Passion, Intimacy, Commitment.

September 17, 2011 at 10:01 am (Polyamory, Real Life, Relationship) (, , , , )

The great trifecta – or Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love – has been on my mind a lot lately. Passion, Intimacy and Commitment. The ideal, of course, is to have all three, but many relationships settle into a state where two are stronger. My marriage is definitely on the Companionate side of that triangle (see link above).

DH and I have been talking about this. We’ve had sex a whopping three times in the past seven days, which is unusual. It’s comfortable, familiar, satisfying in its own way. But it distinctly lacks passion. There is no anticipation, no lust, no longing for sexual contact. We mainly have sex in the morning as an extension of cuddling. It’s an act of affection, but not necessarily one of desire.

I miss desire like crazy. I miss lust. I miss longing to touch someone and be touched, and I miss anticipating fulfillment of those needs. This puts me in an awkward position right now. The boyfriend was very effectively filling those needs, but we’re currently on a sexual hiatus while I work through some issues. I’m trying to be all Zen about it, and feel and acknowledge the desire without fulfilling it. Sometimes that approach is effective, and even somewhat pleasurable. Sometimes it is not, and I have to resist firing off a text message that would probably result in rejection.

I’m also struggling to accept the reality that the passion in my marriage is gone. Oh, I know, there have been thousands of women’s-magazine articles written on how to revive the passion in your marriage, and I’ve read a couple dozen of them. The problem with their advice is, both partners have to be willing to invest time and energy in reviving that passion.

DH is okay with the lack of passion. He does not want to put time and energy into games, dress-up, sexy love notes, or any of those other “put the passion back in your marriage” ideas. He values companionship and emotional intimacy over passion, and I do agree with him on that point… a lifelong partnership has a better foundation if intimacy and commitment are strong. I also think he doesn’t experiences passion the way I do, or sees the need to express it the way I do. It’s just a fundamental difference in perspective that is unlikely to ever change, like our difference of opinions regarding the moon landing (old joke, I’ll explain it some other time).

This is sometimes difficult for me to accept. I want that trifecta. I know that the lack of passion doesn’t devalue the other pieces we have, and I struggle not to diminish or overlook the value of those other two parts, because they’re worth immeasurable amounts. If I seek out fulfillment of my need for passion in another relationship, it’s also a struggle not to let that overwhelm and thus devalue the intimacy and commitment I have with my husband, because the passion is that longed-for missing piece. It’s the new toy on Christmas Day that makes you forget all your other, once-favorite toys. Passion is an oooh-shiny distraction for me, and I need to learn how to take it in measured doses, keeping my head about what it is and what it does for me.

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3 Comments

  1. zinner1 said,

    I really tried with this feeling just same as you hhuuuh!!!

  2. oldmole51 said,

    That dichotomy is one of the reasons my marriage crumbled to dust. Consider yourself fortunate to have a partner willing to allow you the fireworks elsewhere while keeping the good parts of what you have intact. It feels like a drug because it is, for all you are producing it yourself … and it is oh, so intoxicating.

    Good Luck,

    Mole

    • Alice Digitalis said,

      Oh, I’m very aware of how fortunate I am that I’m not only allowed but encouraged to seek other partners to fill other needs. However, I seem to have great difficulty in finding partners who can fill those needs. So, woe is I.

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