The world coaches you to believe that the love that’s most meant for you is the one that’s most ecstatically passionate and dramatic.
What it doesn’t tell you is how common those feelings are.
The feelings that most people think are “love” are, most of the time, just attraction. It’s often just meeting someone who matches everything on your love map, the subconscious ideas you have about what you do and don’t want in a partner. What nobody tells you is that heart-pounding, out-of-your-mind, stars aligning kind of ecstasy is cheap, and most people will have it with more than one person in their lifetime.
You see it all the time: people are devastated when the person who felt so “right” ends up finding someone else who feels… more right. They bypass every sign of incompatibility in favor of that feeling, which is mostly just the perfect cocktail of hormones and expectations.
The best relationship of your life will actually be with the person you’re not just passionate about, but also comfortable with. The truth is that you’ll have intense feelings for a number of people in your life, but meeting the person who is also your best friend… that’s the stuff magic is made of. That’s the material for real joy.
People think that the quality of a relationship is measured by how hot it is. The real quality is measured by whether or not you could take sex away and still be happy.
It’s not that sex isn’t an important piece of the equation – it is. But it’s also just that: a piece. And for many people, if you were to take it away, there would be nothing left.
When you’re picking a life partner, you’re not just choosing a sexual partner. In the grand scheme of it all, intimacy only takes up a small amount of time. The rest of it is made up of lunches and dinners, chores and day-in-and-day-out conversation. It’s built of holidays and vacations, and rote daily tasks. It’s the person you want to be by your side all the time. It’s not someone you meet up with on a Friday for wine and sex. Any relationship can feel good when that’s all there is.
But that isn’t what life is.
And that’s not what people are.
Love and compatibility are not the same thing, and to complicate matters further, most people think love is that contact high they get when they meet someone that seems too good to be true. Love is that deep feeling of respect and care you foster over time. You can know you’re interested in someone right from the beginning, and you can determine whether or not you are fundamentally compatible, too. But love is something you build.
The best relationship of your life will be with the person with whom your sex life isn’t the only thing you have to brag about to your friends. It will be the person who satisfies you in that way, and then a thousand more.
It will be the person who you feel is on your side, not someone you have to try to earn love from. It will be someone you argue and bicker with, and even have blow up fights with from time to time. But it is also the person you always come back to, the person you accept apologies from, the person you know you have to make it right with. It is the person you want to see every day, and the person you not only feel comfortable with but maybe feel more yourself than ever before.
Anything less is a cheapened relationship. Anything less is ordinary. Passion is easy because there’s no commitment. Building a forever relationship takes guts and the warm, deep companionship of someone with whom you have refused to give up on time and time again… even when all of those fuzzy, sparkly-eyed illusions have gone.