really more like lust: non-committal love. No matter how much love we get from friends and family, there will always be the human need to be held and loved by another human being.
Sometimes people seek out relationships just to fill a void, and although these “encounters” don’t really count as relationships, they do serve a purpose. And who knows where a one-night stand could lead.
6) Practical Love
Practical love is the kind of love that many couples experience when they have been together for an extended period of time. You could also call this a twin flame relationship.
Let’s face it, when you are in a relationship for a long time, people change, needs change, and lives change. Kids get thrown into the mix, jobs move, bills can pile up – and so the relationship dynamics also change.
This is often the cause of a lot of problems for couples, but if you can take solace in the fact that practical love is a good thing and means that you have companion to follow you through good times and bad, then you might not get caught up in the fighting about laundry and who is going to make dinner. This is the “life” kind of love.
7) Self Love
If all else fails and you don’t find the kind of love you are looking forward outside of yourself, try turning inward and realize that you have a lot to offer yourself.
It might seem silly, but practicing self love is a great way to build confidence, stay healthy, and show the world that you have your act together.
And you know what? Nothing is more attractive to people than when they see someone who doesn’t need anyone else.
You can be all things to all people, or you can be everything to yourself. Think about it. And even if you are in a relationship, consider that the self love you yourself is just as important as the love you get from someone else.