Love is one of the most amazing feelings in the world, but not all love is experienced equally. According to the Three Loves Theory, as we grow through different stages in our lives, we experience different types of love.
Yes, it’s possible to fall in love more than three times during a lifetime, but there will be three distinct relationships that stand out from the rest. These relationships will have the most impact on your life and ultimately define how you express and receive love.
Here, we detailed the three distinct loves and how they mold us into becoming better versions of ourselves. Keep reading below to see which one you’ve met and which one you’re on a path to meet.
First Love: The Innocent Love
The first love happens at a young age. It’s the most innocent and idealistic idea of love that you believe will end the same way seen in fairytales. It started as a friendship and grew into a relationship built off of “everlasting” infatuation. The belief that this will be the only love experienced in your life is what keeps you holding on.
Because you’ve convinced yourself that you’ve already met your life partner, you force the relationship to work. You let the opinions of others dictate your decisions and start molding yourselves to become the person they want you to be. As innocent and pure as this relationship may start, in the end, you lose yourself.
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Second Love: The Toxic Love
The second love is passionate but toxic. This relationship most likely began by meeting through mutual friends or during a fun night out. After healing from the first love, the opportunity to experience it again sounds promising. So, you ignore all of the major red flags and fight for love.
This relationship feels like marriage, you practically live together, and it’s the closest thing to an emotional rollercoaster you’ve ever been on. It’s unbalanced and unhealthy with high levels of drama. You tolerate too much because you refuse to give up on love and want to make it work. Eventually, you realize you’re not fighting; you’re settling but at the expense of your own happiness.
It’s the hardest form of love but brings the greatest and most valuable lesson – self-love. You learn how to love yourself and feel confident setting boundaries and raising standards. This love encourages you to develop and mature into the person you need to be for your third love. You choose yourself in this love.
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Third Love: The True Love
The third love is the one that lasts a lifetime. This one comes in when you least expect it and shows you exactly what love feels like. It’s the kind of connection that feels right.
After your first and second loves have shown you the beauty in cathartic development, you’ve learned what you value in relationships, which is why this love is different. This love respects your boundaries, supports your dreams, and is persistent in the pursuit of your affection.
There is no hiding or pretending to be someone else within this relationship. Your partner sees the beauty in you and your imperfections. The two of you are drawn to each other instinctively, like bees to honey. You’re attracted to their demeanor, their intelligence, and their experiences in life. And, you realize how much you care about them more than you’ve cared about your previous loves.
This is the love that teaches you how to love again. It will open up your heart, surpassing any walls you’ve put up. It is the love you’ll spend the rest of your life with.
While all three loves play a major role in developing in life, the first two love are just as important to the third and final love. Those experiences prepare you for real true love. So, whatever stage of love you’re at, be thankful for the lesson, and be hopeful for the future.