passionate love in midlife

Passionate love vs. Compassionate love

Do you feel the spark has gone after spending many years in your long-term relationship? That the passionate love has been buried deep under the challenges of your marriage?

This is not uncommon in a relationship that has weathered life’s ups and downs and has, well, to be honest, experienced life. Stresses may have eaten away at the light-heartedness of your early days of being together; facing infertility, raising kids, stress at work and illness all play a role.

But these challenges have also nurtured your long-term deeper love, compassionate love, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have passion in your long-term relationship.

It will take consistent work, but if you are determined and work together, you can have wonderful results.

Let’s first look at the difference between Passionate Love and Compassionate Love as defined by psychologist Elaine Hatfield.

Passionate Love

You know the feeling of the early days of your relationship that you wanted to be together all the time and thought about each other when you weren’t. Oh, the excitement of those early days! Sexual chemistry is high, and the feelings are intense. That early passionate love tends to give way to a deeper compassionate love as your relationship matures.

There is no doubt about it, though, in a long-term relationship, your passionate love ebbs and flows. Being intentional about nurturing this type of love is vital.

Compassionate Love

This is the deeper, steady type of love that comes with the feelings of security you have with a long-term partner. They are your best friend, and you grow into feelings of mutual trust, respect and affection.

Your experiences together, good or bad, can help nurture this compassionate love between you.

What if you feel the spark is gone?

You may feel that your relationship is passionless and has been worn down by life’s challenges. Those niggles can creep into your everyday life, leaving you angry and frustrated with your partner. But you can nurture more positive feelings.

1. Consider why you married your partner.

Looking back to the beginning of your relationship and reminiscing over old times can bring lightness and fun back into your relationship. This is an excellent place to start nurturing your emotional intimacy, which will do wonders for the passion in your relationship. Think about what attracted you to your partner; what was it that you fell in love with? Think about the feelings you had on your wedding day.

Set up a date with your partner and spend the time reminiscing over these good times.

2. Talk through what has changed since the early days

Share your feelings with your partner. There may have been many challenges that you have overcome and worked through as a couple that will have made you stronger as individuals and as a couple but are you putting time aside to nurture your relationship so that you can allow romance back in?

Perhaps it’s time you started dating again; yes, why not? You scheduled time together in the early part of your relationship, and if you do it again now, the excitement of getting ready and looking forward to your time together may ignite that spark. Commit to getting your relationship out of its rut.

3. Is the grass greener with someone else?

You may think all is lost in your relationship and it’s time to move on, which may be true. But consider that the grass isn’t always greener somewhere else; the grass is greener where you water it.

It takes two to tango, so you both need to be committed to making changes in your relationship to bring the passion back in, but it is also necessary to do some individual reflection on what has changed for you.

Over the years, we change and grow, and our needs and expectations change too. Can you find common ground with your partner so that you can grow together and support each other in your individual goals and dreams?

The grass isn’t always greener somewhere else; the grass is greener where you water it.

Relationships take work

Yes, it’s hard, but relationships take work. They are forever evolving, growing, and changing in the different seasons of life, but keeping the communication lines open and nurturing yourself and your partner will bring great rewards.

Connect with me if you would like help navigating how to bring passion back into your relationship!