Are You Seduced by the Clarity of Passion?

Are You Seduced by the Clarity of Passion?
Janie is a 45-year-old private coaching client who registered for my Passion Course, in which I provide 8 weeks of intensive personalized coaching, beginning online and moving offline.

After 3 weeks, she already found a guy she was excited about. Sure enough, he was quite a catch. Tall. Young for his age. Successful. Good writer. What she liked most was how he acted differently than all the rest of the online dating guys.

If you’ve ever had this experience of investing too much emotion in an emotionally unavailable man, keep reading.

If you’ve ever had this experience of investing too much emotion in an emotionally unavailable man, keep reading.

He called when he said he’d call.

He followed up after the first date.

He talked about a future from the get-go.

And when they kissed…? Forget about it. It was magical.

For 5 weeks, it seemed that the stars were aligned for Janie. And then, in the most predictable unpredictable fashion, he pulled away, without a word.

I’d like you to think about YOUR past relationships.

You had an amazing first month that quickly fizzled.

You had a passionate three-month relationship before he slowly pulled away.

You’ve been with him for 5 years and he still hasn’t proposed.

In each situation, you’re driven by your hopes and desires at what could be… instead of focusing on what really is.

It’s frustrating and unfair, but, so you know, men do the exact same thing.

Last week, I went out with a friend who is one year out of his divorce. He met his wife when he was in his late 20’s, and now, as he crosses 40, he’s trying to evaluate what went wrong.

In fact, he told me that he’s turning to online dating, but is moving slowly because he’s so particular about what he likes physically.

Uh oh! Instantly, my red flags started to rise. I decided to probe deeper.

We talked about chemistry, passion, and lust. We talked about his relationship with his wife, his relationship with his Mom. We talked about what he’s really looking for in a partner. After twenty minutes, he finally settles on this:

• A woman who makes him laugh.

• A woman who doesn’t always put her needs first.

• A woman who isn’t cold and uncommunicative when she doesn’t get her way.

• A woman who has the same vision of a family and future as he does.

The moral of the story is that, to make better decisions in love, you need to have a different perspective – one that doesn’t come naturally to smart women like you.

In other words, he’s looking for someone completely UNLIKE his ex-wife – even though she DID have the physical attraction he found so important. The very trap that led to his divorce will strike yet again if he puts attraction first and doesn’t recalibrate what’s important.

Thus, chemistry is what may bring a couple together, but it’s not what keeps a couple together.

I hope you realize that I’m not telling you to go without chemistry. I’m just telling you to look at what you ignore when you feel passion:

Did you put up with a man who insulted you?

Did you put up with a man who didn’t let you know you were special?

Did you put up with a man who didn’t make you feel safe?

Did you put up with a man who cheated?

Did you put up with a man who didn’t want marriage or children when you did?

If so, I hope you can concede this one important point:

“Passion doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be together, but it does a great job of obscuring when you SHOULDN’T.”

This is what I call “the clarity of passion”.

You feel so strongly about a guy that you ignore all of these HUGE reasons why you shouldn’t be together.

And if you’re stuck on some man who, for whatever his merits, does not treat you well or share the same vision of a future, it’s YOUR job to LEAVE him. You should not expect him to turn around just because you feel passion.

Men are not great husbands simply because they’re cute, smart, funny, and successful. That’s just what seduces you.

Men are great husbands because of how they treat you. Yet that’s the first thing you’ve given up when you’ve felt that blinding passion.

The moral of the story is that, to make better decisions in love, you need to have a different perspective – one that doesn’t come naturally to smart women like you.

If you’ve been reading my blog and my newsletters for a while I hope you’re starting to have that shift in perspective.

You’re not gonna wrong once you know how to do things right.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Margo

    Great Post! :)

  2. 2
    starthrower68

    Well done Evan. I’ve made this mistake more times than I care to remember.

  3. 3
    Detha

    Great post Evan! I really needed to hear this. Thx!

  4. 4
    Tish

    You’re still the man Evan!  That’s exactlay what I had been doing for the paat 8 years with my ex.  Not noticing what was and very blinded by what could be and the passion OMG!

    Thanks Evan, I’m with Detha (#3); I really needed to hear this too.

  5. 5
    NN

    I do think that what Evan writes should be basic sense to everybody – I have not accepted less – ever.. which is the reason why I am single, since I have never found a sexually attractive man who has those good qualities… and I don’t settle character either.

    What man says is secondary to what he does as “Beauty is as beauty does” – I want my hot man to appreciate and value me, as much as I appreciate and value him.

  6. 6
    Sarahrahrah!

