Love – A Philosophical Approach

Love is a rather generic term that is often thrown around without much understanding of the impact behind it which often leads to problems further down the line almost like a ripple that carries across the water. As our clinic has a strong focus on psychoemotional health, I have seen the damage that the misunderstanding of this particular term can do so today I wanted to share a philosophical approach to the concept of love and partner selection.

We will be drawing upon Ancient Greek philosophy for today’s article especially the idea that love can be separated into many different terms however we will explore the three that you should feel when selecting a partner for the long term.

The first type of love that many of us have felt is Eros. This is the exactly as you would expect – erotic love. The burning passion and desire that ignites from the loins and inspires us to reproduce. Couples who decide to begin a relationship on the basis of eros more often than not find themselves drifting apart once the passion subsides and couples who do not have this aspect of love may find it difficult to truly connect.

The second type of love is known as Philia. A love that exists in the realm of friendship, philia can be seen as the connection that builds between two people who share a common interest. It is not uncommon for philia to evolve into eros and it was Aristotle who stated that love from friendship can ignite passion and that passion must return to friendship in order for a relationship to be success and consistent.

The third type of love is Agape. This is what is known as unconditional love or altruism and is focused on putting the needs of others before the need of the self. Though this concept is actually universal, it plays a very important role in relationships as if both parties embody this type of love then there will be a constant growth through the desire to support one another which can prevent things becoming stagnated.

In summary there are many kinds of love and relationships can form or break for many different reasons. Find a partner whom you feel Eros, Philia and Agape for and ensure that they feel the same way for you and there is a much higher chance of the relationship lasting the test of time.

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2 thoughts on “Love – A Philosophical Approach

  1. Interesting.
    Is there any way to promote one type of love over another?
    I always seem to have 1 type of love in my relationships.

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    1. That is a very good question Andrew. All three should come naturally and it is fine to start with one before the others emerge. A quote that relationship therapist often state and one I wholeheartedly agree with is “There are two things you need to know in life; 1) where you are going and 2) who is coming with you. Get the order wrong and you’re in trouble.”

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