Passion Vs. Comfort: Do You Have to Have Fireworks to Have a Successful Relationship?

Passon Vs. Comfort: Do You Have to Have Fireworks to Have a Successful Relationship?

Passion vs. Comfort. This is a post you don’t want to miss, inspired by a discussion on my (500) Days of Summer thread. Here’s the gist of it. Reader Lori writes:

I have been with a man who loves me, and has loved me, as close as one can get to unconditionally for over 13 yrs…. I was never totally madly in love with him, but he knew he wanted to marry me the minute he met me. I married him – BECAUSE he was a great guy in so many ways, minus the sky illuminating fireworks. Don’t get me wrong, intimate moments were always adequate…even pretty damn good at times. But never, well, you know…crazy great. Almost fourteen years later, I remain married and faithful, but with an empty space in my heart. And wondering if I aspired to mediocrity and lost out on the amazing feeling most of us have felt at some time, of true selfless love. I love him….but I’m not ‘in love’ with him. And that is what has happened to EACH AND EVERY married friend I have, (male and female) that married simply because of the reasons you mention… many have strayed, the others are simply living there…yet nobody’s home.

Because if you take as gospel what she says – “passion or bust!” – you might have a long and lonely road ahead of you.

Everyone I know that married because the partner seemed a great choice, would be a great dad, etc. ended up divorced or unhappy. The FEW couples I know who are happily married – still love to hold hands AND ‘make-out’ – THEY married someone they felt intense chemistry for & vice versa…and of EVERY one of the divorced friends, several who are dating but have not found love, only ONE tells me she made the wrong choice leaving. The rest say they would rather be alone, than with someone and lonely.

Please know, I am not a cynic. I have SEEN & BELIEVE IN great love & marriage, but it SHOULD NOT BE treated as a business decision – it sounds great in theory – but it just brings way too much misery for way to many down the road – you better be pretty damn sure you wanna come home to this person, sleep with this person, and walk on the beach holding hands with this person 50 yrs later…because divorce.. from what I have seen… hurts. And living in quiet desperation…hurts.

Listen, I’m a 37-year-old dating coach who’s been married for less than a year. As such, I’m not going to sweep Lori’s points under the rug or deny her 13 years of pain. She feels what she feels, she’s seen what she’s seen, and it’s perfectly valid. In fact, it’s very persuasive.

However, without negating Lori’s take on things, I’d like to try to balance it out a bit. Because if you take as gospel what she says – “passion or bust!” – you might have a long and lonely road ahead of you. And I’d rather you have a happy relationship instead.

Unfortunately, while I’d like to appeal to emotion (as Lori did), I have to appeal to logic. So first of all, let’s acknowledge that Lori’s working off a small sample size, and, like most of us, she finds evidence to support her existing worldview. Whether Lori knows them or not, there are plenty of happy couples who did not have instant magic and chemistry. I’m in one of them. It’s dangerous to extrapolate from five divorced friends who regretted their choice of husbands and conclude “this is how the world works”.

People who are generally satisfied in life are satisfied in marriage. People who are generally dissatisfied in life are dissatisfied in marriage.

Next, Lori’s making the assumption that every woman who didn’t have that ga-ga, giddy, wobbly-kneed feeling about her husband feels as empty as she does in her relationship. This is not the case either. People who are generally satisfied in life are satisfied in marriage. People who are generally dissatisfied in life are dissatisfied in marriage. This is further explained in “The Paradox of Choice”, by Barry Schwartz. I can’t say what the right reasons are to get married or what the wrong reasons are. Nor can I say whether you or your friends truly settled. What I can say is that it’s really easy to envy others based on what you think they have in their marriage. The reality is often quite different. Yes, even for couples brought together by passion.

A movie called “Serendipity” illustrated this point well. In it, John Cusack envies his best friend Jeremy Piven’s perfect marriage…until he learns near the end that Piven’s getting a divorce. Who’da thunk it?

Envy is always a sin, and grass is ALWAYS greener. Seriously, Lori could sacrifice her marriage to pursue her dream man. The fact that she doesn’t means that there’s something compelling keeping her married – and it’s not simply the kids. I suspect she realizes that even if she doesn’t have the divine spark, being single in your 40’s is no cup of tea, and perhaps a kind husband is not so bad after all.

Reader Sophie follows up on Lori’s comment with this question:

Can you give me/us an idea of how many of your friends you think/know married people they weren’t in love with?… I’d like to know what percentage of people aren’t in love on their wedding day. I don’t want to “settle” but I think it would make it easier if I knew that it’s what a lot of people end up having to do.

For what it’s worth, I think MORE people are “in love” when they get married than not in love. Unfortunately, that “in love” feeling one experiences is often an illusion that masks severe cracks in a couple’s long term compatibility. Thus, being “in love” – what some might call passion or chemistry – is not necessarily correlated to a happy marriage. Doubt it? Look at all the times you’ve felt passion for someone, which, ultimately, amounted to nothing.

