For many of us, love is like oxygen. We can't live without it. We crave the feeling of love and we want others to feel it as well. I've always said that if I could experience half of the love that my parents did, I would be happy. But, I never thought about what type of love I wanted.
Researchers have long examined the concept of love. Love is an important predictor of happiness, satisfaction, and positive emotions in our lives (Anderson, 1977; Diener & Lucas, 2000; Myers, 1992). Over the years, there are have been many different conceptualizations of love. In particular, Lee (1973; 1988) identified six types of love: pragma, ludus, storge, agape, mania, and eros. I know what you're thinking; what the hell is up with these names? Well, many of these are Greek translations of the word love.
YOU can find out YOUR love style by completing the survey below called the Love Attitudes Scale, which was created by Hendrick and Hendrick in 1986.
Love Attitudes Scale
Get out a piece of paper. Number that piece of paper from 1 to 42. For each of the 42 statements, write down the number that most nearly describes your attitudes or beliefs. Some of the items refer to a specific love relationship, while others refer to general attitudes and beliefs about love. Whenever possible, answer the questions with your current partner in mind. If you are not currently dating, answer the questions with your most recent partner in mind. If you have never been in love or in a relationship before, answer in terms of what you think your responses would most likely be.
Rate each item on a scale of 1 to 5:
1 = strongly disagree
2 = disagree
3 = neutral
4 = agree
5 = strongly agree
1. My partner and I were attracted to each other immediately after we first met.
2. I try to keep my lover a little uncertain about my commitment to him/her.
3. It is hard to say exactly where friendship ends and love begins.
4. I consider what a person is doing to become in life before I commit myself to him/her.
5. When things aren't right with my lover and me, my stomach gets upset.
6. I try to always help my lover through difficult times.
7. My partner and I have the right physical "chemistry" between us.
8. I believe that what my lover doesn't know about me won't hurt him/her.
9. Genuine love first requires caring for a while.
10. I try to plan my life carefully before choosing a lover.
11. When my love affairs break up, I get depressed.
12. I would rather suffer myself than let my lover suffer.
13. Our lovemaking is very intense and satisfying.
14. I have sometimes had to keep two of my lovers from finding out about each other.
15. I expect to always be friends with the one I love.
16. It is best to love someone with a similar background.
17. Sometimes I get so excited about being in love that I can't sleep.
18. I cannot be happy unless I place my lover's happiness before my own.
19. I feel that my lover and I were meant for each other.
20. I can get over love affairs pretty easily and quickly.
21. The best kind of love grows out of a long friendship.
22. A main consideration in choosing a lover is how he/she reflects on my family.
23. When my lover doesn't pay attention to me, I feel sick all over.
24. I am usually willing to sacrifice my own wishes to let my lover achieve his/hers.
25. My partner and I became emotionally involved rather quickly.
26. My partner would get upset if he/she knew some of the things I've done with other people.
27. Our friendship merged gradually into love over time.
28. An important factor in choosing a partner is whether or not he/she will be a good parent.
29. When I am in love, I have trouble concentrating.
30. Whatever I own is my lover's to use as he/she chooses.
31. My partner and I really understand each other.
32. When my lover gets too dependent on me, I want to back off a little.
33. Love is really a deep friendship not a mysterious, mystical emotion.
34. One consideration in choosing a partner is how he/she will reflect on my career.
35. I cannot relax if I suspect that my lover is with someone else.
36. When my lover gets angry with me, I still love him/her fully and unconditionally.
37. My partner fits my ideal standards of physical beauty/handsomeness.
38. I enjoy playing the "game of love" with a number of different partners.
39. My most satisfying love relationships have been developed from good friendships.
40. Before getting very involved with anyone, I try to figure out how compatible his/her hereditary background is with mine in case we ever have children.
41. If my lover ignores me for a while, I do stupid things to get his/her attention back.
42. I would endure all things for the sake of my lover.
Now, add up your scores for each group of numbers below. Higher scores indicate higher levels of that love style.
