Can we start building a relationship solely on passion?
As we all know, there are only two kind of relationships, long-term ones with little passion or short-term relationships with nothing but... Is there kind of relationship in the middle ground? Can we have it both?
That’s hard for our culture to understand sometimes, since so many of us want to simplify things. We want everything to be binary: right or wrong, Black or white, Passion or comfort.
It always feels like we have to give up one for the other.
There are different ways to enjoy the middle ground, but one thing is for sure—it doesn’t come naturally.
Long-term relationships lately aren’t biologically natural, but that doesn’t mean they’re not possible. Long-term relationships can actually be one of the most fulfilling things in our lives.
When we start dating someone, everything is passionate and it feels amazing. Love grabs us and we feel powerful. It feels like we’re on the best kind of drug. We then become more attached and start feeling like we have something to lose. We try to make it more secure because we’re uncomfortable with the uncertainty. We make commitments, call each other boyfriend and girlfriend, and eventually get married. All of these things secure the relationship in our eyes.
The irony is that trying to control the risks associated with passion squanders its existence. Trying to control everything in order to create certainty fosters boredom. Spontaneity dies, and passion goes along with it.
Passion thrives on uncertainty, the unpredictable. That’s what passion is.
Think of the most passionate points in your life. They were likely times when things were far from certain—there was unpredictability.
That’s why breakup sex or makeup sex is so hot. It’s more passionate than it was during the relationship because the unpredictability is back, albeit briefly. That’s one of the reasons emotionally unhealthy couples make up and break up so much, it gives them back that passion they’ve been missing—that unpredictability that they crave.
To foster passion in a healthy way what if we look at ourselves individually first. What if we know what mindsets do we need to shift?
What if we embrace the Uncertainty?
As much as we like to think of ourselves as spontaneous, most of us value routine and comfort more than we care to admit.
Tony Robbins said it best:
“Passion in a relationship is commensurate with the amount of uncertainty you can tolerate.”
One thing is sure; zero uncertainty is bad for any relationship. Zero uncertainty = zero passion. The amount of uncertainty that we can handle will depend on us and our partner.
If your tolerance is high, there will be a lot of passion, but sometimes it will feel more uncomfortable because of the uncertainty. If your tolerance is lower, the amount of passion will be less, but you’ll feel more secure and comfortable. It’s give and take.
What about being self-aware?
We need to figure out how high or low our tolerance for uncertainty is, as well as our partner’s. This is why self-awareness and emotional intelligence are crucial qualities to possess prior to entering into a relationship. If we don’t understand or can’t communicate on an emotional level with our partner, it will be very hard to stay in that ideal zone where there’s passion while we also feel secure in the relationship.
Realize that our partner is never “ours” is another trick to live in the middle ground.
If we can realize that this permanence we think we have is just an illusion, then we can be more accepting of the uncertainty that we need for passion to thrive in our relationship.
Many times in a relationship we get comfortable because we think we “have” our partner. We put in all this effort while dating them, but once the chase is over, we become complacent. We hold the illusion that we don’t need to do anything anymore because our partner is “ours” now. If this is the way we think—is it really a shock that passion disappears?
It’s important to know that all these thoughts are just in our head. We never really “have” our partner. They could leave any day. There is no guarantee. And this is a good thing.
Realizing and living this way will ensure we don’t take what we have for granted. We have to choose our partner every day, just like they need to continue to choose us.
When I spoke to a few married couples that had been together 30+ years, they each said that they were still regularly surprised by their partner. They never completely know each other.
Learning, loving, and appreciating our partner should happen every day.
Sustaining this kind of a relationship takes emotional intelligence from both sides which we need to improve it everyday.