That leaves a certain percentage of people – fewer than the passion-seekers – who go into marriage without blinders on. I would guess most of them love their partners – much like Lori – they just don’t feel that THING that makes you feel like you just KNOW. These marriages have a greater likelihood at lasting, but only if these folks can get out of their “grass is greener” thinking. Once they go for greener grass, as Lori acknowledged, they find themselves in the same morass as every other single person – wondering how to find that elusive partner that gives them EVERYTHING, consistently disappointed that everyone’s falling short. If you’d rather be single and alone, well, congratulations, you’ve got your wish.

If you’d rather be single and alone, well, congratulations, you’ve got your wish.

I didn’t arrive at these conclusions from a textbook. I arrived at them as a newly married man, as a dating coach, and as a student of all sorts of dating and relationship advice. In short, I’ve long been asking the same questions that you have. After dating half of Los Angeles over 15 years, I didn’t rush into marriage – and I wanted to be sure that it felt the way it was supposed to feel.

I remember talking to Dr. Pat Allen, author of “Getting to I Do”. When I asked her how marriage was supposed to feel, she held up a blank index card to me. “On this side, you have passion.” She flipped over the card. “On this side, you have comfort.”

“Choose one.”

Yeah. It hit me like a ton of bricks, too. But I got it instantly.

It’s not impossible to have ANY passion with comfort or ANY comfort with passion. It’s that the two don’t coexist easily. The very thing that ignites passion is friction and instability. Once again, look at your past. Passion is usually brief, intense and rocky. Comfort, on the other hand, tends to be softer and more nurturing.

Comfort, therefore, is not nearly as exciting, but it tends to last longer. Studies say that passion usually dissipates in 18-24 months. Which is why people who expect their passion to last for 40 years, in essence, are trying to defy the laws of nature.

In marriage, you’re not making a decision for the next six months. You’re making a decision that’ll last the next 30 years. And just like one might choose different career paths for passion or comfort, people choose partners for similar reasons.

Consider the 45-year-old struggling actress who still thinks she’s going to be the next Julia Roberts. Guess what? She’s not. But kudos to her – she followed her passion, she followed sher dreams, she never settled. She showed them!

I use the Hollywood metaphor because I was a screenwriter in my 20’s. I pursued it for 7 years because I knew that SOMEBODY made it in this town, and dammit, I was as good as they were. Agents, managers, execs, contests and film schools all agreed. But after writing 13 screenplays before I turned 30, and not making a consistent living at it, I made a conscious and difficult decision: I was going to put passion aside for comfort.

Due to some combination of unrealistic expectations, Hollywood fantasy, and human nature, we seem to think that all our dreams should come true.

I could have been the penniless 40 year old guy who continues to take a 1-1000 risk with his life…or I could get a new career. You know what I chose.

I have absolutely NO regrets.

Hey, I admire those who refuse to compromise – especially that tiiiiiiiiny portion who finds both passion AND comfort in work or love. But make no mistake, it’s rarely that simple. Passionate couples fight and divorce more readily than comfortable ones. Successful writers run cold, and are forced to find new careers. It’s easy to envy everyone else; it’s just foolish to do so.

All of this talk reminds me of a favorite Billy Joel song, Vienna, from 1977. In it, he wrote:

You have your passion, you have your pride, but don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?

Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true.

Due to some combination of unrealistic expectations, Hollywood fantasy, and human nature, we seem to think that all our dreams should come true. Why?

Because we want them to. Because we’re good, deserving, people. Because SOMEONE has fantasies come true, why not ME?

I don’t begrudge you the right to your dreams. But at what point do you start to live in the real world, where people make compromises because they’re prudent?

Chances are, you’re compromising at your job – with your pay, your hours, your co-workers, your location, your status, your very career itself.

The alternative to this compromise is called unemployment (or, maybe, self-employment). Either way, it’s a lonely road.

Which is just my way of saying: think twice before you toss out that sweet, generous, good-hearted, loyal, honest partner of yours.

You might think you’ll be happier alone.

I think it’s debatable.

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Comments:

  1. 151
    Malin

    Haha, yes I can see that that’s the case now, but I guess there are more people like me out there wanting to keep some magic in the world 🙂 

    I’m an ENFP (weak E) in love with an ISTJ.. some people would say that we’re doomed but I don’t agree, somehow, we understand each other just fine  😉 

    I must say that I really appreciate your understanding of different ways to see the world, most of the time I feel that people just ignore each other if they’re different, thank you!

  2. 152
    Malin

    And please, share moore of your insights, I’m kind of used to seing things from the “boring” side and translating it into fun 😉 haha (just kidding with you!)

