Passion morphs and changes as a relationship develops. Learn what happens to passion in a committed relationship and how it changes from fiery flames to a deeper burning. Read through a dating coach's response to this reader for more explanation.
What Happened to the Passion in my Relationship?
Hi Lori, I've been dating this guy for almost three years. We recently broke up because we've been having a lot of problems. Then, we decided to get back together and work on things. Which we did for the first two months, but it's now three months later and we just got engaged. Now I feel like I'm falling out of love and I don't know what to do. I feel like there is no more passion between us. I've told him many times, but I feel like he doesn't understand me. What should I do? How can I fall back in love and find our passion?-- Contributed by: Nikki
All committed relationships start out the same, with intense feelings known as attraction. As the relationship continues, these intense feelings subside. They are replaced with something less passionate and not quite as strong, known as commitment. Commitment feelings are deeper feelings. This deeper connection is for going the distance. For the individual who does not understand that feelings change over time, this less intense but strong bonding feeling can take you by surprise. It can feel as though something is missing in the relationship.
All relationships ebb and flow, which is why if commitment is strong, passion stirs up over and over again. Usually, but not always, the ebb and flow of a relationship is about two years.
Of course, this timeline may not be the case for long distance relationships. Since there are no major problems only red flags, the individuals may remain together long after the partnership should end.
For other couples, commitment was the result of a special event or strong negative emotions stirring feelings that are mistaken for passion. A good example is a couple who connects over a tragic event like an accident. Another example is a partner who feels jealousy or has a fear of being alone. The intense desperation is misunderstood as a strong attraction or passion. As a result, this couple's commitment is built on a shaky foundation. Since this type of attraction is the result of desperate emotions, it is unlikely that passion can be stirred up during the ebb of the relationship. Instead, these couples hold on in a frantic attempt to deny they made a mistake.
Finally, there is the couple that remains together because they are committed based on doing what is expected. For this couple, comfort with being together determines the timing of marriage and children. Convenience is the foundation of this relationship. As you might imagine, this relationship too is built on a shaky (and boring) foundation.
So how do you know which category you fall? Ask yourself what brought the two of you together and has kept you together. The answer will tell you if your relationship has a solid foundation or a less than stable underpinning. When the two of you worked on your problems for two months, you both were primarily applying logical solutions. Love is illogical. It is about feelings and connecting. If your relationship is on a solid foundation, discuss with your partner ways to add some excitement to the relationship. Stir things up by getting out of your predictable routines. Try experimenting. Let go of the control and get into the heart. Take turns coming up with new and different plans. Write love letters telling each other what each means to the other. The point is to stir passion again, if it was there to begin with.
On the other hand, if the relationship was on a shaky foundation, it would be a good idea to talk with your partner and share your insights before getting married. Together you both can determine what the next steps.