Evaluate your relationships based on Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love. Refer to Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love (Donatelle, p. 146). Consider each of the following relationships:
- Your parents
- Your best friend
- Your significant other (if any)
- A close relative (other than your parents) that you get along with well
- A close relative (other than your parents) that you do not get along with
Section 1: Use approximately 500 words. Compare the 3 dimensions of the Triangular Theory of Love and describe each of these relationships. Be specific about each dimension and why you ranked them the way you did.
Section 2: Use approximately 250 words. How do you think they would respond if they were asked to describe their relationship with you?
Theories of Love
There is no single definition of love, and the word may mean different things to different people, depending on cultural values, age, gender, and situation. Although we may not always know how to put our feelings into words, we know it when the “lightning bolt” of love strikes.
Several theories related to how and why love develops have been proposed. In his classic triangular theory of love, psychologist Robert Sternberg proposed the following three key components to loving relationships ( Figure 6.1 ): 15
FIGURE 6.1 Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love
According to Sternberg’s model, three elements—intimacy, passion, and commitment—existing alone or in combination, form different types of love. The most complete, ideal type of love in the model is consummate love, which combines balanced amounts of all three elements.
· Intimacy. The emotional component, which involves closeness, sharing, and mutual support
· Passion. The motivational component, which includes lust, attraction, and sexual arousal
· Commitment. The cognitive component, which includes the decision to be open to love in the short term and commitment to the relationship in the long term. (See the Student Health Today box for a discussion of the shortest type of relationship, hooking up.)