    I just think it’s sad that we wouldn’t be able to communicate just because of some stupid letters, that’s what I meen when I’m saying essence, what’s behind all the letters (walls etc) 

  3. 153
    Tim

    As a regular looking man in his mid-20’s, reading stories like these only makes me increasingly cynical and afraid of marriage and LTR’s with women.  It is cringe worthy for any self respecting man to know that he has been settled for; that he was a compromise.

    Its also a very uncomfortable reality to accept for regular looking guy that passion, chemistry, sparks and desire are things women only feel with men who are simply great looking. Its defintely a bit dissaponting given that as men we are perfectly capable of desiring, having chemistry and passion with average looking women. 

    1. 153.1
      Jenni

      This article is based on 0 psychological facts,  so don’t worry.

  4. 154
    Tim

    Its one thing for really good looking women married to below average looking / unattractive men to bemoan the lack of passion, desire, and chemistry in their marriage.

    Its entirely another when average looking women have the same complaint even though they are married to men roughly their equals in looks.

    It is just so easy for the average looking plain jane to have casual sex, flings, hook ups, and short term relationships with good looking, hot, sexy, exciting men; men who are way above them in attractiveness; that its a huge let down when the same quality of men aren’t available to her for LTR’s and marriage.  I really empathize with this ordeal of women. Its totally understandable for the sexually experienced women of today to feel like settling and compromising on desire even when the man they’re marrying is their equal in looks.

     If, as a mediocre looking guy, I had the same opportunities to have No strings sexual relations with hot/gorgeous, sexy, exciting women, I too would only grudgingly and reluctantly settle for someone my EQUAL.         

  5. 155
    shalom

    I don’t know what to think, really. I met my husband when I was eighteen, he was my fourth boyfriend though I’d never had sex, not that I didn’t want to but with the others, even the kisses lacked the fireworks I expected from all the novels I read. The first time I went to my husband house, he just held my palm in his and I became hooked, I just wanted him! He was not even the most handsome or anything, I later learnt he womanised although he made great efforts to hide it from me, he was not rich although very generous and kind. I made several efforts to leave him yet felt very lonely and horny for him. I married him after ten years of courtship, been financially unstable since, we’ve been married for 13years yet I long for comfortability, suprisingly the passion just increases over the years. We still have the sweet passionate sex every other night. Sometimes I feel so depressed and wish I had married the other guy who worshipped the ground I walked on and nearly ran mad when I left him for my husband. My husband adores our children, is still kind and has since stopped womanising, he struggles a lot to provide for us yet things are so tight. I’m a civil servant and a graduate. People see us as the perfect couple yet I feel a longing for some comfort, where you don’t have to count the pennies. Yet sometimes I count my blessings and realise God has been really kind to me. I feel the keyword should be contentment with a view to doing all you can morally to improve whatever u find insufficient.

    1. 155.1
      Erica

      You are bringing financial comfort into it, though, which wasn’t one of the original parameters.

      But yes, struggling financially for years on end can destroy any and all feelings you may have had for the person initially.

  6. 156
    Amanda

    I like to say… “the grass is greener where you water it!”
    Another good one… “It’s not about what you want, it’s about wanting what you have”
    Don’t lower your standards necessarily, but be realistic about life and have some humility. Lose the entitled expectations and attachments, and stop relying on someone else or something to make you happy in life. It’s up to ourselves alone to create happiness within ourselves first, only then we can achieve happiness in love and life in general. However we may choose to go about that is up to each of us to decide as individuals, based on who we are and what we want most in life. The rest is just frosting if we choose to see it that way. Gratitude works wonders!

  7. 157
    JohnnyB

    I am so glad I found this thread. I also want to thank Evan for writing exactly what I’m going through now in a way I could never describe. I love my wife with a passion but didn’t always show it. I’ve posted in another thread here is it chemistry or is it love. I think is the name. We both forgot our love we both forgot to show it. I’ve never stopped loving my wife never. Yes I wasn’t the best husband but I’m loyal always there and at times I fuss lol sometimes more fuss but my love never faltered. She thinks being alone or dating other guys is going to make her happy or having her complete freedom is her answer to happiness.  I don’t want to give up but like Evan said above you want your freedom well here you go. We’re both 43 she still helps me and cares she just says she dosnt love me. I will take companion ship loyalty and caring over a few month ecstatic romance that may or may not still be there. Either way I know my love for her I know my faults I know I messed up by not showing it as much as I should have. But I also know you do not give up on a marriage of 7 years just because you think grass is greener or being alone is the answer to your problems. I’ll always be here for her even though I’ve had my heart ripped apart she is still the woman I love and cherish. Thanks all I hope she sees this post and thinks very hard about her future. I’ll still be waiting.

