Pragma


Pragma is love which endures. The love between a couple which develops over a long period of time. The love which endures in sickness and in health.

PragmaAccording to the Ancient Greeks, love which had matured was known as pragma. This was the deep understanding that developed between long-married couples for instance.

Pragma was about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance.

The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said that we expend too much energy on “falling in love” and need to learn more how to “stand in love.” Pragma is precisely about standing in love—making an effort to give love rather than just receive it.

“What we wait around a lifetime for with one person, we can find in a moment with someone else.” – Stephanie Klein

With about a third of first marriages in the U.S. ending through divorce or separation in the first 10 years, the Greeks would surely think we should bring a serious dose of pragma into our relationships.

See other: Kinds of Greek Love

Eros


Eros is the romantic and erotic love. It is based on sex and powerful magnetism. It’s the one which can get us into the most trouble. It can turn into other kinds of love – but it starts as romance and attraction.Eros

The primary kind of love was eros, named after the Greek god of fertility, and it represented the idea of sexual passion and desire.

Interestingly, the Greeks didn’t always think of it as something positive, as we tend to do today.

In fact, eros was viewed as a dangerous, fiery, and irrational form of love that could take hold of you and possess you.

“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.”
– Oscar Wilde

Eros involved a loss of control that frightened the Greeks. Which is odd, because losing control is precisely what many people now seek in a relationship. Don’t we all hope to fall “madly” in love?

See other: Kinds of Greek Love

Ludus


Ludus is flirting and playful affection. The feelings we have when we test what it might be like to be in love with someone. The fluttering heart and feelings of euphoria; the slightly dangerous sensation.Ludus

Ludus was the Greeks’ idea of playful love, which referred to the affection between young lovers. It is the taste of flirting and teasing especially in the early stages of a relationship.

But we also live out our ludus when we sit around bantering and laughing with friends and loved ones.

“Flirting is a woman’s trade, one must keep in practice.”
– Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

In fact, there may be many ludic activities which function as a playful substitute for the far more sordid and intense affairs of Eros – sex.

See other: Kinds of Greek Love

Philia


Philia is a shared experience. The love we feel for people with whom share our innermost feelings and dreams, or with whom we strive with to achieve a shared goal. Philia

Philia is what the Greeks called friendship, and they valued it far more than the base sexuality of Eros. It was about showing loyalty to your friends, sacrificing for them, as well as sharing your emotions with them.

Aristotle takes philia to be both necessary as a means to happiness. He argues that to be a wholly virtuous and fulfilled person necessarily involves having others for whom one is concerned; without them, one’s life is incomplete – “No one would choose to live without friends even if he had all the other goods”.

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
– Elbert Hubbard

We can all ask ourselves how much of this philia we have in our lives. It’s an important question in an age when we attempt to amass “friends” on Facebook or “followers” on Twitter—achievements that would have hardly impressed the Greeks.

See other: Kinds of Greek Love

Philautia


Philautia is self-respect. The love we give to ourselves. This is not immediately vanity, like narcissism, but our joy in being true to our own values. The strength to care for ourselves so that we can in turn care for others.Philautia

The clever Greeks realized there were two types. One was an unhealthy variety associated with narcissism, where you became self-obsessed and focused on personal fame and fortune. A healthier version enhanced your wider capacity to love.

“I cannot conceive of a greater loss than the loss of one’s self-respect.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

The idea was that if you like yourself and feel secure in yourself, you will have plenty of love to give others (as is reflected in the Buddhist-inspired concept of “self-compassion”). Or, as Aristotle put it, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.”

See other: Kinds of Greek Love

Storge


Storge is the love of family. The love a parent has for a child, or a child has for a favourite aunt or uncle. The love a foster parent feels for the children in his or her care, or the love a grandparent feels for the child adopted by his son- and daughter-in-law.Storge

According to the Greeks, storge is the almost unconditional love that certain people feel for others.

This love could have its base in the genetic relation of parents and offspring, or nephew and niece, and everything in between.

Storgic lovers place much importance on commitment. Living together, or maybe even children, are seen as legitimate long term aims for their bond.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

However, more modern interpretations of storge also include the love between those who are committed and have a long, meaningful relationship together in which, over time, the physical element has ceased to be a factor – the love of the significant other.

See other: Kinds of Greek Love

Agape


Agape is the love of humanity. It is the kind of love which makes us sorrowful when we hear of a crisis in another nation (or our own); that makes us give our time or money to charity; and makes us feel connected to people we don’t know simply on the basis of our shared experience as human beings.Agape

Perhaps the most radical of all, was agape or selfless love. This was a love that you extended to all people, whether family members or distant strangers. Agape was later translated into Latin as caritas, which is the origin of our word “charity.”

“Compassion is the basis of morality.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

C.S. Lewis referred to it as “gift love,” the highest form of love. But it also appears in religious traditions, such as the idea of mettā or “universal loving kindness” in Theravāda Buddhism. Currently, there is growing evidence that agape is in a dangerous decline in many countries.

See other: Kinds of Greek Love