What Are The 8 Real-World Types Of Love?

The little owl (Athene noctua) with his chick standing on a stone. (The little owl

We can explore the fantasy definitions of love, including Eros, Storge, Philia, Ludus, Pragma, Philautia, and Agape. We can enjoy Robert Sternberg’s 3-component theories of love. Or we get into the down-n-dirty reality of love — the stink of it all. Yeah, let’s do that.

Real-world love is complicated, messy, and it doesn’t often come with instructions. While love can be delicious, nurturing, and near-perfect, it tends to be mysterious and elusive. Love is a tough concept to grasp and even more challenging to attract.

While there have been many brilliant people who have outlined profound concepts on love and relating, here’s my take on The eight Real-World Types of Love:

  1. Ego Love

Ego Love relationships are born from what other people provide and represent. It’s a self-centered style of love that is most often based on need-fulfillment. When Ego Lovers appear to be full of light and goodness, it’s often because their life requirements are being simultaneously met. If the slightest thing goes wrong or if an ego is pinched, the relationship can collapse in a heartbeat.

When two people are relating from this position, it’s all based on expectations. This is not necessarily bad, but it can be wrought with issues.

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  1. Romantic Love

Romantic love is another form of Ego Love, but with a twist. As the 2nd lowest form of love, Romantic Love is chock full of fantasies and projections, and it’s often infused with the drippings of mutual objectification. 

Romantic love is the gooey, yummy, fake love that makes our toes tingle. It’s love based on how others inspire you to feel. As you feel bliss, you assume that you love the other person. The sad truth is that, when experiencing these types of relationships, you’re projecting your lack of something, not your love of the other person. 

What makes this type of love so addictive, sad, and ridiculous, and yet delicious, is that the mutual fantasies and objectifications often occur at the same time. This is when people usually have babies, planned or otherwise, make long-term commitments, and start families. 

In about 25% of these marriages, couples eventually stumble into higher and more service-based love relationships. The other 75% live with a numb sadness, in complete denial, or they get divorced.

  1. Self Love

While Self Love might be elusive for some of us, it’s a vital step in our evolution. We must learn to love ourselves. If we can learn to love ourselves (garbage and all), we will undoubtedly stand a better chance at loving others.

  1. Servitude Love

While on the surface, Servitude Love appears to be pathetic and potentially dangerous, being in servitude to another human being can provoke extreme leaps in personal growth. It might also placate or heal someone on the verge of a breakdown. 

For example, a husband might be in servitude to an angry, self-centered wife, with whom he shares several children. Over time, with his dedication, his servitude can turn into a Contractual, more resilient, or deeper love. Similarly, if a woman has become a slave-like housewife to an absentee husband, she might eventually embrace the depth of her loneliness, give birth to the full breadth of her power, and break free. 

Sometimes our most destructive relationships force us to self-actualize. Without them, we may have never reached the top of the mountain. This is why, no matter what you’ve experienced, you’re not a victim. You’re an experiencer. That’s all.

  1. Contractual Love

When we know and love ourselves, we are better equipped to fulfill our agreements. When we understand our limitations and issues, we are more successful in meaningfully participating in mutual relationships. 

Contractual Love requires clear objectives and agreements, whereby both parties have evaluated their positions in the relationship, and considered every aspect of the other person’s position. In doing so, both participants can make clear and clean commitments in the form of contracts. Within the confines of the agreement, both parties feel safe, and they begin to develop a mature and durable bond. Because it’s based in clarity, these bonds stand a good chance of evolving into higher forms of love.

While this Contractual Love might feel a bit antiseptic, it’s often the most successful form of love. Why? Because both parties put deep thought into the concept of their relationship, and they considered every aspect of the other person’s agenda. They may also have extinguished their selfishness, expectations, fantasies, and projections.

When we thoughtfully and consciously evaluate and improve ourselves, can stand a better chance at building the types of foundations that can carry us through the realities of life.

  1. Light & Friendly Love

Light & Friendly Love produces beautiful relationships that feel like gentle breezes, flowing in and out without tension or restriction. We might have sweet hopes and simple desires with these lovers, but few demands. In our relaxed and loving states, both participants blossom, and all is well.

As these relationships unfold, we feel gratitude upon every experience, and at every juncture. It would be rare for this type of relationship to produce any measurable levels of anger or disappointment. Mostly, this love reminds us that human beings are beautiful creatures with exponential potential in all directions.

  1. Interdependent Love

Interdependent Love is when two or more people enjoy supporting and loving each other. While giving and receiving, they tend to refrain from adding unnecessary requirements to the relationship. Participants in Interdependent Love might have bad days, but they would never require the other person to solve their problems. In fact, Interdependent Lovers would also never blame others for their challenges or emotions. They might even work on specific, personal challenges without ever telling their primary partner.

While codependence has been given a bad rap, it’s an important step toward interdependence. Without experiencing codependence, we could not know its opposite, and we might never understand our shortcomings. When we enjoy giving and receiving within an Interdependent Love, we tend to feel validated by it. In a way, this is also codependent.

Interdependent Love takes responsibility for intentions, actions, and outcomes, without playing the victim. An Interdependent Love is where you stand strong, I stand strong, and there is a bridge between us. If one of us falters, our bridge sustains us. 

Interdependent Love relationships are often elegant ecosystems, as each participant takes responsibility for every aspect of their participation, while also consistently creating value for others.

  1. Human Service Love

When we realize that we are each one with all of creation, and one with every Universe and realm, it becomes first nature to seek ways to serve others. Upon the recognition and empathic embodiment of other people’s pain, we merge with them. Doing so, we feel what they feel and endeavor to gently lead them to lighter and lovelier states of being. 

While Human Service Love is the ultimate way to serve humanity, it’s a tall order. If you struggle with loving yourself or releasing your ego, you might refrain from loving and giving in this way for some time. If you have not learned to love yourself and give without ego, your intentions to lovingly serve others might sour, which could result in doing more harm than good. 

To start your exploration of Human Service Love, take baby steps. Make a note of how your ego reacts to each gift you give to the world. As you learn and grow, make adjustments, then explore some more. 

On The Road To Love

Within each of these types of love, there are nuances, subcategories, parallels, and offshoots. You know yourself best. Be gentle with your heart. Set boundaries that protect, nurture, and honor you. And find loving ways to relax your ego into the nothingness from which it came.

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Praying With Humility: How To Change Yourself And The World

It’s perfectly appropriate to defend our belongings, lives, and loved ones, and to yearn for specific relationships and life-experiences. It’s also suitable to desire titles, positions, gobs of money, and the highest levels of success. You might even have fantasies of domination or revenge. It’s all part of the play. 

While goals and desires can be conjured through intentions and focused effort, prayers tend to require a separate set of conditions and attributes. If all whimsies and hungers were equal to prayers, then prayers for football team wins, stock windfalls, and military massacres would dominate the supernatural circuits, and crowd the fulfillment funnel. 

For a prayer to be considered “fair trade,” it’s probably best it meets one or more of these conditions:

  • Reflects a personal, life or death situation
  • Is born from pure, heartfelt intentions
  • Stems from a place of humility
  • Reflects a measure of reverence 
  • Does not require that other living Beings be hurt, punished, or killed
  • Results in improved conditions for one or more people, the results of which do not threaten other living Beings
  • Enhances an individual’s or group’s health, safety, mental capacity, attitude, emotional state, spiritual wholeness, comfort, relationships, or general well-being, including yours
  • Expedites a person’s psychological, emotional, or spiritual evolution, including yours
  • Inspires and invites feelings of positivity, kindness, and generosity
  • Provokes compassion or empathy from anyone who might hear the prayer
  • Immediately increases the vibration of the person praying

If your prayer doesn’t embody any of the above attributes, it might be more of a hope, desire, or goal than a prayer. Authentic prayer does not generally involve the ego. For example: praying for a financial windfall is probably egoistic, but praying to receive money to pay for your Mother’s surgery, might have measurable appeal to the Universe’s vibrational, response-network.

How do we create and improve our realities?

To up-level our selves and lives, we start with a feeling or a sense, then we slowly churn it into an intention. Once it’s embedded in us, we imagine related scenarios, outcomes, and destinations. Within these elusive dreams, we form agendas and implement actions, thereby moving us toward the fulfillment of our desires.

To accelerate our journeys, we might use games, leverage, strategy, or cunning. We might also engage our friends, allies, and demons. These are the systems and rackets that rule our physical lives within our three-dimensional realities.

It’s perfectly moral to have goals, dreams, and fantasies that are self-serving. Even a measure of greed can produce positive feelings and outcomes. It’s also permissible to dance with shadows and invite devils to dinner. What separates goodness from evil is not our thoughts or associations; it’s the upshot of our efforts. If hints of our intentions, and hosts of our actions, produce favorable conditions, we still might be invited to sit at the right hand of the divine. 

When we’re in the aggressive pursuit of achievement and position, it’s not necessarily harmful or bad, but it’s probably not prayerful. Prayerfulness requires our vulnerability. If our prayers are muddied with desires for pleasures and trinkets, they can become superfluous, even benign.

What if we wish to shift something unique, deep, and lovely? What if our desires are perfectly pure and egoless? What if we have the heart, soul-intention, and desire-base of a child? What, then?

Strangely, the Universe, born from light, has the heart of a child. This child is not infantile; rather, She is the embodiment of the deepest and most profound truths in all of reality, and throughout all galaxies and realms. Whether you see Her as a God, Avatar, Master, or Guru, or the embodiment of pure electromagnetic energy giving birth to matter and circumstance, She is truth itself. 

When we beckon the Divine, we enter into courtship with eternal light. It doesn’t matter if we’ve named him Jesus, Buddha, or Elm Tree, and it doesn’t matter whether we’re rich or poor. What matters most is that we have chosen to bow to a Supreme Being, which is also us. As we embody the purest humility, we see through the eyes of the Divine, and into forever. It’s in this state that prayers are immediately fulfilled.

Once we are in a complete and humble prostration to the eternal Self, we can be anyone or anything. In this position, we can share every tidbit of our pain and let it all out. We can be sad, angry, or delighted. We can be full of love, rage or hate. We can be selfish, and we can beg. Most importantly, as we lay our hearts and burdens at His holy feet, we free ourselves. This is how every soul, regardless of religion, can be immersed in the bosom of eternal light, and be born again.

Genuine prayer is not easy. It comes at a price. To connect with and shift the fabric of reality through prayer, we must first admit that our self-identities and personas are temporary and barely real. 

While we might not need to embody our purest selves at the start of our prayers, we need to be open to our unraveling. Without a doubt, to achieve a durable state of prayer, we must acquiesce to the All-That-Is, from the cores of our beings.

The Reality Of It All

When leading and participating in Native American and Pagan rituals, I’ve seen people heal themselves of hatred, depression, and disease. I’ve felt spirits exit bodies, and I’ve seen miraculous transformations in the most broken and horrid people. 

Through deeply intentional and action-based prayers, I know that anything is possible. Even if for a moment, if we can strip ourselves of our false identities and desires, and open our hearts to the vibrations of pure light, we can co-create any reality.

To begin, sit in silence, and bow to the eternal master. Call out to your angels, guides, Gods, and helpers in all the realms. Yearn to be opened. Beg for the light to blow you away.

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