    Great choice of words for the title.  It perfectly captures the dynamic of what happens when hormones rule the head.  :)

  7. 7
    juniper

    What if we have been focusing on “what is there” (in the letter above it sounds like Janie’s guy was acting like one would expect someone interested to act) and we are liking the guy – and he still pulls back? How is that being blinded by passion? I understand the second part of the post – how passion can make us not pay attention to things” but I dont see how that plays out in Janie’s case. What was she blinded to?

  8. 8
    Margo

    I know this is kinda crude, but with the current guy I am interested in, I’m blinded by what he has in his pants.

  9. 9
    Sara

    Great post Evan,

    I’m a total chemistry addict and it’s led me down some blind alleys in the past. I think your point is very balanced and sensible: you’re not telling us to avoid passion completely, but just to not let it blind us to everything else and to reconsider our priorities. Amen to that!

  10. 10
    InsertPseudonymHere

    @ #8

    It is honest, Margo; at least you recognize what is happening. That is the first step to looking and seeing if this will work for you in the long run, assuming the long run is your goal. If you can’t make a rational decision now, then in a few months when the initial rush begins to subside it will be easier. Leaving if you have to will still hurt then too, but less so than if you do so now. (I am assuming this is already beyond the first week or so of intimacy.  Before then it might not be as hard to pull the plug either.)

  11. 11
    Born Again Virgin

    Evan – I feel like this article was written for me, or at least it was pointing a finger at me to take a close look!  The chemicals bathing your brain in a full-blown passion euphoric experience make it very difficult to see past the things that should be waving huge flags in your face.  For me, the craving for the feelings that the passion euphoria gave me led me back over and over to the same emotionally unavailable guy.  I was too easy for him, as I was willing to take so little and be grateful.  I joked with friends that I was into “S&M” — scraps & morsels.  Sadly, I’m still having difficulty cutting the cord on the guy.

  12. 12
    Debra

    @Juniper- I was thinking the same thing.  Janie’s guy seemed interested, so she did have something there– how do you keep from getting excited and invested when you like him, there’s chemistry, AND he’s doing everything right (at least at first)?
     

  13. 13
    hunter

    On the other hand, doesn’t our creator blind us with chemistry, so, we can do business?  At least the first time around, for some of us……..

  14. 14
    Zann

    @ #11  “Scraps & morsels”   I love it.  This is the equivalent of what I refer to as “crumbs.” Meaning, what I’m aiming for, hoping for is the whole loaf of artisan bread, but all he’s bringing to the table are crumbs… the remains of what’s left over.

    I did this over and over with men, thinking that what I was doing was being patient & flexible when really what I was doing was settling. Afraid to stand up, grab my coat, simply declare “not good enough,” and head for the nearest exit. FINALLY, after leaving what I hope was my last Dollar Store relationship, I went home & filled a plastic ziplock baggie with some bread crumbs and carried it around with me for over a year.  Every time I felt myself making excuses for A guy, or tolerating sub-par behavior just  because he physically “inspired” me (har!), I’d feel that little bag of crumbs in my coat pocket or see it staring up at me from the bottom of my purse.  At work, it was in my top desk drawer, so if he called me there, I’d just slide the drawer open and peek at this little reminder of what I was no longer willing to accept.

    True story. Having that visual cue really helped me. I highly recommend it, or something similar. Whatever works….particularly when faced with a strong physical pull or an intoxicatingly charismatic personality.  Someone please pass the bread!

  15. 15
    Christina

    It’s so hard to NOT be blinded by that passion, especially early on. Probably the best we can do is be aware that this is what is happening, and then do our best to make sure the actions match the words, as well as our wishful thinking.

  16. 16
    lux aeterna

    @14 Zann – Excellent! I will keep that trick in mind. Crumbs are for birds in the park, not us. I want a wholemeal organic loaf!

  17. 17
    Ruby

    Zann #14
    Sounds like having that visual reminder was the equivalent of aversion therapy for you! Makes you experience the chemistry you had with a not-so-good guy in a very different way, and it’s a reminder to follow your head, not just your heart.

  18. 18
    Margo

    Zann, excellent technique! I’m ready for the whole loaf of bread/enchilada as well.

    Insertpseudonymhere, about the intimacy with my current guy, we started and stopped. I asked him to stop on two separate occasions and he did. On the 1st and 3rd date, after two bottles of wine, heavy petting and then him asking me to sleep over and remove my pants in his bed, I couldn’t help myself letting him get as far as he did. I stopped him as soon as the act started (intercourse) because his earlier comment on the couch was ringing like an alarm bell in my ear: “I don’t want to have sex this early because when I do, I’m generally done with a girl”.

    This was my way of trying to salvage the situation so he wouldn’t stop seeing me like he did the other women. He is on medication and has been suicidal.

