Let’s face it – we live in a world of fairy tales. When we are growing up, we see Disney movies and see all sorts of movies that depict “perfect love.”
Then we become adults, experience relationships of our own, and reality hits us in the face. Maybe this “perfect love” is just something that exists in the movies. Or is it?
Is there such a thing as perfect love? Is it a myth or does it really exist? That is a question that so many of us humans ponder on a daily basis.
Some may believe that it doesn’t exist, and think that the people who think it does have their heads in the clouds. However, according to Dr. Robert Sternberg of Yale University, it actually does exist.
Okay, to be fair, he doesn’t exactly call it “perfect love.” He has a fancier term for it: consummate love. So, let’s take a look at what it looks like in real life.
What is Consummate Love?
In essence, consummate love is what we all think of as “perfect love.” It’s the kind of love where everything really just works. Everything in the relationship seems to be aligned and moves along smoothly and happily.
Isn’t that the type of love we are all looking for?
Even if you answered “yes” to that question, you might still be skeptical that you’ll ever find it – even after hearing that a Yale professor has proven it can exist.
It’s likely to say that not many of us have actually experienced this kind of love. In fact, if you look around at most people you know, you will find that there are many problems in their relationships, and that probably doesn’t equal consummate love.
For example, I know a lot of people who are in sexless marriages. Or people who are best friends, but probably don’t have a lot of passion for each other. And yet other people seem to have casual relationships – either short or long-term – that just seem to lack that commitment.
If most people are honest about what’s working and what isn’t working in their relationships, you’ll probably find that more often than not, they do not have consummate love.
But don’t get cynical just yet – there is hope! Just as you can find plenty of couples who don’t have the perfect kind of love, there some who do. Just look at some public figures.
Take, for example, former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush. After their passing, the world learned of their great love stories. We heard of the love letters they wrote to each other up to the very end.
Now, I’m not saying that they probably didn’t have their share of problems, because everyone does. But, it seems that overall, they probably had the consummate type of love we are all looking for.
Let’s dive a little deeper and see what components actually make up this type of love, and what you should be looking for in your future relationship.
What is The Triangular Theory of Love?
As I mentioned above, the term “consummate love” just basically refers to a very high quality of love. It’s the love we all dream of.
That sounds great, but what does it actually mean? What are the components of it, and how can we recognize it?
Dr. Sternberg developed a theory regarding consummate love called The Triangular Theory of Love. After we discuss it, you’ll see that it’s actually pretty simple. Well, it’s simple to define, but for a lot of people, it’s not so simple to find.
The Triangular Theory of love involves three components:
Usually when we hear the word “intimacy,” we think physical intimacy. However, intimacy means a lot more than that. Yes, it involves the physical aspect. However, emotional intimacy is also a vital part of the equation.
For example, perhaps someone meets someone at a bar one night. They talk, they’re attracted to each other, and they end up becoming lovers. That’s physical intimacy. But perhaps outside of the bedroom, they have nothing in common. Nothing to talk about. Well, that’s not full intimacy.
But when you have the physical connection AND the emotional connection, that is real intimacy. You feel both physically, emotionally, and even mentally in tune with your partner. It’s the closeness, connectedness, and bond you feel between the two of you.
Again, when many people hear the word “passion,” they think of physical intimacy. And that is absolutely true, at least according to this theory. However, it goes beyond that as well. Yes, passion is sexual and romantic. It is a fire in your heart or your soul. It is something that can be overwhelming for some people.
While that is great, sometimes passion can fizzle. It can fizzle quickly, or it could fizzle out slowly. If it does fizzle, then it won’t end up being consummate love.
An example of when passion fizzles out quickly is in the early stages of a relationship. If you’ve never heard of the term “love bombing,” well, it can apply here. Love bombing is when one person just showers the other with attention, compliments, and everything passionate and romantic. As great as that sounds, the flame often goes out relatively quickly.
The passion may even last quite a bit longer – months, years, or even decades. But if the flame goes out, then consummate love is probably not in the cards.
Commitment is when you are “all in.” It’s the decision to be with your partner long-term. You aren’t going anywhere. You are determined to make the relationship work, come hell or high water.
It’s sad to say, but our modern society seems to lack a lot of commitment anymore. Gone are the days when people got married – and stayed married – for life. With the divorce rate hovering around 50%, we can see that not many people value commitment anymore.
