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The Zen of


The Four Kinds of Love

By Melanie Anne

In the theory of psychology I co-created with Chris, we divide everything in fours. And when you boil it down, those four items will always be an incarnation of Knowledge, Thought, Ability, and Desire. In fact, K, T, A, and D, are the four basic categories of our self-awareness, our drive.

So I said to myself, "What would a K type of love be? How about A?" Here are the conclusions I came to. When you love someone because you see them as K, it means you see them as dependable. You can count on them because K is where the inertia is. A T type love is where you enjoy conversation with them - you share thoughts and thought patterns. It's not just important WHAT you think, but HOW you think about it. If you just enjoy talking with someone, if that's why you love them, it's a T type love. "A" Type love is when you love someone because of what they do for you. They bring home a paycheck or mow the grass or fix the plumbing or get your computer working (or cook dinner, or decorate, etc.) D type love is romantic love where you are attracted to the person's nature not because of dependability, or the way they think, or what they can do for you, but because of that elusive quality that makes them appealing, even if you've never met, even if they haven't said a word.

When we love our parents, it's usually K and A that get us. That is the "blood relationship" love. Close brothers and sisters will also share T as well. Even just one of those four types of love is enough to build a life long relationship, as long as the other three areas are no worse than neutral. But if the others are negative, then it becomes a real "apples and oranges" decision to try and choose between taking the good with the bad, or giving up the good to get rid of the bad.

With Mary, the mother of my children, it was always a K type of love I had for her. She was and still is ALWAYS there for me: dependable as the sunrise. That is a very hard thing to give up, considering that the other three areas are neutral. She has no abilities that help me, no thoughts that we share (she hates the kind of things I'm talking about in this essay), and we have never had much of a romantic love between us. So, although I feel the lack of not having any fulfillment in three of the four areas, I don't feel any pain there either. That's why it has been impossible for me to justify leaving her. Why should I give up dependability that has no negatives attached?

Well, when our house started getting really unkempt, that's when a big negative started to grow in "A" with Mary. Her lack of action in this area hurt my Abilities. I had to take time away from other things to clean up after her, and also I couldn't invite guests over because of the mess. As that problem grew, it balanced out the K based love until the whole relationship came out to neutral. And discarding a neutral is a no-brainer.

Knowing this, I can actually chart my feelings. Whenever the house gets dirty, my desire to leave grows. If she unexpected cleans up, my desire to leave diminishes. It's almost weird to see it so clearly!

Of course, that K dependability is not what she sees in me. She sees me as A because of the money I can provide her with, and because I help with the kids (cooking, etc.) Whenever I do these things, she is happy, when the money gets tight or I have to go on a business trip, then SHE starts hating the relationship because she is not getting what she wants in A and I am negative to her in K and T.

REALLY clear! So what about my ex-boyfriend Andy? Well, Andy attracted me in T right of the bat. I really like the topics he wanted to discuss and what he wanted to say about them. At first, D was very low or even negative, because as I have written in my diary, Andy had been on hormones for a few years before determining that wasn't for him. As the effects of the hormones began to fade, I started to have a growing D feeling for him. About the time he broke up with me, I was getting turned on just by running my hand along his blue jeans or seeing his jacket or boots.

So, for the first time in my life, I was experiencing a relationship with someone where I felt love in two out of the four areas at the same time! WOW! I never knew there could be such feelings! I didn't know what was going on at the time, but I knew how I felt, and I kept thinking, "So THIS is what love is!!!" I was sure that was the best I could feel ever!

But now, I can see that there are two other areas that weren't fulfilled by Andy. He was completely undependable (which was a negative K) and a complete financial leech (which was a negative A). When you mix negatives with positives, it doesn't just blend together and average out. Instead, you become of two minds. You find yourself hating and loving someone at the same time. And that is what it was like with him. When K and A were not issues, I was in seventh heaven. But when D and T were not involved, I hated him with a passion. When all four cylinders were working, I had a real love-hate relationship with him, and that's exactly where the term "love-hate" comes from!

Finally, I was not getting enough of him in my life to fan the fires of D, and we stopped talking about T issues. So I ended up just with the negative K and A and let the relationship drop. Of course, he dropped me the first time. Why? Because, like Mary, he saw me primarily as A, with some T thrown in. So, he and I had a good thing as long as I provided for him. But I stopped doing that because he wasn't dependable. I wanted him to be a solid K for me, just like Mary, and THAT I would pay for, just like Mary. But he wouldn't center on me and kept playing the field, so I held back on the funds and he dumped me. Clear as crystal.

I'm so glad I understand it better now! I could feel the dynamics, but had no way of getting a grip on them. With this new view I can size up these new guys I'm dating by the end of the first date. I know where the negatives are and where the positives are and what the total cost of a relationship is going to be. It helps me say no to guys who attract me but come with costs. I don't need any more costs in my life.

Now, if I felt that attracted to Andy with just TWO of the four types of love, I can't imagine what THREE would feel like. I've never had that with anyone. And if THREE are that hard to feel, what would all FOUR be like??? And what would it be like if I felt all four toward someone and they felt all four toward me too??? It staggers the heart! It's beyond my capacity. I'm blind until I see it.

Think of all the combinations of love that can exist: Two people who each provide A for each other, but are neutral elsewhere. Two people who provide A for each other, one is neutral, the other has a negative. Two who provide A for each other, both are negative on one and it is the same one, or a different one or... It's incredible the different kinds of love that exist!

Well, I've gone on long enough. The point here is that I realize just how much more there is to feel in life. I've never been one to stop short of the brass ring. I won't settle for just one person until I feel all four kinds of love for them, and then feel that way for me. Maybe it will never happen. That's fine. Along the way I'll have lot's of other combinations to experience. In the end, I may not get every thing I want from one person, but I'll get everything I want piece at a time from person after person. Maybe that is close enough that at the end of one's life it all blends together and is as fulfilling as if it all happened with that one special soul-mate that never crossed your path.


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