On my last post about whether you’re holding on to your security blanket of anger and hurt, longtime reader Annie commented on the subject of passion.

“No drama, no trauma, no pain. All of that is good. I’ve replaced being an addict of EUM’s with being apathetic. I’d be fine with never dating again since I don’t want kids anymore, and see no particular advantage to marriage at my age. It’s a strange place to be.

I feel like I have much healthier boundaries than I ever used to, and a greater understanding of why my life turned out the way it has and my part in it.

But I don’t have a source of melting joy anymore. In giving up the bad guys, I’ve also lost the few minutes of bliss because I’m not interested anymore, not even in a good guy.

So answer this one, Nat. How do you find your joy when having a relationship isn’t a goal, let alone a day to day reality?

In other words, how do you find it when you aren’t dating and it isn’t one of your priorities anymore?

We’re not talking about basically being comfortable with life.We’re talking about the joy you feel when you have sex with someone you adore and have the hots for who has the hots for you. That chemistry. That sizzle. That thing that makes you feel alive and on top of the world.”

I hear from a lot of people who are seemingly passion seekers. They want the thrills, the excitement, the heady rush, without the flipside that comes with it, which is that when passion is high on your agenda, you’ll likely pair up with someone who can give you passion all or most of the time, it’s just that it will come packaged up in drama, ambiguity, and sex.

This doesn’t mean that people who are not ‘passion seekers’ don’t have passion in their relationships – quite the contrary. They just don’t label unhealthy partnerings as passionate, or if they do, they recognise that it was still unhealthy and look to get a healthy relationship with passion.

Passion should never come at the expense of love, care, trust, and respect unless all you are looking for is a casual relationship, and even then, you don’t want to open yourself up to being taken advantage of or even abused by having no limits to where that passion will get drummed up from.

If you’re in a relationship where you have passion, but there is an absence of love, care, trust, and respect, I’m sorry, but that’s not passion; that’s dangerous.

How can you feel so much passion for someone who you don’t have basic levels of decency and a relationship with? Why does passion have to come packaged up with crap?

A lot of people who talk about passion have this grand expectation that they have to be experiencing passion all the time – people who talk about passion and their relationships factor it in as if it’s a goal to be achieved out of every day, week, and interaction, which is quite frankly wholly unrealistic.

The boyf and I have passion in our relationship and are passionate about each other, but come on now, life goes on! We both go to work (well I work from home), we have two young children, we chill out, we relax, we enjoy each other, we enjoy life. Part of our time of course, goes to affection and sex, but when you look at how much you have sex and are affectionate towards each other in the context of the number of actual hours in the day, it seems a bit strange that there is such a high emphasis. In fact, looking at Annie’s comment about losing “a few minutes of bliss” reminds me of why I stress the importance to so many women of actually being conscious in their interactions and considering the bigger picture.

Is it worth deluding yourself to get a few minutes of passion here and there with guys?

Is it worth the pain of not liking yourself too much afterwards?

Is it worth detracting from yourself and effectively jumping through hoops in unhealthy relationships so you can have a “few minutes of bliss”?

It’s safe to say that if it’s only down to a few minutes, you may as well go and shag your heart out and then go about your business!

But why do we have to go to such extremes? Why do we have to be all or nothing? Why is it passion with ‘bad guy’, no passion with everyone else?

It’s like ‘Fine, it’s my football and if I can’t play with it how I want to, then nobody will’ which translates to ‘If I can’t stick to my pattern and seek ‘passion’ with unavailable men and assclowns then I won’t bother at all because I don’t want to put myself at risk with the potential of a healthy partnering. I’d rather take the easy route.’

This taps right back into the fundamental belief that ‘passion’ is something that only comes with certain types of men and the rest of them, are guys you settle for and forgo a life of passion. That’s just bullshit though.

If we as women continue to sell ourselves short by catering to the patter of ‘only a bad boy can give me passion’, we’re saying ‘we don’t love ourselves’ and giving carte blanche to men to do as they like while throwing us crumbs of passion to keep us happy.

He doesn’t have to be unavailable or an assclown for you to have passion but you’re never going to find that out if you don’t address your beliefs and your self-esteem because writing yourself off because you can’t run out there and throw yourself into a relationship with a dodgy guy, is like writing yourself a script where you get to tell yourself that you’re not good enough and will only be wanted by unavailable men and assclowns, and now that you’re off them, it means you have no options.

Why don’t you think you’re good enough for a decent man?

Before you determine that you have a passionless life, I suggest each and every one of you that wants passion but is ‘off’ unavailable men, have an honest conversation with yourselves and while you’re at it, ask what you’re doing to increase the prospects of having passion within the confines of a healthy relationship?

I’m not saying don’t have sex.I’m saying have sex, but empower yourself.

Why do you only have to have sex if you can be a lamb to the slaughter in a pseudo relationship where you’re catering to an unhealthy pattern? Why does the other party have to be in control of the dynamic? Why are you denying your own sexual needs?

And there’s no point in saying that you can only have sex if you’re in love, because that horse has already bolted. If you’ve been having sex with unavailable men under illusionary circumstances, that’s not love, that’s your imagination and your vagina talking.

