The greatest romances rarely last. It’s like Brief Encounter – a 1945 classic voted No 1 best romantic film. Laura (not me, the character) and Alec escape their humdrum lives to commence an intense, fervour affair. After falling madly in love, Alec had to move abroad, parting ways forever. Is there such thing as too much passion, and if so, should we spend our lives searching to feel it?
What does passion look like?
Any time I build intimacy with a man abroad, I feel I’m indulging in a fatal habit I wouldn’t purposely commit at home: falling for a man I know isn’t attainable. But oh, doesn’t that knowledge lead to the most thrilling pleasure? You say goodbye at the end, and you’re left to wonder – dream an imagined life you could have spent together. A bittersweet pain that makes you appreciate your memories.
A typical passionate relationship involves vulnerability, affection; a desire to learn everything about one another. Even the most mundane topics: What’s your favourite spread on toast? There are butterflies before meeting, and comfort felt after. You want to spend as much time with them – you’re willing to sacrifice other important tasks to meet.
Naturally, the beginning highs adjust. Your initial wild sex probably adapts: sex toys and new techniques. Passion often fades due to routine and cosiness; a couple soon has to put in work to keep fire burning between them. Overall, a healthy passionate couple still crave one another. Even if that’s to snuggle and watch Netflix. Their intimacy usually grows overtime, as does their trust and commitment.
Perhaps healthy passion develops into something more realistic long-term? Publication Psyche Alive differentiate between “romantic love” and “passionate love”. While both types share interest in sex and engagement, passionate also includes love and (the site notes scientists Elaine Hatfield and Richard Rapson describe) “a state of intense longing”.
Which love do we really want?
Many women say they want romantic love, but go on to describe passionate. Instant chemistry, connection and conversation – a person who draws longing and adoration you didn’t know existed. One such fling had me obsessed. I’d lose all sense of restraint in his presence. I was like a schoolgirl, bright red and quiet, at a boy wanting to play kiss chase. I was sure I’d found the one… who else can make me feel so alive, and so awake to emotions. With the incredible hours of love making, fun evenings and sweet mornings, came the anxious downpour.
Clingy behaviour, ignorance towards our relationship – I blissfully overlooked my need for a partner that doesn’t continually travel for work. I glossed my eyes over a lot of things – I felt myself crumbling to an urgency for someone, an unhealthy need to have a person in my life. Whether that cost me my pride or my self-confidence.
Too much passion – it’s not attainable
We usually seek this great love, this story book romance. When I speak to friends about online dating, most tell me the guys aren’t good enough. Not in terms of height, career, style or looks – they ‘re wanting a man to sweep them off their feet. A guy who doesn’t fit the ‘I love travel and dogs’ mould; they want a wow sensation. And yes, I’ve been searching for this unrealistic notion, too. Which makes me think: I’m probably not after a relationship. I’m looking for impassioned excitement.
I don’t believe you can have both. Eventually, something has to give. Passion becomes a relationship task you have to work at. Many say passion forms to friendship. Some theorise multiple partners and affairs as a way to attain passion when day-to-day living kicks in.
With super passion, nothing else will compare
When a relationship with too much passion ends, an individual will likely be left confused, lost, and somewhat damaged; realising they’ll be unable to recapture the same spark again. Instant, intense chemistry is such a rarity – some people only experience it once or twice in their lifetimes, if at all.
These fiery partnerships are comparable to permanent honeymoons, only – your nakedness will always be for wild make-up sex after extreme jealousy and high emotions. Irregular feelings not felt before and therefore, difficult to control.
In Hollywood, these dramatic romances are entertaining to watch. World’s away from reality where it’s natural for couples to not explode and shout upon seeing their lover smile too long at another person.
With too much passion, the only way is down
Being wildly attracted to someone isn’t normal. I can say this confidently, because this form of attraction leads to addiction – an unhealthy side effect. You can’t spend every day lusting to rip someone’s clothes off the minute you walk through the door. That has to simmer – and if you’re becoming addictive to the excessive passion, how can you settle when it drops?
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton; Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra – both these iconic couples define these partnerships as their greatest loves. Ava and Frank were known for their crazy tempers – there’s many reports detailing rowdy spats in public. They were obsessed with each other – Frank supposedly tried to commit suicide post breakup. Elizabeth and Richard meanwhile – their marrying twice and divorcing twice summarises their temperamental on-and-off desire.
I think, we often attribute relationships with too much passion as our greatest, because these partnerships form a huge escape from reality. The boring couple routines, the complacently sometimes felt once you’re settled – a passionate love swoops in with bountiful adoration. You go about your life perhaps trying to sustain thrill with work deadlines and household chores, wanting to feel sexy but never quite knowing if you’re enough.
And then this person, this ideal… unable to stop yearning for you. It’s an irresistible feeling to have someone so unbelievably infatuated and admiring of your physical form and quirky traits. I’ll never forget the rush I felt at realising a man I thought everything of (as a person and lover), couldn’t help be swayed by something about me.
Passion can and should develop in relationships. Is too much passion in a relationship bad? Yes; society has not built itself on overpowering lust.