A short reflection on love terminology

The various kinds of love are classified by ancient terms, of which the following are examples:

  • Eros: (desirous love)
  • Storge: (affectionate love)
  • Agape: (charitable love)
  • Pragma: (practical/pragmatic love)
  • Philia: (friendship love)
  • Narcissism: (self-love)

This list captures the more common forms, even though more subtypes could be added. Missing from the usual lists, however, are two of the more important forms of love, which can be rendered as follows:

In the past these two forms were classified with the vague and meaningless catch-all label eros, a word that has lost all specificity and become little more than a synonym for the word love – itself another nonspecific term. For that reason I have returned eros above to its original Greek meaning of desire, and provided pairbonding and romantic love with their own designations.

*Note that both narcissistic self-love and romantic love (which are similar in terms of self-enhancement activity) are mutually exclusive in contrast to pairbonding love. Contemporary relationships tending to oscillate between these contrary motives.2


[1] Gynocentrism As A Narcissistic Pathology – Part 2  (2023)
[2] Denis de Rougemont: Romantic love & the destruction of marriage in Europe and America (1957)