The Different Types of Love

When you love someone, their well-being and happiness matter to you more than your own. It’s why you put in the extra effort to help a friend or a loved one get over a heartbreak, why you cheer your team on to victory, or why you spend hours perfecting that creative project for the person you care about. It’s also why you can forgive a partner’s mistakes or prioritize spending time together over other things on your to-do list, even if those other things are just as important.

The term “love” covers a lot of ground, and psychologists have a few different definitions of it. Some see it as a biological drive similar to hunger or thirst, while others think of it as a complex emotional experience.

Regardless of the definition you choose, most researchers agree that there are different types of love. For example, the love you feel for a close friend might be classed as peer love or the love of a spouse or significant other might be romantic love. Strong attachment bonds set mammals apart from other animals, and a romantic relationship can start as infatuation or as a friendship that develops into romance over time.

Then there’s also agape love, which is selfless and unselfish. It’s the type of love that motivates you to care for your friends and family, but it can also include a concern for the spiritual growth of another person or even simple narcissism.