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Romance is the urge to live and the willingness to die for another. Marriage is the urge to possess another.

— Karmayogi

Ten Levels of Romance

Where does your partnership fall on an ascending scale of intimate relationships? Attachment, attraction, affection, admiration, love, and romance are some of the ways we describe different types and intensities of intimate relations. Knowing where you are now makes it easier to elevate the relationship to higher levels. Assess the current level of your relationship and learn how you can take it to a higher level.


  • Start by reading the article Stairway of Romance, if you have not already done so. Then return here.
  • Read through each of the ten levels in order to understand the entire scale. Select READ MORE to read a more detailed description and examples of any of the levels.
  • Identify the level that best describes your relationship. You may find that it includes some of the attributes of many levels. In that case, the best strategy is to start working to elevate those elements that belong to the lowest of those levels and first raise that aspect to the level of the rest.
  • Once you have identified the level you want to work on, select STRATEGIES to learn practical ways to move from where you are to the next higher level.
  • Once you have made some progress, come back and select additional strategies to take you even higher.

1. Attachment - Physical attachment to a partner can provide a sense of belonging, comfort and security. People whose relationship is primarily centered at this level may find it difficult to be physically separated from one another. Physical attachment can foster dependence and reduce individual freedom. Once it becomes accustomed and habitual, it may lack the freshness and intensity of higher levels. Read more


2. Physical Attraction - Attraction between people at this level commonly expresses as sexual passion. Physical attraction can be very intense, especially during the early stages of relationship, so intense that it is often mistaken for real love that will last forever, but sexuality by itself is not a sufficient basis for long term positive relationships. People at this level may try to control one another or experience intense feelings of possessiveness, distrust, suspicion and jealousy. Read more

3. Compatibility - Relationships at this level become more smooth, stable, consistent and permanent because they are organized on a regular basis around recurring activities such as managing a household or raising a family. They may lack physical passion, turbulence and instability of the previous level. When the relationship is positive, it can generate a feeling of compatibility and harmony. When the partners take each other for granted, relationships at this level may become boring, flat and unfulfilling. Read more

4. Vital Attraction - At this level we are attracted to people we feel happy spending time with, who take personal interest in us and makes us feel good about ourselves, who exude an intense vital energy, who have charm and pleasing manners, are popular with friends or acceptable to family. Attraction at this level is more social or psychological than physical, though the physical element may still be prominent. Relations are positive at this level when the partners enjoy one another's companionship. They become negative when either or both partners try to dominate or when they compete with each other. Read more

5. Affection - Affection is emotional enjoyment of the other person which emanates from the heart. It is warm, expansive, cheerful and joyful. When affection is very physical, it can be possessive. When it is vital, it can be dominating or demanding. But true emotional affection is incapable of anger or meanness. It wants only to give and please. Read more

6. Admiration - The heart's affection is intense, but it is difficult to sustain that intensity unless there is also an element of admiration for the other person. Admiration arises from awareness and respect for the other person's higher character and better qualities. Admiration elevates affection into a feeling that is more noble and permanent. Love based on admiration can overcome the greatest challenges and is not diminished by passage of time or physical separation. Read more

7. Mental love - Mental love is a vibration of deep caring and self-giving free of the passionate demands, clinging and longing common at previous levels. It is difficult to sustain vital forms of love without strong positive encouragement from the other person, whereas mental love is based on unwavering loyalty which does not demand reciprocity. Mental love may lack intense sensations, but it brings a lightness, sweetness and refinement of feeling that is uplifting and more deeply fulfilling. Read more

8. Devotion - Devotion is undemanding and does not even require to be recognized. It is idealized emotional love that cherishes another person for their intrinsic value and delights in their very existence. It feels an indescribable and intense sweetness in self-giving without asking or expecting anything in return. Read more

9. Adoration - Idealistic romance is a movement that releases intense, selfless, positive ecstatic energy of adoration. It is incapable of expectation, bargaining, domination, complaining, doubt or suspicion of any kind. This is not the adoration of puppy love, but the adoration of that which is most noble, uplifting and godlike in another person. It can only be felt by and for one who has the highest values of truthfulness, generosity and self-giving. Read more

10. Spiritual Romance - True romance is a spiritual state of inexpressible wonder, novelty and adventure in which love becomes unconditional, everlasting and universal and life is experienced as a marvelous divine mystery. It is a state free from self-consciousness, expansive, lost in the moment, oblivious. Ecstasy is the hallmark of spiritual romance. It is at once the highest and the most intense of all romantic experiences. It fills the mind and heart with ecstatic delight and saturates the nerves and body with honey-like sweetness. Read more


Learn more about each of the ten levels with detailed explanations, examples and movie videos


  1. Attachment
  2. Physical Attraction
  3. Compatibility
  4. Vital Attraction
  5. Affection
  6. Admiration
  7. Mental Love
  8. Devotion
  9. Adoration
  10. Spiritual Romance


See the practical and unfailing strategies for ascending the scale of romance in your relationship

The scale of romance is not a fixed and rigid set of cubbyholes in which relationships can be classified. It is rather an ascending stairway of graded levels defining the possibilities for any relationship to rise. Often we find partners fall to a lower level after the initial phase of infatuation is passed. Sometimes we see movement in the other direction, when couples who initially clashed or came together without strong binding feelings later grew to know and love one another deeply, elevating their partnership from lower to higher levels of romantic relationship. In a few rare instances we find partners traversing the entire scale from the lowest to nearly the highest levels. Learn how Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet traversed the entire scale in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

If you would like to raise general questions on romance, love, marriage and relationship or about any of the content in this article, please post your entry in the appropriate forums

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