4 Kinds of Love
August 1, 2012 by
Categories: Relationships

Today I want to share brief descriptions of four kinds of love, by Milton Erickson. I feel they are important to know and distinguish, in order to assess how you interact others and your own relationships.

1. The infantile type of love, “I love me.”

2. I love the me in you. “I love you becaue you are my brother, my mother, my father, my sister, my dog. The ‘me’ in ‘you.’

3. The adolescent type of love, “I love you because your dancing pleases me, and because your beauty pleases me, and because your brains please me.”

4. The adult stage of love wherein, “I want to love you and cherish you because I want to see you happy, because I can find my happiness in your happiness.”

Erickson poses the following answer to “What is a good marriage?”

Answer: In a good marriage you’ll see some of the, “I love me.” You should expect that. You’ll see some of the, “I love the me in you.” You’ll see some of the adolescent variety of your good qualities that please me. But there should be a very considerable percentage of the enjoyment of the other person’s state of happiness.” (e.g. It isn’t enough just to enjoy your wife’s cooking. You ought to enjoy the pleasure she has in cooking.)

I love this definition of adult love. I think it can extend past marriages and romantic relationships and into any kind of adult friendship. This mature love has an interconnectedness that goes beyond “I love you because I need you” and into “I need you because I love you.”

What are your thoughts on the different stages? Are any missing?


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