  8. 158
    Rachel

    I haven’t read all the responses but I read some and I’m disappointed when I hear from folks who have been in their passionless relationship for just a couple of years and feel qualified to say it’s perfectly fine.  I’ve been with my husband for 20 years. We’ve been married for 13.  I ‘love’ him, absolutely. He’s my soul mate. We do everything together – we run together, travel, talk for hours and are completely compatible politically and in all our ideologies.

    But every moment I’m not engaged with work or something that is grabbing my attention is spent lamenting that I’ve been in a passionless relationship for 19 of the 20.  Yes – I married him even though there had been no sex life for 6 years.

    I’ve done a lot of soul searching.  Why did I marry a man who was just ‘safe’?  Sure – I liked him more than anyone else in the world.  He is my rock.  But I’m an attractive, fit, intelligent woman and I’m very sexual.  This issue has eaten away at me and at our relationship.  I’m now at a point where I have to leave before I’m even older (I’m not 47), before more wrinkles crater my face, etc.   Life on the outside is so very scary.  I’m terrified.  I left him once a few years ago and came running back to his arms, relieved that he was willing to take me back and forgive me.  I vowed I would never leave him again – way to scary.  Then last year I asked for divorce.  I lasted a day before saying I’d go to counseling with him.  We went to a wonderful counselor who constantly marveled at how perfect we were together. She insisted the passion could return.

    But at some point – I gave up wanting him.  Years of rejection took it’s toll on us.  Now I cringe if he touches me in an intimate way (he has been trying to ‘get things going’ again’).  Unfortunately it’s too late for us.

    I have cheated on him.  In my eyes that makes me a bad person.  He caught me. He forgave me, more than once, more than twice.

    I get that passion doesn’t last for ever but that’s just the hot passion – there is a different passion that survives for years, forever, in good relationships.  It’s less burning – but it’s still there.  There is chemistry.  We never had that, even from the start.  That’s why it isn’t there now and there’s no inventing it.

  9. 159
    Merry

    I needed to hear this! I’m in a relationship with a great guy, and we love each other, but there have never been fireworks. We have a lot of fun, probably quite a bit more than any of the people I shared short-lived passion with, but sometimes I wonder if “that special something” not being there means we’re just not right for each other. I like having a boyfriend whose my best friend, but when I hear people talk about love at first sight and that magic connection, it makes me wonder if I’m doing life wrong. This makes me feel a little more confident.

  10. 160
    Karmic Equation

    Contentment: a state of happiness and satisfaction.
     
    Comfort: 1) a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint. 2) the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress.

    I think the answer is in the choice of noun. I would never choose “comfort” over passion, because comfort keeps us in our status quo. That’s why overweight people don’t exercise. It’s more “comfortable” to not do so. That’s why emotionally unavailable people don’t want serious long term relationships, because they’re more “comfortable” not dealing with emotions, yours or theirs. That’s why insecure people are unhappy, because it’s more “comfortable” to ask others to cater to their insecurities than to work on eradicating them.

    But are any of these overweight, emotionally unavailable, or insecure people “content”? I sincerely doubt it. They’re comfortable, but not content.

    So I would change the argument. Don’t chase passion, chase contentment. Chase the person who makes you feel content with life.

    Although all my LTRs started with passion, however, the passion often died out well before the 18-month mark. They went pretty quickly into the “content” phase. The one relationship where I was passionate from beginning to end? I was never content. I overthought. I overfelt. I over-angsted. To some extent, I really enjoyed that ride on the over-emotional roller coaster. I felt more alive than I felt in years. But I didn’t trust that feeling. You can’t sustain that kind of “living color” for 40 yrs. Something’s gotta give 🙂

    My saving grace was that I recognized that lack of contentment would doom the relationship eventually. I had been in enough LTRs to know that passion is fleeting (and that’s ok)…What’s not ok is when the contentment dissipates. When I married my ex-husband, two years after we met, there was no longer any passion. I was fine with that because there was deep contentment. However, as the years passed the contentment dissipated. Mostly because I felt he took me for granted. His “efforts” to show he valued me had diminished to an unsatisfying level by the time I decided I wanted a divorce. The same with my 6-year relationship.

    My current relationship began with a lot of passion in late March and has already slid into contentment 3 months later. And I believe this is a good thing for the both of us. We’re content with each other. With the relationship. With the rhythm of our lives together. It’s pretty easy to envision spending the rest of my life with my current bf. In a way I never felt with the last two men I dated, both of whom I loved to some degree, but never at the “death do us part” level. Am I “in love” with my current bf? No, not yet. But with this one, I think I’ll actually “fall in love” AFTER I grow to love him. And it’s too early to love him yet. I like him a lot. He treats me well. He has integrity. He’s kind and thoughtful. For strong like to morph into love will not be difficult. Time will tell if this relationship will go the distance. But I’m content with this ride. I think he is too. That’s a good sign.

  11. 161
    ik

    Why is this a paradox? I want both passion AND comfort in my marriage. As others in this discussion  have pointed out out, the two are not and should not considered be mutually exclusive. I think there also different mixtures of levels of passion and comfort that might be different for all of us.

