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As a person develops their relationship with a loved one over time, the relative strengths of the elements tends to change. Generally love will start off strong in passion but weak in the other elements. However as time passes, the other elements may grow and passion may shrink -- this depends upon the individual. So what starts as Infatuation or Empty love may well develop into one of the fuller types of love. Likewise when a person has known a loved one for a long time, passion may fade, changing love from Consummate to Companionate, or from Romantic love to Liking. Note that the feeling which Sternberg terms passion is similar to, if not the same as, that termed limerence by Dorothy Tennov. Sternberg states that a relationship based on a single element is less likely to survive than one based on two or more.

In an attempt to explain the commonalities and differences of the many types of love, Robert Sternberg has suggested a view of love involving three elements: intimacy, passion and commitment. Different stages and types of love can be explained as different combinations of the three elements. The combinations are as follows.

Love is a special affection for someone or something, a feeling or emotion. Various different types of love exist, which are generally agreed to have a commonality, but opinions vary on how they differ:

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