Styles of Love

Compose two scenarios, each depicting a different style of love between two people. How are these two styles of love similar? How are they different?

Tell which style or styles of love have been prevalent in your life. Provide examples.

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I found possessive, excited love (mania) and selfless love (agape) the most interesting (Rathus, Nevid, Finchner-Rathus, 2005). Collectively these two types of love seem to describe different sides of the same coin. Sounds to me like these two types of love describe two paths diverging in the woods, as it were. The first type of love, mania, would probably depict a younger person because older people seem to have either found their true love or do not suffer under the delusion of true love. A young person, on the other hand, might not yet know the hurts of love and rushes into the relationship like an animal to the slaughter. I admit that when I was younger I did experience much of this type of love. I can remember being so happy to be around my girlfriend and then so distraught when I couldn’t be around her. I would also add that this type of love, practiced over a long period of time, only leads to destruction in my experience.

Conversely, agape love seems to be reserved for the wise. It takes a lot of wisdom to see that other people’s needs are truly more important than our own. This type of love, I think, would be reserved for the older generations and the young person with an “old spirit”. It also seems like agape love would be the type of love we envision in our ideal-other self and ideal self but struggle to master in our real self. I think that most people’s ideal self would include a primary relationship built around agape love. I know that my ideal self engages in little other than agape love. Furthermore, I have experienced this type of love in my life. I have come to understand that the best way to love myself is to love my spouse; that she is indeed more important than I am.

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Rathus, S.A., Nevid, J.S., and Fichner-Rathus, L. (2005). Human sexuality in a world of diversity. (6th ed.) Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.


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