    And by compromise, do we mean “selling out” or being untrue to fundamental emotions and beliefs or are we simply acknowledging practical imperfections in ourselves, in others and in real relationships. If we mean the first, then I would probably not like to be untrue to myself and some very very fundamental thoughts and emotions (on my mix of passion and comfort) because in the long run I’d be unhappy “compromising” on some core needs.

    But if my “basic” mixture of comfort and passion- my  core “needs” –  are met than I believe in a huge amount of flexibility towards my partner. After all she’s not computer  simulation but a beautiful real life imperfection, just like me.

    Knowing what these core needs are doesn’t just depend on how well you know your partner, it depends very much on how well you know yourself.  Also how well did you know yourself and what you wanted from from the relationship going into the marriage? Or are doing most of your learning on the job, while married?

    I think that there is no one size fits all answer to what or who is going to make you happy. Ultimately, only you can define your own sense of happiness in marriage, work, family and life in general.

    I think John Lennon sand   “Whatever gets you through the night, it’s alright, it’s alright.”

    This is life with all its beauty and all its warts. Enjoy your fifteen minutes in the spotlight.

     

  12. 163
    Amber

    Your article is right on, at least for us mature people who have experienced one or more divorces and have a certain “life experience” LOL. I must admit that every time I have had a crush on a man, it has never lasted, just like fireworks. Sure, passion feels wonderful, you have wings, your world is brighter and all but my current belief is that if you want long-term, it is not the priority….. sharing values, life goals, interests and of course getting along and having fun in bed and out….. that’s where it is at……

  13. 164
    Brittnee

    There has to be some level of both passion and comfort, Interest(mental and emotional) and sound logic. Passion doesn’t mean friction it doesn’t have to be a giant forest fire. Comfort doesn’t mean dull and unsatisfying. There will be times of strife and unhappiness but you have to have more happiness than unhappiness. I want a relationship that has passion like a flame atop a very tall time marking candle that melts slowly and aids my feeling of comfort a candle that flashes the time and illuminates my happiness within my relationship every time a situation renews my respect for the person i’m with.I want to want to be with my partner. I want to deeply love them for exactly who they are. I also want security and comfort in that relationship. To be able to be with that person for the rest of our lives. I want a decent place to live and food in my stomach and someone to come home to who loves me deeply for who I truly am too. That’s what I want; why should I settle. Why should I be unhappy? I shouldn’t.

    1. 164.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Show me the part where I told you that you should settle and be unhappy and I’ll concede your point. Otherwise, you’re making a straw man argument – accusing me of things I haven’t said to score points. You can have everything you want, as long as you don’t expect your passion to carry you until you’re old and infirm. That’s not the foundation of relationships. It’s the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. No one said you should not have a good sex life; only that good sex isn’t a great predictor of longterm happiness.

      1. 164.1.1
        Jenni

        I want to see all the psychological evidence to back up your claims. Otherwise, how can you call this “logical”? I have been reading about human hierarchy of needs,  what creates a healthy relationship, what’s toxic in relationships, proper communication, abuse, antisocial personalities disorders (from NPD to Psychopaths). I have been reading these things to heal from severe childhood and early adult abuse. Note, it’s been about 10 years of reading,  nearly daily. I have also seen over 6 different psychologists and counselors in my life and I NEVER heard anything like this.

        I appreciate your difference in point of view,  but that’s all it is.

        I hope not too many people take this article seriously and continue to emotionally neglect their significant other because “comfort” is better. But let’s be real,  no relationship situation can be handled with such a black and white view of the world.

        You are missing so much insight young sir.

        And for the most part,  I disagree with this article as it saddens to see its “helped” so many.

  14. 165
    Rachel

    I am in a similar situation as Lori, with the difference being that I did feel happy and fulfilled in the early part of the relationship.  What has come to pass is that after children together, and settling into “domestic” life it has become very clear that my husband most firmly resides on and has assigned our relationship the comfort side of the index card.  While I love the comfort of our relationship (the stability, and the ability to feel like I was enough for him without having to pretend like I was something I was not) the very real lack of passion or excitement is devastating.  Mostly because it is very apparent and he has even stated that he is incredibly happy with the way things are.  The real problem is that the institution of marriage does not allow me to look for/find/have that thing that I am missing (passionate, romantic love) outside of my marriage.  All the other qualities you describe in a good mate – friendship, companionship, respect, stability, help raising the kids, shared goals, etc. are possibilities that exist outside the world of marriage as well.  I can find friendship, companionship, shared interests in hobbies with friends or family members, but I cannot go to them for passionate romance.  This is the real problem.  The thing I want I simply cannot have without destroying the lives of my husband and my children and the people that care about them.

  15. 166
    Faith Guillon

    Choose comfort in your partnership and find passion in yourself.

