There are many types of Love and many people have written and done research about it. John Lee has come up with six types of Love: Eros, Mania, Ludus, Storge, Agape and Pragma. There are some relationships that show more than one type of love at the same time, while there are other relationships that start with one type of love and develop into another.
The type of love I have chosen to develop further is ‘storge’. It is a companionate love, where trust, friendship and respect are the main characteristics. It develops from friendship, based on similarities and through affection and respect it becomes companionate.
I have chosen two movies that clearly show how this type of love is seen in relationships. One move is “When Harry met Sally”. The other movie I have chosen is “Mrs. Doubtfire”. The reason why I chose these movies is because the first shows how relationships start based on storge type of love. The second movie shows how the same characteristics that helped create Harry and Sally’s relationship, if they are lacking, they destroy or break up a relationship. Mrs. Doubtfire is the perfect example of this. Both movies show the positives and negatives in relationships regarding this type of love.
When Sally met Harry is a movie of a couple who first became best friends. They shared intimacies, they share their other relationship failures, they laughed together, they were transparent with each other without worrying about what the other would think. This was possible because they became best friends. Their love started gently, through friendship, until they realized they wanted to be each other’s lover and spend the rest of their life together.
While Storge is a kind of love that is based on trust, friendship and respect, when there is real friendship, even after breakup, friendship still remains. But in Mrs. Doubtfire that does not happen.
STORGE TYPE OF LOVE
Storgic love, as we already have mentioned, begins and develops through friendship. Storgic lovers usually do not know when exactly love developed as it grows gradually through friendship. For this reason, it may happen that even if they break up, friendship still endures. Although storgic love develops through friendship, one of the first signs that love is developing is that they do not want the other person to start dating someone else. They want a homogamy relationship. They are best friends; they trust each other to the point that they know themselves transparently. They do not keep secrets from each other and they also know the worse of the other. They know the little details that other people do not know.
While other type of love develop through sexual desire, physical attractiveness, obsession, etc., this love starts through friendship. They know each other in their best and their worse. They know their bad habits and their best traits. For that reason it endures longer. When they start to date, to be lovers, it is a much stronger relationship because there are fewer expectations and fewer chances of disappointments. Other type of loves only know a part of the other, such as the physical appearance, there is less knowledge about the others and higher expectations, thus, the chances of disappointment is much higher as ideals are not always fulfilled.
Because they are best friends, there is a stronger sense of commitment. They take care more of each other, they are honorable, and they value each other’s friendship. The emotional commitment is much stronger than in other types of love. The commitment to each other is so strong that chances of infidelity are less. They trust each other so much, that they see infidelity as a way of breaking the trust they have as friends.
While other relationships place a stronger emphasis in sex and appearance, because of the nature of friendship, this type of love places less importance in sex, and they seek for ways of legitimating the form of their bond such as marriage and having children. They understand that this requires respect and understanding and being there for the other person.
The contra of this type of love is that if there is a lack of respect or if one its members hurts the other, even though there is forgiveness, still it is more painful because they trusted each other more, their bond was stronger, they rely in each other, and thus they expect the other to protect and respect that bond and friendship. If one of them or both break that type of bond the pain is much stronger. They can disagree, fight, etc., like most couples do, however they do not betray each other by breaking the trust and respect or else the consequences could be terrible.
It is possible that sometimes couples with this type of love lack passion. However it is not so much about lack of passion as of the importance that these couples give to intimacy, trust and sharing similar interests. These have more importance in their relationships than sex.
The positive aspect of this type of love is that couples have a much greater intimacy. This intimacy is reflected in a stronger sense of security, confidence and even it is reflected in greater pleasure during sex. These couples are able to rely in each other. They have nothing to hide and thus they do not have to worry about being rejected or judged.
As we already mentioned, the other benefit is that it has greater chances to persist over time, even after break ups, due to the basis of their relationship being their friendship. Indeed, if problems and obstacles arise, they will tackle them as one, because they are intimate friends and the chances to overcome problems are greater.
HOW STORGE LOVE OPERATES
Harry and Sally’s friendship is evident from the moment they started to share their failure with their ex partners. They were walking down the streets of New York, they shared intimate moments and feelings about their past relationships. This is the first sign of friendship. Soon after, they are both in bed, each in their own home, and they watch Casablanca, they comment it, both at the same time. They have the same interests, they live similar experiences. Even if they do not agree about everything, they still have similarities, for example they both enjoy watching movies, reading, going out for dinner.
