May 30

Unconditional Love Part 2 – The Error of Eros

See Part 1 for context

As a student of ministry and a person on an advanced Spiritual Journey (advanced meaning I am actively putting time and energy into my spiritual development) I am aware there are many different types of Love.  However as my most recent relationship came to completion I decided to do a little more research into the concept.

 According to Psychology Today there are Seven

  • Eros – Sexual/Passionate/Romantic
  • Philia – Friendship
  • Storge – Familial
  • Agape – Universal/God-like
  • Ludus – Playful/Uncommitted
  • Pragma – Practical Love founded on reason/duty/long-term interest
  • Philautia – Self-love

For many of us, dating and mating tend to fall squarely in the realm of Eros, Ludus, and MAYBE Philia (if we’re lucky). At the exact same time, I have had many people say that what they WANT is Agape/Unconditional Love inside their relationships.  

I have long been perplexed by a lot of what I have seen and experienced in my quest for love.  It seems like people are in relationships based on Eros (sexual attraction) and fail to cultivate Philia (friendship) and DEFINITELY not Pragma.  We see someone and feel sexual desire for them and move into a “relationship.”  Given that sex is POWERFUL and I believe is designed to not only facilitate procreation, but ALSO to help bond people so that couples stay together through tough times, and provide stress relief and general good feelings, it is unwise to treat sex like it falls into the Ludus (playful/uncommitted) category by  jumping into a sexual relationship before knowing if at least Philia (friendship) is present.  Building a LTR (Long Term Relationship) on Eros is a recipe for disaster.

Back to me.  

As Dude and I moved forward in the conversation of marriage/life-partnership and co-parenting we ended up in a discussion about what we wanted from a LTR and agreed to write out our expectations. I’m not going to go into depth about his contribution to the discussion but I will share mine.

My list was short and sweet.  Not because I didn’t take the task seriously (as he seemed to believe) but because after 10 years of deep introspection about what I REALLY want out of a life-partnership, it comes down to 4 things:

  • Friendship
  • Romance
  • Companionship
  • Support

When I compare this list to the 7 Types of Love I see Eros, Philia, Pragma, and Agape.  Eros is tied to Romance, Philia to Friendship, Pragma to Companionship, and Agape to Support.  To me, if these things are present, you have a recipe for a relationship that can last.  

For him this short list, that was accompanied by a few explanatory bullet points was “generic.”  I can see how he felt that way when comparing it to the 4 page thesis he submitted.  As I shared with him, my submission was light on details and specifics of what I “want” because for me part of the magic and adventure of a relationship is seeing how it unfolds.  I figure if  Agape & Philia are present, almost ANYTHING can be worked out.  With all that being said, yes being loving to others is important, AND; it all HAS TO be built on a foundation of HEALTHY PHILAUTIA (Self-Love).  

In the Bible we are told Jesus/Yahweh/Yeshua gave the 2nd greatest commandment to be “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  (Matt 22:37).  I assert, that without a love of self, how we love others tends to can be very odd.  Ranging from needy to controlling, or even abusive.  I believe this issue is at the crux of my relationship downfall.  

More to come…


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