  16. 167
    AinWonderland

    What about switching the idea of passion for Intensity?! I mean, with the word Passion it seems as most people only get the idea that you are referring to intimacy between the pair. But what about INTENSITY! The feeling of thrill when they speak to you in a loving way. The way they handle you in a hug or make-out session, you know the one that makes you bend at your knees and fall deeper into their chest. What about the way they express the words “I love you”, do you feel that with his voice it’s like he is pulling at your heart strings? Or do you just hear them with the capacity of your ears and that’s it?

     

    You can have great Passion in your marriage if the Intensity of your relationships is what you focused on.

     

    So in essence, if you chose to live the “comfortable” life, it wouldn’t compromise the endurance of  your passion.

    Could be speaking out of an idea of what I feel my own life should/could be like. ✌

    ✌✌

  17. 168
    AinWonderland

    Think of it as this,

     

    Intense Intentionality leads to Intense Intimacy.

     

    Too cliché?

  18. 169
    Alana

    this forum is like God sent answer to my questions. My heart goes out to Lori as I m in the same boat as her. I also chose comfort over passion there was no passion in our marriage but he is a good guy provides for the family comfort loyal and security but the lack of passion leaves me incomplete. N I have had my mind wandering with these same questions concerns. While  I do agree passion n comfort both r needed in marriage but i realize after reading the posts not everyone has everything.  Also I completely agree that passion usually is short lived n passion alone can make marriage work even though comfort can still make marriage work. The idea of leaving a comfort marriage for a passionate relationship is exciting but doesn’t have its grounds. U may find passion with another guy but without comfort it’s not going to last this is what I  experienced was attracted to someone felt passionate however it drizzles out as soon as the relationship hits the ground reality then it makes you wonder was this short lived passion worth sacrificing the comfort n family . 

  19. 170
    Alana

    I was so tempted to cheat but held myself strong n decided against it as so called passion faded away as I began to see the reality of this other person n weighing against the comfort in my marriage

  20. 171
    Lisa

    I came across this blog randomly but i am really happy that I read it. I had been searching for answers like these. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 6 years and I have never been in a relationship this long.  We have an amazing bond with trust and love, but the passion isn’t really there any more. Being the first time in a relationship this long I wonder how I’m supposed to feel… is it normal? does this mean we should split up? I have to live forever passionless again?

    My one question is, if passion goes away in 18-24 months then why is cheating so unacceptable? So we as humans have to sacrifice passion for comfort? I don’t fully get it… and don’t know what to do..

     

  21. 172
    Stu

    Admitting to yourself there is a lack of passion in your relationship is hard. It’s even harder to admit to your partner. But in order to move forward, this conversation needs to happen.

    This happened to me and my wife, and we both agreed to seek counseling.

    Counseling helped, but what really helped was the two of us looking up ways to reignite the flame. From pretending to be strangers at bars, to using apps like this one – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=spice.it.up.wheel.game

    We pushed through our bump in the road, and we have never been happier.

    Honesty is the key to solving everything. Have honesty with yourself, and with your partner.

     

  22. 173
    Dea

    I had a friend 20 years ago, she was several years older and married a friend of mine. The marriage was what some people called a comfortable one. She didn’t feel the passion of the movies or the books for her husband (a very calm guy). She cheated on him and after 10 years got divorced. Turns out what the way she perceived passion was a lot of drama. She had many relationships more or less dramatic, throwing things around the house, choking each other, breaking stuff, cheating, “we can’t be together” story everything ending with “let’s make out and have sex right now”. Every time a relationship was good and settled she decided she doesn’t love him anymore and she was out. She is 46 now still looking for the perfect guy the way she perceives him. I often wondered if she is actually able to have a long term relationship. Which brings me to my questions: do we really understand what makes us feel passion for someone? If what makes us feel passionate about someone is the novelty of the person, or the cute early 20 years old or the very handsome 30s, or the prohibited “fruit” are you able to have a long term relationship? Maybe some sexual preferences are not exactly compatible with marriage or with your own character outside the bedroom. In this case I think it is much wiser to choose  the foundation of your marriage to be something else but passion. I don’t see it as sacrifice, I see it as choosing between 2 things the one that is more valuable for me. Knowing me, I have chosen with my head. I really love him and I don’t regret it. What I have recently discovered is  that passion is a part of me I can fulfill in other aspects of my life and by doing something that really makes me happy, it brings joy and enthusiasm in my sexual life also.

    1. 173.1
      Jenni

      That doesn’t sound like passion, that sounds like abuse… just saying.

      You’re friend might want to read about healthy expectations, her basic human rights in a relationship (hierarchy of human needs),  proper communication,  what makes a healthy relationship, what verbal/emotional/physical abuse is, and then decide if “passion” was the problem.

