The self‐expansion model of love developed out of a confluence of research on attraction and arousal, Eastern psychology, motivation theory, and the social psychology of personal relationships. The model treats love (the desire for a relationship with a particular other) as arising from a desire to expand the self by including that other in the self, as well as by associating expansion with that particular other. First, the model is described, including its function as a source of heuristically important metaphors for common human experiences of love and its unique focus in relation to other approaches to love. The remainder of the article examines its application, including supporting research, to predictors of falling in love, motivations for unrequited love, consequences of falling in love, love as including each other in each other’s self, and how love changes (and how it can be maintained) in long‐term relationships. The conclusion examines current trends in which the model serves as both a very general integration of useful perspectives and as a set of precise mini‐theories.
Aron, E. N., & Aron, A. (1996). Love and expansion of the self: The state of the model. Personal relationships, 3(1), 45-58.