Do you need that spark?

L and I have had many conversations about passion and stability. Are they incompatible? Can you only have one or the other? And if so, which one is better? I think I’ve experienced both. I’ve had super passionate relationships, like Ex-Boyfriend, which were so unstable, like a volatile chemical ready to BLOW UP IN YOUR FACE. And then I’ve had relationships which started out passionate and by the time they stabilized, became extremely passionless and more or less, boring. Can it be that when you feel so passionately about something/someone, the overdose of dopamine and serotonin in your brain incapacitate you and prevent you from thinking logically enough to have a stable relationship? Honestly, I’m not totally sure, but I’m leaning towards yes. To all of the above questions. Someone correct me though.

Now, that is not to say that people who have stable relationships have boring relationships. Take my friend Lauren for example. Not only does she make a mean red velvet cake with the BEST cream cheese frosting, but she is also getting married in August. I would definitely say that her relationship is very stable. I mean, they are so great together and they are also very, VERY happy together. I would use the word content, not in a settling kind of way, but more like at peace, like everything is just right. So, we’ve established, they’re happy. They’re stable. But you know what, they’re not passionately crazy about each other. I mean, they’re busy people. If she has class and he’s working late, they’re not going to pull an all-nighter to spend time together. Which is good, that is where you want to be eventually in a relationship.

BUT, what if you skip the crazy passionate phase of your relationship? I’m sure Lauren and her fiancé experienced that spark but what if you never do? And it just goes right away into stable? I ask because a good friend of mine – let’s call her Successful Sister – is pondering the same question. She’s been running and working out with the same guy at her gym for months now. To quote her, “there is definitely chemistry but no spark”. She says they’re compatible and she can see them together but she’s worried about the spark. Or lack thereof. I mean, she’d essentially be skipping 3-6 months of the relationship (after which, the dopamine and serotonin levels drop back to normal and you realize that the way he eats drives you nuts and his friends are all total assholes and he thinks his band is more important than your relationship and… wait. my bad.) and jumping right into stability. However, here’s another thing to consider. She’s in her 30s. People in their 30s are supposed to be mature. Maybe they’re allowed to skip the crazy spark-passion? And another thing to consider, think of the older generations. I mean, when parents still helped you pick out your husband. I don’t know if they were happier but their divorce rates were definitely lower.

I’m not saying we should go back to 1870 when my dad would find me a suitor. I’m saying that it’s happened and it’s worked out before. Successful Sister doesn’t need to settle and honestly, I don’t think she would be. But I think she does need to take it for what it is and accept it. She shouldn’t drudgingly go into this because she feels like she has no other options. She should date this guy because she likes him enough to do so. Maybe there’s no spark, but like she said, there’s chemistry. And let me tell you, what I remember from 10th grade chemistry is that sometimes, reactions take time. Sometimes, you’re friends first and then there’s a spark. Other times, it’s like love (read: lust) at first sight. Maybe it’ll just take a little while longer for Successful Sister. I mean, after all, they’ve never hung out outside of the gym. I think, you give them both a glass of wine and sparks will fly. After all, alcohol is highly flammable.

– Mag

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3 Comments

Filed under New York City, Relationships

3 responses to “Do you need that spark?

  1. Lauren

    Thanks for the shout-out, sweet pea! I’d have to disagree with you, though; we are actually quite passionate about each other, even if we aren’t all over each other in public or can spend a night away from one another once in a while. The spark has certainly changed since the initial butterflies phase, which is I think what you’re getting at here, but it’s still very much there and never really went away. I doubt it ever will. ❤

    You can't live on stability alone; otherwise I think everyone would just be by themselves. Trust me, being with someone is much less stable than being alone. And stability without any spark is boring… I mean, you can sit comfortably with a house plant and it will never leave you, but who wants that?

    So, yes, I think you can have both. I think the spark is there to pull you in, to get you interested, and then keep you around. I don't believe for a second that a couple has to sacrifice that energy and passion for comfort and stability. But the latter two are just as important as time goes on. Knowing you have a safe haven in someone who loves you unconditionally and is willing to sacrifice in certain ways, just as you are, so you can build a life together is part of what makes forever worth it. But without passion, what is the driving force behind achieving that stability?

    Love,
    LAH

  2. Lauren

    PS I’m working with a girl who just finished her 1L at NYU. Remind me to give you her info.

  3. You give me so much hope in so many ways. I love you love you. And do please tell me about this girl. And how she landed a firm job as a 1L…

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