Love is a great source of satisfaction but also of conflict. It’s about a universal feeling surrounded by complexities; two people do not experience it in the same way. This difference leads to many and different disagreements in couples.
Also, loving someone can cause great internal confusion. That is why many poetic and theatrical works speak of this universal feeling and try to explain it by highlighting its difficulties. But it’s not just artists who are interested in love and its complexities…
In the field of psychology there has also been an attempt to understand love through different investigations and hypotheses. Moreover, in the last century, several rational theories about love have appeared that try to approach it in an understandable way.
The triangular theory of love states that all romantic relationships are based on the presence or absence of three characteristic elements: intimacy, commitment and passion, which are located at the points of a triangle. According to this idea promoted by psychologist Robert Sternberg; the existing forms of love can be described and defined according to which of these components they have, and the consummate love – to which we aspire – contains all three in equal balance.
Sociable love it is one of the 7 forms of love identified by Robert Sternberg. This type of love is found in relationships that exhibit intimacy and commitment, but not passion. We can say that beyond passionate love, relationships based on the sociable type of love share a series of unbreakable agreements, which have been established over the years.
In this article, we try to understand this type of love – based on intimacy and commitment – that it can be the key to couples that last over timebeyond the early years of falling in love.
What is social love?
Sociable love is defined as a form of lasting love that is built over time and is characterized by the interdependence of the members of the couplewhere feelings of intimacy and commitment predominate.
Because this love happens and develops over time, it usually happens in couples who have been together for many years, it usually happens in marriages with children or with a long history behind them. From the perspective of Robert J. Sternberg’s triangular theory of love, this type of relationship has a high degree of intimacy and commitment.
Commitment stems from long-term promises in the sense that the other can trust that we will always be there no matter what. Maintaining a relationship through both good and bad times is necessary for this type of stable love. This component includes the decision to love someone for a long time.
In a relationship, there are emotions that arise from a feeling of closeness. The intimacy component refers to the desire to share, give and receive. It happens in a relationship when feelings of affection, connection and bonding with the other are felt.
In these aspects, sociable love differs from passionate love. Passion is often considered the ideal component of love and romance. However, this type of romance film can be dangerous when not accompanied by intimacy or commitment.
Many people feel great passion at the beginning of their relationships, but that fades over time if there is no trust to get through the bad times together. Commitment occurs when a bond has formed that goes beyond the initial love. It is necessary to focus on this component, and not only on passion, if you want to enjoy a long-term relationship.
Passion for someone produces a strong physical and mental attraction. But, without intimacy and trust between two people, romantic relationships are difficult to maintain. Romantic love fades faster than sociable love because this type of passionate love does not include the intimacy component.
How does social love manifest itself?
Romantic relationships where there is a commitment can last a lifetime. However, whether they are satisfying depends as much on the personality of the people involved as it does on the stages of life. Moreover, some people believe that passion is essential to life; This can put them at risk of seeking new romantic adventures over the years.
Sociable love it is similar to the relationship experienced by two close friends, who have been through and overcome a lot together. However, this type of love is not like empty love, which is based solely on obligation or commitment. The connection and complicity between two people who enjoy sociable love is enormous. Each part of the couple sees the other as the person they trust the most and with whom they decide to share life; including its good and bad things.
Couples based on sociable love enjoy great mutual understanding which arises from the passing of the years and the overcoming of various difficulties. They support and care for each other on a deep level, choosing each other every day, they are also able to be vulnerable and share both dreams and accomplishments as well as failures.
In sociable love, the two members of the couple are closely linked and offer each other great stability and security. both they share a common life project and a perspective for the future.
Biochemistry of sociable love
Love in all its forms is fueled by chemistry. Helen Fisher, a well-known anthropologist, claims that humans have evolved three distinct brain systems. Each of these systems is driven by specific associated neurochemicals. Testosterone causes passion; dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin are the source of romance; and oxytocin and vasopressin cause attachment.
High levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, known as the cocktail of love, occur early in the relationship and last only a few years at best. Fortunately, the chemicals in the hug (oxytocin and vasopressin) are longer lasting.
This causes people to feel a greater attachment over the years through the release of hormones. Thus, the biochemistry that creates the attachment system that sustains a long-term romantic relationship replaces the biochemistry of euphoric romantic love from the early years of the relationship. As you can see, the chemistry of passionate love is fleeting; His changeable nature suggests that he will eventually evolve into a more stable mature love.
Do you know how to rebuild passion?
Passion can fade from long-lasting relationships. However, it is not something that, by definition, only exists at the beginning of meeting someone; this can be proactively rebuilt.
Although building a relationship is always difficult and faces many challenges, several couples have successfully overcome the initial phases and the decline of passion. This element must be rebuilt several times during a life of two. However, the good news is that couples who have already passed this test once are more likely to do it again.
Although, if we live in a bond of sociable love and would like to develop the missing passional component; there are a series of keys that can help us achieve this. Sharing new and exciting experiences has been shown to cause the same neurological effects in the brain as romantic love.
This suggests that rebuilding the passion between couples requires us to make changes in our daily routine, these changes can include: taking on a new challenge together, learning a new skill or playing a sport. Risky activities give participants the opportunity to experience shame, which helps strengthen the bond, while sharing quality time. There are also little ideas that can help us reconnect with the passion, for example, watching a film to feel and share together what the characters are experiencing and their emotions.
Some believe romance can also be strained by reverting to the initial courtship stages. You can try to make the couple fall in love again with an intimate dinner or a weekend getaway. Once we have found the spark, it is important to maintain it. It is essential to commit to trying new things experiences or live shared moments.
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- Sprecher, S., & Regan, PC (1998). Passionate love and companion in dating and young married couples. Sociological survey, 68, 163-185.
- Munante, R. M. (2013). Love: there is a (bio)chemistry between us. Journal of Chemistry, 27(1-2): pp. 29 – 32.
- Sternberg, RJ (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological Review, 93(2): 119 – 135.