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Eros, agape, storgê and philia

Eros, agapé, storgê et philia

4 keys to understanding lasting couples

The philosophical tradition is interesting with regard to the conception of love. For the ancient Greeks, love is an essence that can be expressed in different ways depending on whom it is expressed to.

First of all, there would be the eros which corresponds to the carnal love that designates the physical attraction that can exist between two beings. Then there would be the friendship that is called philia in Greek, a kind of selfless and asexual love. Then, there would exist the storgê that corresponds to family love, that is, the love that exists between blood related members whether through brotherhood or filiation. Finally, still according to the Athenian philosophical tradition, there would be a divine love, the love between oneself and God, or at least a transcendental love that could also be expressed between persons.

The Greek idea of love is interesting because it starts from the principle that love life is a path that must follow several stages. A couple would thus go through several phases during which there would be a different combination of this essence of love.

At the beginning of a relationship, there would be a dominant eros, which could then be balanced with a friendly love, the philia. Then, the longer the relationship lasts, the more family – storgê – and transcendental – agapé – dimensions would come into play.

Of course, each relationship follows its own evolution, there is not necessarily a carnal love at the origin, very often, it is from a friendship that an erotic love is born. In some cases, it can be a transcendental love that starts the relationship, this is more frequent in societies where spirituality has a predominant place. Always following the established logic, we deduce that couples come to form when there is the same need in terms of love, that is to say that each one is looking for the same thing. However, couples often break up for the same reason: there is an incompatibility of expectations. One is looking for a relationship with an erotic dominance while the other is looking for a relationship with a dominant philia or storgê. These incompatibilities are unfortunately frequent, it may be that the different conceptions of love are not present in people’s minds. Since they lack conceptual landmarks, it is difficult for them to formulate their expectations, which can lead to misunderstandings and other disappointments. Therefore, it is important to be conscious about love in order to avoid such pitfalls.

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