We need to listen to ourselves. Are we actually, as grown women, saying our source of joy and passion are Mr Unavailables and assclowns who walk all over us?!

It’s like saying ‘I’m only compatible with men who are unavailable and assclowns’ – does that sound right to you?

Passion is not just sex! It’s about affection, it’s about showing consideration, making an effort, doing things together, celebrating your togetherness, discovering things, intimacy and so much more than shags and arguments!

Passion certainly is not about being treated badly – some of you had better be careful that you’re not mistaking what actually tallies up to abuse to ‘passion’ – don’t get things twisted!

Another reader Cathy said to me recently, “I couldn’t date a man unless I felt passionate about him. In fact, passion is really important to me”.

This is fine but here’s the catch – what is passion without the actual relationship? It’s just empty sex and drama. It’s just a limited connection.

It’s also important to recognise that sometimes you bag and tag stuff as ‘passion’ when it’s actually drama fear, and the side effect of living off illusions. Sometimes when your tummy goes antsy and you think ‘Oh it must be passion’, it’s actually the familiar feeling of fear – it’s important to listen to yourself and also pay attention to the end result of your so-called passion.

Just like when people tell me how important their type is to them and I ask, ‘How many successful relationships have you had with your type?’ and I generally hear zero, it’s time for me to ask

‘How many successful, healthy relationships have you had where passion was high on the agenda?

Passion is a by product of other things in a relationship that are far more necessary and passion like everything else in the relationship takes work.

How do you find your joy? Go out and live your life without imposing shackles upon yourself by painting yourself into a corner.

None of you, including Annie and Cathy, will be in any danger of finding joy if you remove your options with your fears and by limiting your choices.

Boundaries are there to protect you. They’re called self-respect. When they’re a fortress around you, they’re not healthy boundaries, they are your means of keeping people out and not allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Respecting yourself shouldn’t feel like punishment.

To experience joy and passion in your life is about allowing yourself to be vulnerable.

If you’ve been playing it safe with Mr Unavailables and catering to your pattern, much like everything else in the relationship, you’ve experienced limited passion.

Of course the relationship could be intense and passionate – it wasn’t going anywhere and you knew it, deep down or even on a more conscious level!

If I knew I was in danger of losing something or it wasn’t real and I was clinging onto the whatever I could, I’d feel pretty intense about it too.

But it was never going to last and it’s quite a rollercoaster when you experience fleeting highs and even more frequent dizzying lows. That’s not passion; that’s a dangerous, unhealthy relationship.

If you’ve ever been involved in an illusionary relationship or been involved with someone where you broke up, got back together, broke up, got back together, you’ll know that that a lot of the passion comes from uncertainty and turmoil. If like me you’ve put yourself through the pain of being involved with The Cheater where your liaisons finish just in time for you to start watching Eastenders at 8pm, you’ll know that the passion comes from the forbidden relationship and being sandwiched into their schedule, plus the high of living off the promises of what could be. If you’ve ever had a man leave his wife/girlfriend and be with you, you’ll know that the passion disappears like the hot air and big talk that comes out of their bums. If you fight all the time or quite frequently, it will feel great when you fall into bed and ‘make up’ but one of you is likely to realise that they don’t want to spend their life arguing with someone all the time.

For me personally, I hadn’t really known proper joy until I started to take care of myself, doing things for my enjoyment, living my life with boundaries but going out there and putting myself at risk. I don’t mean dangerous risk where I went in loving and trusting blindly, but assessing a situation and taking a leap of faith. That’s joy. That’s passion.

You don’t get happy being stuck in a rut, expecting love to land at your feet when you’re doing the same old routine day in day out, sitting at a computer screen, and basically never deviating from the norm. So many women email me with their startlingly routine lives and declarations of how they want happiness – they’re not doing anything! It’s like they want the glory, joy, passion, and happiness without putting out the work.

Nothing risked, nothing gained. I don’t mean taking risks on three-legged horses like Mr Unavailables and assclowns and wondering why they don’t run like thoroughbreds and win – these are limited relationships with self-fulfilling prophecies so you know the score.

I mean taking real risks.

Love takes time. Some passion can be instant but if you want it to sustain, you have to let it grow and put in effort. All relationships require effort and it takes more than a few minutes of sex to sustain passion.

Even if you don’t want kids or marriage – sex is not a currency for kids or marriage. Trust me, not all guys are running around looking to knock someone up or get married but it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a relationship with them. Just date and stop shackling yourself – you don’t have to get it right the whole time. You’ll live if the guy is not ‘The One’.

I would also, just like when I say that your happiness shouldn’t be derived solely from one source, neither should joy and passion. I love the boyf, I love, the kids, I love my friends, I love my bonkers family. I’m passionate about my relationship, the boyf, and the kids, but I experience passion through stuff like work – I experience genuine joy through writing Baggage Reclaim. I could have been passionate about writing and talking about dating and relationships, but if I hadn’t put effort in, this site would not be what it is.

Until you’ve turned over every stone and really put yourself out there, don’t give up on yourself and don’t sap the passion out of your life.

***Updated 8am GMT 2nd Nov*** Apologies to everyone about the problem with the commenting system overnight. It has now been fixed!

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebook on emotionally unavailable men and the women that love them, Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl as well as the No Contact Rule and more in my bookshop.


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