lees love styles and types of lovers

Lee conceptualized love styles onto a color wheel of love, using the primary styles, or colors for that matter, of Eros- red, Storge- blue, and Ludus- yellow. Just as the primary colors can be blended to create a multitude of different hues, Lee (1973) theorized that the elements of the three primary styles of love could combine to create a vast number of love styles (Guerrero at al. ). Of all the possibilities within the love rainbow that these three primary styles could combine to create, Lee suggested the three most common secondary styles include: Mania- orange, Agape- purple, and Pragma- green.

Lee’s love styles are not only set up to form onto a color wheel, but also represent the symbolism of each color they are paired with. Just like red, blue and yellow can create the broad spectrum of the rainbow; Eros, Storge, and Ludus can create the broad spectrum of loving. So where do you fit on this great spectrum of love? Are you the same color as your partner? Do you need to be in order to find happiness? Professionals in communication and social/personal relationships have provided extensive research to help you find the answers you are looking for about love.

Before we can understand and break down the secondary styles of loving, we must first be aware of the primary styles of love. First we will start off with Eros or, as symbolized, the color red. The color red is symbolized by: love and passion, strong emotions and desire, energy and excitement, and all things intense (Bear). Red is Cupid, red is hot, red is the color of Eros. Eros is described as physical love; the intense, passionate, love at first sight, can’t keep your hands off of each other type of loving.

It is the initial “hot” attraction that is the basis for erotic lovers, characterized by intense emotional highs and lows, substantial arousal, and desire for physical contact (Guerrero at al. ). Lee (1973) theorized that erotic lovers are “intense communicators”, who show high levels of self-disclosure and are able to elicit similarly high levels of self-disclosure from their partners (Guerrero at al. ), which is a vital trait to embrace while starting off a romantic relationship.

This style is mostly evident in the early stages of relationships, which can be stereotyped as the “honeymoon stage”. Positively, Lee (1973) came to conclusion that this type of love often leads to a more friendship-based and secure style of love (Guerrero at al. ). Keep in mind, a certain level of Eros is an important aspect to maintain throughout any romantic relationship; it is what keeps the fire and the spark alive! If you are in an Erotic love relationship, full of excitement and passion, enjoy it while it is there, because unfortunately the downsides may soon reveal themselves.

As good as Eros may seem on paper, too much Eros can have negative effects. Dating an erotic lover could turnout to become a great challenge if you do not match your partner’s erotic love style. For instance, your partner may only be interested in you due to your ravishing good looks, which may result in the attraction deteriorating rather quickly. Also, it is difficult for erotic lovers to adjust after the initial “hot” attraction begins to cool off (Guerrero at al. ), which may result in your partner moving on to find his/her next infatuation.

Erotic love is not always classified as a negative style of love, in fact, some ‘lottery-winning’ couples are able to remain in this blissful “honeymoon stage” of erotic love throughout their entire life-long relationship, but they do not achieve this by relying on simply Eros alone. Which brings us to our next color, blue. The color Blue represents stability, security, loyalty, unity, and trust, all of which are principals of Storgic love. Similar to Storgic lovers, blue is seen as trustworthy, dependable, committed and perceived as a constant in our lives (Bear).

Unlike Erotic lovers, Storge, or companionate love, is based upon friendship, shared values and goals, and compatibility(Guerrero at al. ). According to Davis & Latty-Mann (1987) college students that were coded for love themes, based on Lee’s six love styles, most frequently related to the theme of Storge (friendship-love). Companionate love seems to be a type of enduring, life-long love; the kind of love where you see yourself best friends, eighty years old, gray hair, in your matching rocking chairs sitting out on the porch.

Storgic lovers feel extremely comfortable around each other, emotions tend to be positive but muted, with very few emotional highs or lows (Guerrero at al. ). Storgic lovers place physical attraction on the back burner when it comes to developing a romantic relationship and are more interested in security and compatibility. Just as the color blue is perceived as conservative, Storgic relationships are not very exciting, especially when compared to an Erotic relationship, but they are dependable and stable (Guerrero at al. ).