Sally is quite obsessive or high maintenance about her food. She takes long to choose, and she is very picky. Harry starts to know her as their friendship develops. He knows the more challenging parts of her. Harry is depressive and moans all the time and Sally accepts him as he is. They learn how to respect, trust and love each other. They cherish their friendship. At the beginning, they both clearly state that there are no sexual interests between them. Trust and intimacy grow as they share important parts of their life stories. As they do so, they place themselves in a vulnerable position in regards of the other person. They show as they are, including their most challenging traits.
Another characteristic of storge love is that couples are able to tell the truth to each other without becoming upset. There is a part during the movie when Sally and Harry are at their friends’ house; Harry is upset because he saw his ex-wife in a shop with a new partner. He is upset, and becomes even more so as Sally never complains her pain about his ex. After they tell each other quite passionately what bothers of each other they hug and they apologize. This is a clear example of the caring love they have, of how they value each other, they do not want to hurt each other and they still say the truth to each other.
Harry and Sally behave like old couples. They know what to order for each other, how they want their food, they spend Holidays together, they help decorate each other’s place. They can talk about a million things. It is not clear when romance starts, but it is very clear when they start to feel jealous about the other dating someone else.
One night they are at their friends’ house, each with his and her own partner, playing games. They both start to feel jealous; it is another example of how storge love operates. They start being friends, and somehow, during their friendship, they start to want for the other person not to date anyone else. They want an exclusive relationship.
Soon after that, Sally is very upset that her ex is getting married and she asks Harry to go over to console her. While he is consoling her, one thing led to another and they slept together. That is the turning point. Sally is obviously happy but not Harry. Sally realized she loves him in a romantic way, but He still did not realize. They agreed it was a mistake, but Sally feels hurt. It took longer for Harry to realize that he also loves Sally in a romantic way. That he wants to spend the rest of his life with her.
Even though it is not clear when romance commenced, it is clear when they start to want to have an exclusive relationship even if it was not conscious. And once they slept with each other there is no turning back. It is only when Harry misses Sally that he realized about his love for her.
Sex came naturally, even if it was confusing at the beginning because this was not an important element in their relationship. They love each other. Their love is a storge type of love. There is respect; there is friendship, companionship and trust. They accompanied each other when they suffered after their break ups. They trusted each other with intimacies and with their most challenging parts of their personalities. They know each other exactly how they are. There are is no faking. They love each other, they are best friends.
All the clear examples seen in the movie of When Harry met Sally are seen as well in Mrs. Doubtfire but in the exact opposite.
The movie starts with the husband going against the mother’s instructions of no birthday celebration to his son because he is punished. The father knows that, and still he goes against his wife’s instructions. He is already undermining her authority. He is disrespecting her as a mother and wife; and he does it in front of the children. On top of that, during the birthday party he made a mess in the house. He knows how important the hose is for his wife who is an interior decorator. She arrived and found the house in a mess. It is a turning point in their relationship. She realizes she does not love him. She is tired of him disrespecting her. She does not trust him anymore.
He behaves like a child and forces her to behave like a grumpy mother. They do not share the running of the house and family as friends, as a couple. They do not have similar interests. They do not trust each other, they disrespect each other, they do not share intimacies any more.
The relationship worsens when she realizes that he is Mrs. Doubtfire. He lied once more and she is very disappointed. She cannot trust him anymore; another code broken.
On the other hand, the wife also disrespects he husband in front of the children. They both lack respect for each other. They stopped spending time together. He complains several times in the movie that she spends more time working than with him and the children.
One day Mrs. Doubtfire and the wife are having a cup of tea and she confesses that she stopped loving him, that she felt that she could not be herself when with him and she was happier and a better person without him.
As a conclusion I would say that respect, trust and friendship are great foundations for relationships to grow. With storge type of love, there are greater chances for romance to grow. But where there was romance and no trust, no respect and thus no friendship, even if in its beginnings there was sexual attraction, chances are that the relationship will not survive. Because trust and respect are two basic ingredients for any type of relationship to be able to grow healthy.
Sally was not attracted to Harry in its beginning. The reason why she wants to be with him is because they share a great intimacy, they share similarities. They became to love each other as friends and she looks at him with new eyes. Harry was attracted to her from the beginning, even though this attraction did not blur their relationship. Indeed, several times he says that he does not want to sleep with her. The movie is a great example of a friendship that develops and there is no clear point of when romance starts, but there is one because of their friendship.
When Harry Met Sally. Dir. Rob Reiner. Perf. Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal. Castle Rock Entertainment, 1989. DVD.