But in order to have consummate love, you need to be “all in.” And not just one person – BOTH people. You can’t have a one-sided relationship. You can’t have one person committed and the other person only partially committed. It won’t work that way.
Consummate Love, The Triangular Theory of Love, and Why They are Important
As I said earlier, those components of love seem quite simple, right? Yes… in theory. But most of us only find some combination of these components of The Triangular Theory. And when we do, that morphs into different kinds of love. So, let’s take a look at the types of love many people have that falls short of consummate love.
This isn’t really even “love” as we think of it. This non-love is more of the kind of feeling we feel for casual acquaintances. We think they’re nice, but they have no significance in our lives, and probably never will.
Again, most people wouldn’t classify this as “love,” but according to this theory, it is. Liking is a feeling of closeness to someone, but you have no physical attraction or commitment at all. Think of the kind of feelings that you have a for a friend of the opposite sex that you don’t find attractive.
- Infatuated Love:
This is kind of a “puppy love” sort of feeling. It’s the crush you have one someone, and the butterflies you feel in your stomach when you are with them. It’s infatuation. It’s extreme physical attraction and passion.
- Romantic Love:
Similar to infatuated love, romantic love involves intimacy and passion. However, it has more physical intimacy than emotional intimacy. Even if it does involve some emotional intimacy, it lacks commitment. Either one or both partners lack the interest or ability to take it to the next level of being “all in.”
- Companionate Love:
You probably know people in this type of relationship. They are probably best friends and enjoy each other’s company a lot. They are great companions (hence the term “companionate love”). They have intimacy and commitment to each other, but they lack physical passion. However, for whatever reason, they have decided that companionship was more important than intense sexual attraction.
- Fatuous Love:
This kind of love is particularly susceptible to develop into a toxic relationship. The partners have a lot of physical passion for one another and even commitment to the relationship. However, there is no intimacy. There could be physical intimacy, but there is no emotional intimacy. In this kind of relationship, it’s very difficult to develop trust.
- Empty Love:
Sadly, there are many kinds of people in this kind of relationship. It’s a “love” where people are committed to each other, but they have no passion or intimacy. It’s like they are roommates and nothing more. There is no sex, and there is no emotional connection.
- Consummate Love:
As you can see from the above definitions, all of these kinds of love lack something. They lack one of the three vital components of love – passion, intimacy, and commitment. But consummate love has all of them. Yes, it seems simple, but as you read above, unfortunately, most people fall short of finding it.
Consummate Love and How MegaDating Can Help You Find it
You may feel hopeful – or even ready to give up on love– after reading about The Triangular Theory of love and how it leads to consummate love. Hopefully, you are not feeling frustrated because the intention here is to make you feel optimistic about finding this kind of love.
So, how can you do it?
If you’ve read other articles on this website, you know that we talk about MegaDating quite a bit. Just in case you need a refresher about what that means, it is simply going out on a LOT of dates. As many as possible.
You might think that sounds counter-intuitive to finding consummate love. I see why you would think that. How would dating as many people as possible ever lead you to find perfect love? How can casually meeting all these people lead to anything but something casual?
Let me first state that when I say to MegaDate, I don’t mean go around and sleep with a lot of people. That is far from what I am suggesting. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
The point of MegaDating is to meet as many people as you can. You see, dating is a numbers game. You will not find your Ms. Right on the first date. And if you do, you are probably the luckiest guy on earth!
As the saying goes, “you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your princess.” And I don’t even mean that literally. I actually think you shouldn’t kiss any of them until a certain point.
The point I am trying to make is that when you meet as many people as possible, you are broadening your chances of finding someone that you have passion, intimacy, and commitment with.
Obviously, you won’t know if all three components are there on the first date – or even the second, third, or fourth. It varies for everyone. But it will give you the opportunity to find someone with whom you do connect on all three levels.
Now that you know what it takes to make a relationship work long-term, why not give MegaDating and dating coaching a shot? You can’t find where you want to go without a road map, and both of these tools will help you get there.
So, after reading this, I want you to give a lot of thought to it. Reflect on your past relationships and see what went wrong. Which kinds of love did you tend to create the most often? Why do you think you created the that way? How can you do it differently next time?
Trust me, knowing what to look for in a partner is half the battle. Most people are just letting the wind blow them in any direction. But that won’t help you find consummate love. Use this – and me – as a guide toward your happily ever after.