      Self-control is more often the problem and some like to misrepresent it as passion. It’s not.

  23. 174
    by.me

    That intense feeling ….the one you can’t describe… you can smell it, taste it, feel it…. Just the thought smothers you…..you can’t breathe, think or stop yourself  daydreaming about it over and over!!!!  There is only one word to describe it: PASSION!!! It’s like a drug, if you had it once, you’re hooked, addicted…nothing can compare to it and you don’t want anything else.
    When I dated you briefly in highschool was madly in love with you…guess what?  There was no passion. You just disappeared, never to be heard from for the next 15 years. I also found out that you were seeing my best friend, sneaky and sorta hurtful. But who cares right we were only kids….
    Fast forward 15 years and I allow myself to go on a date with you….knowing that you have a reputation as a womanizer and that you never really broke up with me when I was 13….I cleared my mind of everything and thought , I’m not going to judge him, I’m giving him a clean slate…
    There was something about you that I couldn’t quite put my finger on…was it that I was newly single and lonely or that I was discovering the new me or was it really you??? Or was it the guy I met before you that I had amazing chemistry with…that lasted a month…And I wanted that again…
    By the second date I thought…nhaaa don’t think I’m into you but slowly we started talking and exploring one another only to realise that I have never felt so much passion…. Its amazing.
    The late nights…the intense love making …you literally feel like a love song… you can just look at one another and know….baby we gona escape to the abyss, and cook, eat and love some more….
    We have been away from each other for more than 3 months and I can still smell you, feel you and I can close my eyes and relive it like it was yesterday…. You’ve told me that you have never felt so much passion like you have with me but why did you desert me??? Like when I was in high school, why was there always other woman involved  around you like I was in high school?? I wonder if that it is maybe just who you are… you can love more than one!  Maybe the passion comes from me and not you…seeing that I had it with another guy as well…. Maybe it’s when I’m high on life and happy, I give you passion and then slowly allow you to suffocate me and manipulate me?? That this passionate woman that loves like no other ,slowly disappears and leaves you to deal with her on autopilot??? maybe im not losing passion if I give you up….maybe I’ll always have passion and get it with someone else because it came from inside me…. So with my mind shift I wonder to myself why would I share my passion with you if you are never there for me, always on the prowl, making me feel less worthy , why would you admire me as the most passionate woman ever to slowly brake her down, brick by brick, only to realise that you now don’t want her anymore but can’t let her go because once she is gone you miss her passion and you let us both hang on to the past of what we were, how amazing we were….why did you give it up? Why did you allow anyone to steal it from you? This is where I think to myself why I allowed someone to rob me of something so powerful…. Everyone’s dream is to have that intense passion; like in the movies…..we had it…why did it come to an end like in the movies??? my brain cannot understand that part…my heart yearns…sounds corny if you’ve never felt passion but understood by every single person that has ever felt it….yearning is the only word that can successfully describe a heart that has been robbed of passion….
    My mind and body yearns and longs for the passionate times we had…but my mind is so scared of what you have done to me….What must I do if you cannot make me no1 , after knowing you have never felt so much passion for a woman….
     
    Any normal person would say run for the hills…but guess what??? That is what passion does to you, leaves you confused, lonely and miserable…. It literally feels like you are living a Shakespeare novel, Beethoven makes sense… passion is like Pandora’s box, once you open it you can never close it and put back what jumped out of it… if you haven’t had it, you envy it, if you’ve had it you wonder if it was a curse and would always chase it like a drug….you become a passion whore to only realise you’ve been used, and your all washed out and lost to the world. It takes months to years to really overcome it and it takes alot of time to heal yourself to find yourself again after losing that passionate partner…to get yourself to forget the past and dismiss that intense passionate love you had, like it never happened. Once you’ve gone through the journey of putting yourself back together and forgetting what romeo did to you…you realise that passion makes you blind and very forgiving and accepting things you would never allow…you don’t have any boundaries left, you gave all that up when you had passion with him… then you only realise what passion has cost you. This is my take on passion in relationships and im no expert just a woman that was deeply, madly inlove and driven by a passionate encounter that only lasted 2 years… leaving me down and out and him going crazy… so did we drive each other crazy because we had passion or we went crazy because we lost passion??? No one would ever be able to tell you for a fact like 1+1=2 what the right answer is. But what I can say of what I experienced is that, once you lose yourself “who you really are” so you can be with and please your passionate lover…you will lose that passion you shared.

  24. 175
    paty

    I am so happy I found your article, it feels like it was witten foe me. I love the man that I am with but when i read magazines, textbooks have conversations with friends. Everybody always wants to follow passion because confort has been so degrated. I have been in a lot of passion relationships prior to meeting him and they only left me empty and sad after the few months were over. I like confort in my life, after spending years and years looking for a partner, this relationship juat felt right, things seem to work out easily. We are going through a hard time now and after reading this I am willing to stick around because I will choose him again again rather than the other relationships that just gave me brief moments of passion.

