Sociable love: the future of many couples

What is social love? Why is this kind of glue that binds many people together? What effects does it have on the lives of those who feed and share it? In this article we will answer these and other questions.

Sociable love: the future of many couples

Elena Sans

Written and reviewed by the psychologist Elena Sans.

Last update: 04 September 2022

If you look around you and compare the relationships of couples you know, you will find big differences. Some are in the early stages and others have traveled a lifetime with a company; there are those that exude emotion and intensity, and others that reflect deep stability (and perhaps deep boredom). Among all the types of relationships that exist, there is one very common and interesting: that based on sociable love.

We can observe this type of love in those deep and true friendships that overcome the passage of time, gradually becoming a safe haven for its members. Besides that too it is very common in couples and marriages with a long history. Want to know what it consists of? Then we’ll tell you.

Sternberg’s love triangle

Throughout history, there have been many definitions of love; but without a doubt one of the most current is that which stems from the work of the psychologist Robert J. Sternberg. His triangular theory of love emphasizes that this state is made up of three main elements, and depending on the combinations between them, different types of relationships are found.

According to Sternberg, complete love is a combination of three components:

  • Passion: I refer to physical attraction and sexual desire, but also romantic intensity; to that constant desire to seek the other and enjoy with emotion and delight their presence and their company. It is very common in the early stages of a relationship.
  • privacy: Alludes to the complicity, connection and harmony that exists between the two members of the couple. That feeling of affection and great closeness that occurs when both open up to each other and nurture deep trust.
  • Commitment: it is the intention and decision to continue the long-term relationship, to continue to be a part of it despite the difficulties and setbacks that may arise. It hints at the will to create and maintain a common project.
Sociable love is very common in long-term couples.

Communal love: the sum of intimacy and commitment

As mentioned, passion is the main component in the beginning of courtship. They are those “butterflies in the stomach” or those intense cerebral dopamine rushes that make us feel like we are flying with the person we love and that motivate us to keep seeking their company without ever getting tired of it.

Through the very natural process of love, this intensity fades or stabilizes and gives way to calmer, serene and stable states. The complicity, the trust, the security that the couple gives us is what finally allows the relationship to continue and deepen.

For this reason, in those couples who have been together for years, what is known as sociable love is often established. It stems from a combination of intimacy and commitment, but almost completely lacks passion. If you observe your environment, you will be able to identify many relationships that follow this dynamic.

What does social love look and feel like?

social love feels like a bond between great friends. It’s not like empty love, where only commitment or a sense of duty keeps the relationship going. In this case, there is great connection and complicity, each finding in the other the person they trust the most and to whom they go to share their achievements, their failures, their dreams and their fears.

There is usually a good understanding built over time and with the decision of both to be vulnerable, to support each other and to commit on a deep level. People in this type of couples they know each other very well, understand each other and choose each other every day. In fact, they are very stable connections that provide security. Both are partners first and foremost, and there is a shared vital project.

In sociable love, the couple enjoys great complicity.

Dealing with a lack of passion is possible

This is a type of relationship that is very present today and for many people this is not a conflict so be it. They have accepted that the transformation of their relationship implies a loss of passion and are comfortable with whatever it brings.

In many other cases, however, this absence generates frustration, dissatisfaction and unhappiness. This romantic desire is missed, this illusion of sharing with the other, a greater physical approach and a more complete sexual connection.

It is true that love changes with time and that it is common for passion to fade, but there is no reason to accept this reality. Passion can be restored if there is intent on both sides, if it is cultivated and not expected to arise spontaneously, if the relation is not neglected in this respect.

So if you’re in a relationship of sociable love and would like to see that last missing element reappear, get to work. Couple therapists and sexologists can provide the necessary keys to restore passion and accompany the couple in this process.

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