Romantic love isn’t the only type of love to strive for. To the ancient Greeks there’s eight different types of love.
1. “Eros” or Erotic Love
The first kind of love is Eros, which is named after the Greek god of love and fertility. Eros represents the idea of sexual passion and desire.
Eros is a passionate and intense form of love that arouses romantic and sexual feelings.
2. “Philia” or Affectionate Love
The second type of love is philia, or friendship. The ancient Greeks valued philia far above eros because it was considered a love between equals.
Philia is a type of love that is felt among friends who’ve endured hard times together.
3. “Storge” or Familiar Love
It resembles philia in that it is a love without physical attraction, storge is primarily to do with kinship and familiarity. Storge is a natural form of affection that often flows between parents and their children, and children for their parents.
4. “Ludus” or Playful Love
Although ludus has a bit of the erotic eros in it, it is much more than that. The Greeks thought of ludus as a playful form of love, for example, the affection between young lovers.
5. “Mania” or Obsessive Love
Mania love is a type of love that leads a partner into a type of madness and obsessiveness. It occurs when there is an imbalance between eros and ludus.
6. “Pragma” or Enduring Love
Pragma is a love that has aged, matured and developed over time. It is beyond the physical, it has transcended the casual, and it is a unique harmony that has formed over time.
You can find pragma in married couples who’ve been together for a long time, or in friendships that have endured for decades.
7. “Philautia” or Self Love
The Greeks understood that in order to care for others, we must first learn to care for ourselves. This form of self-love is not the unhealthy vanity and self-obsession that is focused on personal fame, gain & fortune as is the case with Narcissism.
Instead, philautia is self-love in its healthiest form. It shares the Buddhist philosophy of “self-compassion” which is the deep understanding that only once you have the strength to love yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin, will you be able to provide love to others.
8. “Agape” or Selfless Love
The highest and most radical type of love according to the Greeks is agape, or selfless unconditional love.
This type of love is not the sentimental outpouring that often passes as love in our society.
It has nothing to do with the condition-based type of love that our sex-obsessed culture tries to pass as love.
Agape is what some call spiritual love. It is an unconditional love, bigger than ourselves, a boundless compassion, an infinite empathy.
It is what the Buddhists describe as “mettā” or “universal loving kindness.” It is the purest form of love that is free from desires and expectations, and loves regardless of the flaws and shortcomings of others.
Agape is the love that is felt for that which we intuitively know as the divine truth: the love that accepts, forgives and believes for our greater good.