This type of relationship is one of few that could positively withstand a long distance relationship. Storgic lovers have this ability because they have mutual trust and do not require high levels of emotional stimulation and arousal(Guerrero at al. ). If your partner attends a different college, or is in the military, or even has a very busy work life that keeps you apart for periods of time, this is the love style that could bring success to your relationship. However, it is extremely important that you and your partner want the same things (Guerrero at al. ).

The biggest challenge for a Storgic relationship is learning how to keep the spark between you and your partner alive by bringing emotion, excitement, and a bit of Erotic love into your romantic lives, because too much stability can lead to unwanted predictability and boredom. According to Hendrick & Hendrick (1993) results from three studies conform the importance of friendship as well as passion in young adult romantic relationships. Storgic love alone is a style with many positive attributes that coincide with negative aspects, as do most things in life and love.

But combined with complimentary love styles you might be able to find your perfect fit. With that, we move on to the color yellow. Ludus, the game-playing love, is the last primary color, yellow. Ludic lovers love the game of love and view relationships as games to be played. They view relationships as fun, playful, and casual (Guerrero at al. ). Similar to the color yellow, Ludus has two different parts to its style of love depending on which side you are looking at it from. For example, yellow can symbolize joy and optimism but on the other hand it can denote cowardice and covetousness (Bear).

Similarly, Ludic love is pleasurable and exciting for the Ludic lover, but for the Ludic lover’s partner, Ludic love is seen as greedy with a fear of commitment. Have you ever taken the advice of “play hard to get”? If so, you are a Ludic lover’s fantasy. For the Ludic lover the challenge of pursuit usually is more rewarding and exciting than the relationship itself (Guerrero at al. ). So if you’re looking for a serious relationship, it is suggested you look as far away from the game-playing lover as possible.

Although, some Ludic lovers are not just looking to play games with your heart, but are highly self-sufficient individuals who put their personal goals and activities ahead of their relationships (Guerrero at al. ). College students for example, may not have time for a highly committed romantic relationship due to the pressures of schoolwork and exams. Ludic lovers also share relatively little personal information with their partners and are slow to develop intimate relationships (Guerrero at al. ). If you are in a romantic relationship with a Ludic lover, do not hold your breath waiting for that ring to appear on your finger.

Ludic lovers avoid commitment at all costs and prefer to play the field rather than settle down with one person (Guerrero at al. ). On a positive note when these people meet the right person they are very likely to move out of this style and into a more devoted style of loving. Whoever said people can’t change! Now that Lee’s primary love styles have been presented we can now begin mixing colors. Similar to secondary colors on the color wheel, secondary love styles are composed through combining the primary love styles of Eros, Storge, and Ludus together to create various types of love. Just like, red + yellow = orange, Eros + Ludus = Mania.

Mania, or possessive love, is a combination of two of the primary styles, Eros and Ludus; which gives us the mixture to create the color orange. Being a combination of red and yellow, orange shares common attributes with both of these colors. Red brings out the intensity and aggression in orange, while yellow warms the color and denotes energy (Bear). Likewise, intertwined into possessive love are Eros, which contributes high levels of physical attraction and intense passion for their partners, and Ludus, which brings in manipulation and mind-games that manic lovers play with their partners.

Manic lovers have strong needs to be “in control” and reflect qualities that are demanding, dependent, and possessive (Guerrero at al. ). These qualities are driven by extreme jealous personalities and surprisingly, a fear of getting hurt. With the color orange, there is usually a strong positive or negative association which elicits a “love it” or “hate it” response (Bear); this is comparable to the feelings a manic lover experiences during a relationship, which are extreme joy or extreme pain. Being in a relationship with a manic lover is likely to be exhausting and overwhelming.

Manic lovers are obsessive and addicted to love, much like a drug addict is dependent on heroin or cocaine. The obsessed lover cannot get enough and wants to spend every minute with their partner (Guerrero at al. ). Have you ever been fiercely pursued by someone who hardly knew you? Odds are you were dealing with a manic lover! Possessive love is quite the challenge to overcome for a romantic couple due to its many negative drawbacks. From here we will now mix up a more positive color, purple. Purple, composed of hot red and cool blue to create a very intriguing color.