  19. 19
    LS

    @ #14 Zann: I LOVE IT! Sometimes we all need a constant reminder to pull ourselves out of a vicious cycle. Hey, whatever works!

    Great post, Evan. You hit the nail on the head again with the whole chemistry idea. For so long, I put up with subpar relationships just for that addicting surge of electricity that flows through every part of your body but fails to knock some sense into your head. It has only been since recently that I’ve been able to look past that gotta-have-it feeling of chemistry that, as you worded so perfectly, brings a couple together but doesn’t keep them together. 

    Chemistry never was my subject, but I know now when I’ve discovered that magic formula — and it’s not all physical!

  20. 20
    Foolingmyself

    In my 38 years on this earth,  I had the CHEMISTRY with one man (after 2 failed marriages)…it hooked me in (BIG TIME). Yet, he was a player, future faker, promised the world and delivered shit. He made empty promise, after promise, after promise..and I bought it hook, line and sinker.  I kept going back from his words (of a future, you’re the love of my life, I can’t imagine my life without you in it–crap”)..again-hook, line and sinker. I finally woke up (after almost 5 years long distance)..and walked away….

    The day we met was magical. That kiss was electrifying. Our chemistry was something I had never experienced before. It sucked me in, along with his ability to use his words along with it. I was hooked…he had sucked me in with the ability to use our “chemistry” as “love”. I met him on J-date. I thought that he honest. He was never honest. It turned me off to internet dating for good. I never will meet a person on-line..if there is too much distance, you can not actually “know” what your getting involved with. I fell for it, for 5 years. Even after, talking 4/5 times a day. Constant skype calls (at least 2-5 hours per night)…when things got down to the “truth” and I was walking away…he came to visit me (we were long distance) even after I told him not to come. I saw for the first time, after 5 years, a very angry man, who was able to keep THAT part of him under wraps for years. I didn’t think he was able to get angry…he seemed to hand conflict so well..guess it was because he could wait until we spoke again (and after calming down)… His temper scared me, didn’t know he was capable of having such a temper.

    Not only was/is he emotionally unavailable, a player, a liar, and a jerk, I fell for it…and I was so emotionally available when I met him…I went back and looked at my J-date profile (from way back when)..and the only thing I could ask myself was “what happened to you? (me)..where did THAT person go?  Everything I said I wouldn’t put up with or didn’t want, was HIM…He was stealth in his attach, it was little by little…over much time. and I fell for it. But the chemistry kept me hooked in.

    He’s an ass hole, a cheater,  a liar, a manipulator…and I was honest, sincere, loving, and looking for a “real” relationship”. How he ever got himself over on/past me…I still can’t figure out.

    Now I am one of those “emotionally unavailable people” because of lack of trust”. I feel numb. I can’t trust anyone. I thought I was able to pick out those “fakes”. But now I know that even I can’t trust my own judgement. And it sucks!

    Chemistry means NOTHING-if you don’t have trust, honesty, respect, and a REAL relationship!

  21. 21
    Margo

    Foolingmyself, your problem was you dated this guy for 5 years! You don’t date someone for 5 years if you want commitment and marriage, especially someone long distance.

  22. 22
    Babsy

    I’ve learnt that chemistry is not enough. I don’t know how many unavailable men i ran after because there was great chemistry. I’m learning to value myself and not to take anything. To date, I men one man who really persued me, loved me, but there was no chemistry, I gave it some time and there was still nothing. I’m now with another one, who is available, calls me every now and then, initiates dates, but the problem he has a girlfriend and he said its a complicated relationship. I’m willing to give it up, its been a month now and am giving him time to make up his mind. But one thing for sure, I don’t sub-par treatment anymore, gone are those days of weeping over a man, Im special and I know it, so is everybody else. I want the whole loaf too

  23. 23
    starthrower68

    @ Zann #14,

    The breadcrumbs idea is worth considering.  One of the things that has me a bit gunshy about dating right now is I don’t entirely trust myself not to go brain dead if the chemistry is great.  I really do not care to go down that road again.

  24. 24
    vicki

    How do you identify a “crumbs” guy on the first date, so you don’t waste time getting involved, only to find out later he can only offer “scraps and morsels”?
    I have a bad on-again/off-again crumbs guy I need to get rid of.
    He used to berate me for my lousy job, and now I’ve been laid off for the last 2 months, he berates me for not being able to find anything better (I’ve been searching, but this job market is still in a serious funk).
    I have a feeling his ego is vested in being seen with a “successful” high income woman. I’m not sure why – he claims he makes plenty of money, so I don’t get a gigolo-vibe from him, but after 2 years, and I haven’t met any of his friends or family, I get the impression he’s ashamed of me? Which I think is pretty unfair, since I am a decent person, and my family is very nice (much less dysfunctional than his, at any rate!).
    Do guys harp on how much money a woman makes? Is that an issue for men now? I thought most men couldn’t care less how much money a woman makes, as long as she doesn’t make more than he does.
    Where does this desire for high-income Barbie dolls come from? I guess he’s just too ego-driven to be seen with an ordinary girl with an ordinary job??