  25. 176
    Jenni

    Curious to how you came to the conclusion that “passion” and “comfort” are opposites. I tried googling myself so see if I can find someone who could argee. I looked up synonyms and antonyms, still nothing.

    Why should one have to choose between the two? How did you come to the conclusion that both can not co-exist? Because, to me, passion is nessicary to meet my love languages (quality time and affection). My fiance has little time to spare,  and without that passion,  and feeling complete comfort,  I feel my needs getting neglected more and more. I being up neglect,  I face his monsterious ego.

    Not too sure this article was helpful,  or even based on real psychology.

    1. 176.1
      Karmic Equation

      Jenni, you have neither passion, nor comfort with your boyfriend, who sounds like he’s a bad boyfriend.

      Until you actually have one or the other, you have no basis for comparison.

      Dump this dude and find a better boyfriend.

      The reality is that the guy who often gives you the greatest passion, is not going to make you comfortable; and the guy who makes you the most comfortable will not give you the greatest passion.

      So, between those two extremes, and let’s assume it’s a continuum, with “Passion” on one end and “Comfort” on the other, it behooves most people to find the middle and then choose a little to one side or a little to the other.

      Evan’s point is that if you try for either extreme…and unfortunately most people opt for the Passion extreme and try to “make” the partner provide the comfort, as opposed choosing the Comfort extreme and trying to work together with the guy for “passion” that is acceptable to both partners.

      But here’s the reality of relationships: ALL passion wanes after time. Even the most extreme passion, becomes less over time. And if ALL you have is passion…and no comfort, when passion is gone, you have NOTHING.

      OTOH, if you opt for Comfort FIRST, and then try to develop and then maintain “passion” with the partner who’s already invested in your comfort, comfort will not wane. In fact, if you’re with the right partner it INCREASES over time. And as long as both people are vested in maintaining an acceptable level of passion, you get to RETAIN some level of passion, even though it may be more “work” over time.

      In other words, a passionate relationship that has no comfort, will eventually become a relationship with NEITHER passion NOR comfort over time.

      However, a comfortable relationship with passion, can become a MORE comfortable relationship over time. And then depending on the level of commitment between the two partners regarding “passion” passion can be maintained at a no- to low- to high-level.

      That said, I would recommend finding someone in the middle of the spectrum, not crazy “passion” but a good amount, balanced by a good level of comfort…to START a relationship. If you want a lasting relationship, find a guy you’re comfortable with whom you enjoy being physical, rather than finding a guy whose bones you want to jump and then have to work to “make” him give you comfort.

      The former is much easier to maintain than the latter.

  26. 177
    Jenni

    I’m just going to leave this here if you guys want real factual information from Psychology Today

  27. 178
    Selena

    Given this thread is around 8 yrs old…I’m curious as to what course Lori took. Did she divorce the ‘comfortable’  husband? Stick it out and glad she did? End the marriage and find passion with someone else? Not find passion, but find contentment in singlehood?  Or now that her children are grown, contemplating a different place as to where life might take her from here?

  28. 179
    Lisa

    I’ve gone through years of chasing chemistry and ending up hurt and alone and after finally meeting someone I understand what Evan means and I have learned a lot from him.  I will share my take.  There are some people we will meet in this life that we will experience animalistic chemistry for, it is not something that can be explained.  Your heart will pound you will feel sweaty and sick and you will want to rip that person’s clothes off, when you meet that person, run.   That is your body’s fight or flight kicking I’m telling you to go.  That chemistry is dangerous and it is like a drug.  It feels wonderful, but it’s blinding.  You don’t see the person, you don’t evaluate the relationship for long term.  Think about those relationships where you had that type of chemistry, I bet most of them involving a lot of fighting and turmoil.  You never knew where you stood.  You sat around and cried to your friends.  That flutter you feel in your stomach that’s anxiety not love you just don’t know it.   When you are seeking a long term party chemistry should be a very small part because its not a good predictor of compatibility it’s just not.   When you are compatible you feel safe.  The anxiety goes away, along with the butterflies, you have got the man its comfortable, but you are looking for that  highe you think that high is love, you are bored so you let a perfect life partner go.

  29. 180
    Ally

    Passion over comfort. You can buy comfort ( transportation, nursing aide, 440 thread count sheets ect.)  Passion is magical and cannot ever, ever be bought. It’s priceless and it’s a gift from God.

     

    1. 180.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      a) The comfort I’m talking about involves a partner who listens to you, prioritizes you, compromises for you and is steadfast in his commitment to you – not 440 thread count sheets. Kind of thought that was obvious. And no, it can’t be bought.

      b) I would encourage you to start your own dating blog based on putting passion over comfort. You will attract lots of unhappy single people and have a thriving business by keeping them perpetually single.

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