What is infatuation and how is it expressed in affective relationships?

In the field of love and romantic relationships we can find different forms of love, these can be understood in isolation or even several of them can occur in the same couple during the different stages that they cross from their relationship Among them, it should be noted encaprichamiento, a rather controversial form of bonding.

You could say that infatuation is what normally arises at first sight when you don’t really know the other person yet, being a way of loving with a lot of passion; without an embargo, there is no commitment or intimidation, so we would speak of a somewhat superficial type of relationship.

In this article we will see what this phenomenon of love relationships consists of, like infatuation, also exposing its differences with infatuation, but first we will talk introductory about the triangular theory of love.

    What is Sternberg’s triangular theory of love?

    In the year 1986 American psychologist Robert J. Sternberg developed a theory about the complex phenomenon of love and romantic relationships based on 3 components: passion, intimacy and commitment. This theory is known worldwide as “Sternberg’s triangular theory of love” or “triarchic theory of love” and has been used over the past decades by experts in the field to try to understand more deeply a feeling as complex as it seems important in the field. interpersonal and sentimental relationships.

    According to Sternberg’s theory, love can be different within each relationship, either because of the stage where the couple is, or because of the individual characteristics of each of the members who compose it. Therefore, this psychologist devised a theory that would allow analyze love relationships and establish what type of love or stage each couple might be in. To do the classification, you must first understand the 3 main elements of the triangular theory of love.

    1. Passion

    In a couple relationship, the passion would be this desire or this need for union with the other; being the marking element sexual attraction and/or desire felt by members of a relationship. When only passion exists in a romantic relationship, we would speak of a somewhat superficial relationship where the members have failed to show any steps or interest on a personal level, since the search for a deeper knowledge of the other.

      2. Privacy

      Intimacy, in a romantic relationship, would be the component closely linked to the behaviors and feelings that lead the two members to get closer to the other.

      In this case, we would not only be talking about the sexual domain, but other factors would also be at play here. understanding, trust, acceptance and support from both. Therefore, when there is intimacy in a couple, we will find a closer and deeper type of relationship than in the case of relationships in which only passion exists.

      3. Commitment

      The commitment would be associated with the interest of both members in maintaining the relationship in the longer term and stay together through good times and bad. Therefore, we would be talking here about a couple in which both members already have expectations for the future when it comes to their relationship.

      It is important to note that to make the couple relationship work and be able to maintain it in a healthy way in the long term, it would be ideal to meet minimum criteria in the three aspects that we have just mentioned; that is to say, the passion must be maintained, even if it could diminish a little over the years, because it is important that intimacy and above all commitment are consolidated.

        What is infatuation?

        According to the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española (RAE), the word encaprichamiento means the following: it is the action and effect of encapricharse. Likewise, in this dictionary, the following definitions are proposed for the word encapricharse:

        • Dicho of a person: insist on obtaining or maintaining your whim.
        • To have or suffer a whim for something or even someone.
        • Falling in love: what it means to take another person lightly and without too much effort.

        According to Sternberg’s triangular theory of love, encaprichamiento or flechazo that would happen when the central element, and also the only one, was passion, since in this type of case there would be neither commitment nor intimidation. One could say in this type of case that they are the typical ” flechazos or thunderbolt “. Therefore, infatuation would be quite characteristic of relationships that are short-term and superficial, but tend to be high-intensity while they last.

        However, the encaprichamiento or flechazo, in addition to being characteristic of short and intense relationshipsit’s also one of those times that develop at the start of other longer lasting relationships or with a romance when both members of the relationship are usually very keen on having intimate relationships but they don’t have yet developed enough trust and that there is also no commitment and there is not enough intimacy.

          How is infatuation different from true love?

          On several occasions there is a tendency to confuse true love with infatuation, being common that in this type of case the person who, being this infatuation, has idealized the other person and in reality is not attracted to her but by the idea that has formed about your person And the fact is that whim is generally an immediate and short-lived emotion, which it can motivate a person to act irrationally.

          On the contrary, true infatuation would be a feeling that is generated over a long period of time and normally occurs when a person feels their love for another person based on a more realistic idea of ​​the other based on various lived experiences. together and not by unreal ideas about the other formed in his mind, as usually happens in infatuation. In addition, infatuation usually generates a rather superficial lovebecause in this type of case, there is only passion and physical attraction because neither intimacy nor commitment has been generated.

          Some components that can favor the development of falling in love in a couple are those that we are going to expose below; its absence could be an indication that what is going on in the relationship between two people is actually an infatuation.

          When falling in love develops, eye contact is made between the two spontaneously and quite often, the two have quite similar tastes and personalities, there is no idealization of the other person that could fill the gap more deeply and generally let their vulnerable side be seen in front of the other person.

          Also, when there is infatuation, the other person’s true virtues and flaws are accepted, there are certain long-term plans, there is a desire to spend time with the other person without just thinking to have sex, both members they feel comfortable when they are together and have the feeling of losing each other, there is no jealousy in these relations and both people respect the intimacy of the other ‘other.

          On the other hand, When you have a crush, you show genuine interest in the other person. and they don’t just focus on physical appearance or attractiveness, they feel pride for the other person, they appreciate what’s really important to the other person, and they don’t have a superficial relationship and begin to establish a link between the two.

          On the contrary, in infatuation, these things that we have just seen generally do not occur or at least occur to a lesser extent, being a more superficial relationship where no real interest in the other is manifested, the aspect physical tends to be more important than deeper things about the other person, there are usually no long term plans and the personalities of the two members have no reason to match in this type of case, since the relationship is usually based primarily on physical and sexual attraction.

          Bibliographic references

          • Alava, MJ (2006). Love without suffering: Neither men are impossible, nor women incomprehensible. Madrid: La Esfera de los Libros.
          • Almeida, A. (2013). RJ Sternberg’s ideas on love: the triangular theory and the narrative theory of love. Family: Journal of Family Sciences and Guidance of the Pontifical University of Salamanca, 46, pp. 57-86.
          • Cuadrado, I. (2013). Affiliation, attraction and interpersonal rejection: Central aspects of interpersonal relationships. In E. Gaviria, M. López & I. Cuadrado (Coords.). Introduction to social psychology. Madrid: Editorial Sanz y Torres.
          • Galligo, F. (2013). To love without pain, love to love. Madrid: Ediciones Pyramid.
          • Lemieux, R., & Hale, JL (2002). Cross-sectional analysis of intimacy, passion and commitment: testing the hypotheses of the triangular theory of love. Psychological Reports, 90(3), p. 1009-1014.
          • Myers, E (2022). Sternberg’s triangle theory and the 8 types of love. Simply psychology.
          • Royal Spanish Academy (2014). Dictionary of the Spanish language: 23rd edition (tercentenary edition). Barcelona: Espasa Libros.
          • Serrano, G. & Carreno, M. (1993). Sternberg’s Theory of Love: Empirical Analysis. Psychotheme, 5, pp. 151-167.
          • Sternberg, RJ (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological Review, 93(2), pp. 119.

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