  25. 25
    starthrower68

    @ Vicki #24,

    I would kick that fool the curb.  EMK says men don’t care about a woman’s credentials; they want easygoing, sexy, fun, and nuturing.  I’m not saying you aren’t those things, I’m saying that this dude is looking for things about you to nitpick.  If he needs a high income woman, tell him to go find one.  Sounds to me like you are with one of those alpha males who needs a smack upside the head.  If he hasn’t introduced you to his friends and family at 2 years, he ain’t serious.  The last thing you need right now is to be beaten down anymore by this guy.

  26. 26
    Margo

    @VIki 24, Why are you with someone and he hasn’t allowed you to meet his family and friends in TWO years? You know this is ridiculous, so why?

  27. 27
    Ruby

    Vicki #24

    What do you mean, “first date”? Generally, you can’t tell what a man is capable of after only one date. You, on the other hand, have now had 2 entire years to experience firsthand that this man isn’t treating you well. It really doesn’t matter what he “thinks, or why he treats you badly. You can certainly see by now that he’s a jerk.

  28. 28
    Nicole

    @Vicki,
    I think that the things that make you successful in the real world and in the eyes of other people don’t matter to men in general. But that doesn’t mean that having it as part of your overall package isn’t important.  And it is more important to some men than to others.  That isn’t the same as it not mattering at all.  It just won’t help differentiate you from other women.

    I  think that if a man doesn’t find you otherwise appealing, the fact that you are really successful won’t convince a man otherwise, whereas I think that a man’s success can make him more attractive to potential mates.
    I think women don’t get points for going to an elite university or working for a prestigious firm. But a woman weighing a choice between two men might lean towards the person with the brand names behind him.

    My guess is that this man for whatever reason has decided that you are a Miss Right Now and not Miss Right, b/c I think that if he really cared about you he a)wouldn’t put you down and b)would introduce you to people in his life as someone who is important to him.
    But that doesn’t mean that some men might prefer it overall if you are a winner.  And he would support you as you go through a really hard time.

    If this man thought highly of you and was worth YOUR time, then the things that you don’t have would matter less than the things that you do have.

    So I think that you will find men who might like the idea of the pedigreed, brilliant woman, but will settle for someone who is a bit less pedigreed, a bit less brilliant, if he likes the other things about her.  

    And while I think that in general, people of both genders do tend to stay within their educational and socio-economic circles when dating, I don’t think the fact that you are an “ordinary girl with an ordinary job” will matter in the long run.  It won’t matter to the right man who appreciates and cares about you.

    Of course, I don’t know your guy’s background. There are definitely people who want the pedigreed girl even if the goal is to have her stay at home.  Odd, I know, but I’d say plenty of people I know are like that. Even though their wives stay at home, they are at home with MBAs and JDs, and they’d never have married a hairdresser for example.  They just would not want to be out telling people that was what their spouse does/did and that she didn’t go to college.

    Why do you find it acceptable to spend 2 years with someone who hasn’t introduced you to his friends and family?  Do you want to marry this guy or anyone else?  Do you really think that a man who considers you to be his girlfriend and who wants a future with you would act this way?  

    I think you need to decide if you want to continue to settle for crumbs or if you want to find someone who’ll give you the whole cake.

  29. 29
    kenley

    Sometimes it is pretty easy to tell on a first date if a guy is going to give you crumbs.  If he says that he only wants something casual/not too serious,  he is a crumbs guy.  The problem is women will often ignore it when guys tell them that — especially if the woman feels there is chemistry.   She will think if he really likes me, he will want something serious.  I guess that does happen on occasion.  I have found, however, if a guy really doesn’t want anything serious, it doesn’t matter how much he seems to like you, he’s NOT going to treat you like a girlfriend.

  30. 30
    InsertPseudonymHere

    Crumbs or a loaf? How hungry are you?

    This thread assumes crumbs are unsatisfactory.   Sometimes life circumstances such as divorce or economic strain mean crumbs are best for now.  I can not date at all, or I can have a little companionship with someone nice that might lead to more when we are both at a better place. (Tricky, since rarely will two people transition at the same time, but that is what endings are for.)

    The problems only come when one person wants more than other can provide. Realistically evaluate your appetite, tell your dating partner and let them calibrate their expectations or decide.

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