Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, Fancy Bourbon and Seven Kinds of Love

(#21 of 27, because bourbon is better than wine, and Valentine’s Day only captures a small part of what ‘love’ is)

Every so often, some guys and I hang out, play Texas Hold ‘Em poker and drink lots of bourbon. These are evenings of pure male camaraderie, featuring…

  • sophisticated mental calculations involving card hand probabilities and wager stakes,
  • epic bouts of bluffing and psychological sleight-of-hand,
  • munching of salty crunchy snacks, and
  • discussions on the finer points of high-end bourbon packaging.

Bourbon and Chips

Each time we get together we bond as friends and learn each other’s ideas, opinions, experiences, moods, temperaments, bluffing patterns and of course preferences in distilled grain-based beverages.

There’s a reason people recommend the “guy’s night out” or “girl’s night out” concept: because hanging out with friends is the least complicated type of love.

There are 7 kinds of love

According to Robert Sternberg, there are three main ingredients to love:

  1. Intimacy – attachment, closeness, connectedness and bondedness
  2. Passion – limerence and sexual attraction
  3. Commitment – decisions to remain with another and plan for the future

By combining these factors seven different ways, we get the following types of love:

Combinations of intimacy, passion, commitment
Intimacy Passion Commitment
Liking/friendship x
Infatuated love x
Empty love x
Romantic love x x
Companionate love x x
Fatuous love x x
Consummate love x x x

According to Sternberg’s theory, a loving relationship can grow, shift or shrink within the “space” depicted in the following diagram:

It’s an elegant theory that aptly describes many different kinds of loving relationships, as well as the changes that can occur within those relationships over time. The stock love narrative begins with passionate attraction (bottom left corner of triangle), grows into full-fledged romance (left side of triangle) and then from there, a series of increasing commitments pulls the lovers into the center of the diagram. Looking for the idealized arranged marriage scenario? Begin on the lower right corner and work your way around counter-clockwise, hoping for the best. Falling out of love?  That usually means one or two corners got snipped off by the grind of reality and/or poor choices.  And so on and so forth.

But I don’t think that’s the whole picture.

“When men and women agree, it is only in their conclusions; their reasons are always different.”

– George Santayana

Assuming that the love is between two or more people (as opposed to it being between a person and an idea), then there is the possibility — nay, the probability — that the two or more parties are feeling different blends of Colonel Sternberg’s three special spices, at any given time.

So let’s see… there are at least 7 x 7… yep, that makes 49 kinds of love… and most of it is somewhat unrequited.

Unless it’s just good ‘ol poker night with the boys.

Because to paraphrase Santayana, when we agree, we agree for the same reasons.

Bourbon Bottles


About danspira

My blog is at: http://danspira.com. My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on January 26, 2015, in Communication Skills, photography, Psychology, Relationships, Uncommon Comestibles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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