The color purple suggests compassion and sensitivity (Bear), much like the second secondary style of love, Agape or unselfish love. Agape is composed of the mixing of Eros with Storge. The Eros side of Agapic love is portrayed through the deep passionate love for their partner, not only physical but also through gifts and sacrifices, while the Storge side emphasizes the secure and long-term aspect of the relationship. These components create the characteristics of Agapic love to be unselfish and unconditional. An intense concern for their partner’s wellbeing is what motivates Agapic lovers (Guerrero at al. and gives them the will to make sacrifices for their partner at the expense of themselves. The color purple is often symbolized by grace, refinement, and something special, which is all 100% portrayed in an Agapic lover. Finding an Agape lover seems similar to finding Prince Charming, like hitting the jackpot, right? It does appear like an ideal situation, unfortunately there are a few downsides. Being in a relationship with one who would much rather give than receive could be very rewarding and uplifting, but as we know one sided relationships can only last for so long.

Agapic lovers seem to be “above” everyone else and their partners often have trouble matching their high level of unconditional love, which leads to feelings of discomfort and guilt. Also, Agapic lovers sometimes put their partners on too high a pedestal, leading their partners to worry that they cannot live up to such an idealized image (Guerrero at al. ). Although this style of loving almost seemed just perfect we are learning that there are some negative aspects to all styles of love. Which brings us to our final secondary style of love, Pragma.

Lee’s last secondary love style on the color wheel, Pragma or practical love, will be represented as green. Pragma is a cross between Storge and Ludus. Since pragmatic lovers search for a compatible partner, Storge is part of practical loving, and because emotional risk-taking and commitment is avoided unless careful thought and considerable time has been had, Ludus is also part of this style. Bringing together conservative blue with covetousness yellow, we create a shade of green, a representation of the environment, which is exactly what a Pragmatic lover relies on while inventing their ideal mate.

Pragmatic love is highly rational and based on empirical knowledge; it is characterized by a “common sense, problem solving approach to life and love”(Guerrero at al. ). Pragmatic lovers look for a partner that looks good on paper. They search for a person who fits a particular image in terms of vital statistics, as well as preferred characteristics. Lee used a computer dating service as an example to help describe Pragma (Guerrero at al. ). It is like the ability to browse on an online dating service looking for a partner that meets all of your qualifications without any of the risks or commitment.

It is like window-shopping for a romantic partner! Although practical, Pragmatic love can end up being lifeless and dull. The spark needs to be reignited in this relationship to bring the intimacy and passion back to life. Lee created his theory on love and presented it onto a common color wheel, the concept is simple yet it produces extensive results. One cannot say which style of loving is the “best” or the “worst”, one cannot even say based on an individual which love style is best to look for in a partner. So should we practice the same love style as out partner?

Not necessarily but, according to Barelds & Barelds-Dijkstra (2007), the similarity-attraction hypothesis proposes that the more similar the two individuals are, the higher he attraction between them will be; so it may just end up that way. Within this rainbow of love styles, you may now see where your love style (as well as your partners) fits on the spectrum, whether is it a primary or secondary style or somewhere in between.


Barelds, D. P. H. & Barelds-Dijkstra, P. , (2007). Love at First Sight or Friends First?. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 24, 480-493. Bear, J. H. (n. d. ) Symbolism of color and colors that go together. Color Meanings. October 5, 2010. http://desktoppub. about. com/cs/color/a/symbolism. htm Davis, K. E. & Latty-Mann, H. , (1987). Love Styles and Relationship Quality. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 4, 409-447. Guerrero, L. K. , Anderson, P. A. , & Walid, A. A. (2007). Close encounters: communication in relationships (pp. 118-123). Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Hendrick, S. S. & Hendrick, C. , (1993). Lovers as Friends. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 10, 459-464.

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