MadSci Network: Neuroscience

Re: What is the difference between love and being in-love?

Date: Mon Mar 5 06:39:18 2001
Posted By: Jocelyn Wishart, Lecturer, Education, Loughborough University
Area of science: Neuroscience
ID: 982984593.Ns

You may be interested to find out more about R.J.Sternberg’s triangular 
theory of love. There are three basic components to love: intimacy, 
passion and commitment and the presence of absence of each of these 
components produces different types of love.

		  Intimacy	Passion 	Commitment
Non-love	  0		0		0
Liking		  1		0		0
Brief Infatuation 0		1		0
Empty love	  0		0		1
Romantic love	  1		1		0
Companionship	  1	        0		1
Infatuated love	  0		1		1
Consummate love   1		1		1

(1-present, 0-absent)

These combinations are described in more detail at

So far as I can tell from your description being ‘in love’ is consummate 
love involving intimacy, passion and commitment but ‘love’ could be any 
one of these three depending on the circumstances.

The book “The Psychology of Love” was published by Yale University Press 
in 1988 and edited by Sternberg himself and M.L.Barnes.

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