I have said that romantic love is valuing your partner.
I have denied romantic love requires commitment.
Or that commitment can add anything to love.
I was intrigued this week to receive confirmation.
It came from a source that is highly respected.
Psychologist Robert Sternberg has analysed love from a psychological perspective. The result has been his celebrated Triangular Theory Of Love.
He says the different kinds of love?
They are made of one or more of three elements.
Intimacy, passion and commitment.
The first two are what I call emotional connection and sexual fulfillment.
I have always said romantic love requires ONLY these two.
Sternberg fully agrees.
He says romantic love is about passion (sexual fulfillment) AND intimacy (emotional connection).
But he feels there is still a higher form of love to aspire to.
Sternberg calls this highest form of love “Consumate love,” which includes not only emotional connection and sexual fulfillment but also commitment.
As long as commitment is lacking he says?
You don’t have a love that is truly complete.
Okay that’s not exactly what he says.
Every form of love is complete for what it is.
But he still believes this highest form of love is unattainable without commitment.
But that’s the question I raise here all the time.
Does commitment REALLY add anything to romantic love?
The main reason I say commitment adds nothing at all is because unless your romantic connection exists right now, no amount of commitment will make a difference.
Is your romantic connection living and strong?
You have no need to commit to it then.
Is your connection weak and failing?
How will commitment alter that?
What is interesting is Sternberg actually agrees with me here by calling this important third commitment element “EMPTY love.”
What kind of love is empty?
The kind that lacks emotional connection and sexual fulfillment?
He does of course say you can have just ONE of these two along with commitment.
Then you have friendship or infatuation.
But even with these two things, what does commitment really add? Is it because you want to keep your friendship or sexual obsession forever?
Starting to sound like monogamy yes?
With all its jealousy and possessiveness?
But by now you should know where that one leads!
The minute emotional connection or passion is gone?
As Sternberg says then your love is simply empty.
Commitment adds absolutely nothing.
That’s why he calls it EMPTY love.
The only reason you would ever need to commit to loving someone is if you don’t actually love them. But without true emotional connection or sexual desire why on earth would you want to do that?
In my long term relationship I was committed.
That’s clear because I didn’t leave her.
And I didn’t “fool around” on her.
But we lacked the emotional connection and passion.
What we needed was to be TRUE lovers.
Yes we were friends so I guess that made us companions.
But as she always said it also made us “just roommates” as well.
But hey, we had wrapped our relationship with the shell you call marriage and that’s the primary thing that kept holding us together.
Without our friendship we would never have lasted as long as we did.
But ultimately that just wasn’t enough.
We needed sexual desire for each other too.
Romantic love doesn’t require commitment.
It just requires that it be the real deal.
That you and your partner value each other.
You desire to share yourselves.
To enjoy sexual fulfillment AND emotional connection together.
What do you think? Does commitment add something here I’m failing to take real note of or is it indeed completely EMPTY?