When you think of a long-term romance, what words come to mind? Love? Passion? Companionship? Hot sex? While these four answers are among the most common responses, they actually aren’t the most important aspects of pure romance. So, what is?
Various studies have looked at different types of relationships over their course of time and rated how they affect our overall satisfaction and happiness. Romantic love appears to be the most satisfying over the long term, with passion and companionship coming in a distant second. Where does your relationship fit into this equation, and what can you do to improve upon it?
Romantic vs. passionate love
A romantic relationship is the culmination of love, security, engagement, communication and sexual chemistry. It is all things compassionate, sexually satisfying, playful and perhaps even a bit adventurous. The couple may have been together for awhile, but they still enjoy the simple pleasures of kissing, holding hands and leaving love quotes on the bathroom mirror for one another. There is a strong comfort level, which gives each individual in the partnership the sense that they will always be there for each other.
In contrast, passionate love is everything that romantic love is, with the additional element of obsession. These are the type of relationships that are known to run ‘hot’ and ‘cold’. When hot, the lovers are completely restless, touching, kissing and hugging each other. They are utterly infatuated with one another. They can’t go anywhere without the other, and when they are forced to, they feel jealous, insecure and anxious to get back into each others’ arms.
For the short term, these relationships are reported as quite satisfying. For the long-term, however, they offer an overabundance of anxiety, mistrust, loneliness and hurt feelings — all words used to describe the inevitable cold spells that fall between the hot and heavy.
Companionship vs. romantic love
Most descriptions of long-term relationships eventually begin to sound an awful lot like a compassionate friendship, and many of them are just that. There isn’t anything wrong with this type of relationship; in fact, they are a good bit more relaxing than the passionate alternative. They’re not based on turmoil and obsession, though they are missing the sexual chemistry we all crave. Because of this, these relationships are only reported as being moderately satisfying over the long term.
Companionship relationships are grounded in friendship and security, although some might say too much so. These are the partnerships that have become so comfortable, they have forgotten how to woo each other romantically. While friendship is an important part of every relationship, we must not forget that we are also sexual beings, and are drawn to the biological urges of passion and playful exchange.
Occasionally, companion relationships fall prey to external love affairs, in which one or both partners attempts to fulfill the sexual void missing from their lives. Most of these affairs are short lived, more of a passionate fling, but they can still be hurtful.
Find the romance in your existing relationship
Understanding the nature of your relationship can help bring more satisfaction to it. If you’re stuck in the cycle of a passionate relationship, you need to seriously ask yourself how you can bring a sense of security to the partnership. Are you (or they) willing to settle down, or does the relationship thrive on instability. Some passionate relationships can be switched to romantic, but only if the couple can communicate their needs and find a suitable compromise. Others are hopelessly stuck on this emotional roller coaster, with no way to get off unless they slam on the brakes and go their separate ways.
The companionship relationship can be a much easier position to remedy. This couple has already established a secure friendship and only needs to rekindle the lost passion and romance. Of course, romance doesn’t always come naturally, so this often takes a great deal of effort, patience and devotion on the part of both partners. The end result of this work, however, will be a mature relationship that will leave you vastly more satisfied than any hot and trashy romance novel ever could!
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