A Triangular Theory of Love by Robert J. Sternberg


Are you woman who admire the prince charming? Or man who restrain his feeling to a girl?

The more you admire the more your criteria increase. You’re just frustrating yourself by catching her/him with doing nothing. All you need to know is love quantification and setting up the threshold. Let see Justin meet the cutest one in the class named Alice. The most unanswered question from Justin is “What should I do to this one?” or “Should I ask Alice for a date?“. If you have the same question, you are Justin.

Psychologist Robert J. Sternberg has published a famous research about love. Sternberg explains those three components by its existence and he called the kinds of love taxonomy. There are three components of love:

The intimacy component refers to feelings of closeness, connectedness, and bondedness in loving relationships. It thus includes within its purview those feelings that give rise, essentially, to the experience of warmth in a loving relationship.

The passion component refers to the drives that lead to romance, physical attraction, sexual consummation, and related phenomena in loving relationships. The passion component thus includes within its purview those sources of motivational and other forms of arousal that lead to experience of passion in loving relationship.

The decision/commitment component refers to, in the short-term, the decision that one loves someone else, and in the long-term, the commitment to maintain that love. The decision/commitment component thus includes within its purview the cognitive elements that are involved in decision-making about the existence of and potential long-term commitment to a loving relationship.

(A Triangular Theory of Love by Robert J. Sternberg. Psychology Review 1986, Vol. 93, No.2, 119 – 135)

Now you Justin, you need to interact more with Alice to measure how much you love Alice and what kind of love you both have? There is no exact calculation but I can help you with the examples.

  • How intense you both talk? How long you talk?
  • How many topics you talk together? Is it about sharing each other passion?
  • Are you able to count on her in times of need? So Is she?
  • How awkward are you when you meet her? Are you aware when she is faking her smile?
  • How long your text thread with her for each day?
  • Do you trust her? Is she actively supportive?

The questions above are about intimacy. Intimacy leads you to a great communication. If you two live together, you will have an awesome family with the less awkwardness. You can talk each other day by day without permission.

Let’s go to the second part.

  • How pleasant are you when you stare her and how pleasant she is when get stared?
  • Do you like her smile with no excuses? Does she like yours?
  • How do you understand both of your body languages?
  • How much you take picture together? Do you take hundred pictures and stop with the cutest one?
  • How excited are you when you describe her? Do you like physical contact with her?
  • Is she adorable? Does she adore you?

If you have no idea why you should text her first or asking her out, you are in a right path. Passion is very subjective. You must understand your base criteria about your future mate and then fit yourself with that.

Here the last about commitment question list.

  • Do you have the same vision about relationship?
  • How often you talk about the future life with her?
  • How do you negotiate each other when you decide where to eat or choosing stuffs?
  • How nice you to solve your conflicts each other?
  • How many times you propose solution?
  • Do you have confidence in the stability of your relationship with her?

Commitment is the hardest part. It’s not about how you like her anymore but talking about possibility of you two live together.


Those three components are not a discrete function. Make a scale from 0% to 100% for each component. Love is fuzzy so you must create threshold. The threshold means the lower percentage level that indicate component exists. The existence of each component will show you your kind of love, the not recommended one (non-love, liking, infatuated love, empty love) or the recommended one (romantic love, companionate love, fatuous love, consummate love). Every person has his own threshold, don’t wait to create yourself.