Pragma- Add numbers for items: 4, 10, 16, 22, 28, 34, & 40
Eros- Add numbers for items: 1, 7, 13, 19, 25, 31, & 37
Ludus- Add numbers for items: 2, 8, 14, 20, 26, 32, & 38
Storge- Add numbers for items: 3, 9, 15, 21, 27, 33, & 39
Mania- Add numbers for items: 5, 11, 17, 23, 29, 35, & 41
Agape- Add numbers for items: 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, & 42
It's okay if you don't have one clear winning love style. Many individuals have a combination of 2-3 love styles.
So, what does your love style mean?
Individuals w/ a pragma love style...
1. are practical-minded
2. seek compatibility in social and personal qualities
3. objectively search for certain qualities they want in a mate
4. are cautious about commitment
5. want to know someone well before becoming intimate
6. feel that seeking an optimal match is the only logical way to find a mate
7. do not value physical attraction as much as other attributes
Individuals w/ an eros love style...
1. feel intense, passionate emotions about their mates
2. usually have a strong commitment to their relationship
3. believe in love at first sight
4. want intimacy, including sexual intimacy, early on in a relationship
5. are very affectionate
6. feel secure when they are in love
7. are not usually obsessive or jealous
8. communicate openly
9. value physical attraction
Individuals w/ a ludus love style...
1. crave the "game" of love
2. like variety in their partners
3. have no problem dating more than one person at a time
4. believe you can love more than one person at any given time
5. are not very emotional
6. don't usually involve themselves in serious relationships
7. avoid commitment
8. can be manipulative and views as deception as acceptable
Individuals w/ a storge love style...
1. enjoy a dependable, down-to-earth love with others
2. value friendship and stability
3. believe that love is an extension of friendship
4. are intimate, sharing activities and common interests
5. do not value physical attraction
6. like to feel comfortable in a relationship
7. are not involved in emotionally charged relationships
8. can keep couples involved in a relationship when eros dies down
Individuals w/ a mania love style...
1. are obsessive and jealous
2. are very emotional
3. are insecure about their relationships
4. desire intimacy quickly
5. are preoccupied by their fear of rejection or abandonment
6. like spending too much time with their lovers
7. are often described as being "in love with love"
8. require a great deal of affection
9. are often in relationships with incompatible others because f their desire to be in love
Individuals w/ an agape love style...
1. are often referred to as individuals with selfless or altruistic love
2. believes in giving love because everyone is deserving of it
3. love others without expecting anything in return
4. do not have any physical attraction requirements
5. are usually non-demanding, very forgiving, and supportive
6. believe in honesty in relationships
7. are not highly emotional
Among college students, the most desired love styles are storge and agape, and the least desired love style is ludus (Hahn & Blass, 1997). Furthermore, most individuals prefer, and are happier with, a partner with the same love style(s) as themselves (Davis & Latty-Mann, 1987; Hahn & Blass, 1997). Similar love styles is an important predictor of satisfying, long-term relationships. So, test your significant other too!
- Anderson, M. R. (1977). A study of the relationship between life satisfaction and self-control, locus of control, satisfaction with primary relationships, and work satisfaction (Doctoral dissertation, Michigan State University, 1977). Dissertation Abstracts International, 38, 26389A, (University Microfilm No. 77-25, 214).
- Davis, K. E., & Latty-Mann, H. (1987). Love styles and relationship quality: A contribution to validation. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 4, 409-428.
- Diener, E., & Lucas, R. (2000). Subjective emotional well-being. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland-Jones (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (2nd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.
- Hahn, J., & Blass, T. (1997). Dating partner preferences: A function of similarity of love styles. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 12, 595-610.
- Hendrick, C., & Hendrick, S. (1986). A theory and method of love. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 392-402.
- Lee, J. A. (1973). The colors of love: An exploration of the ways of loving. Don Mills, Ontario: New Press. (Popular Edition, 1976).
- Lee, J. A. (1988). Love-styles. In R. J. Sternberg & M. L. Barnes (Eds.), The psychology of love (pp. 38-67). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
- Myers, D. G. (1992). The pursuit of happiness: Who is happy and why? New York: William Morrow & Company.
For more information about Lee's six love styles, see the following resources: