While you certainly want to have a fun and fulfilling partnership with your SO, passion can fade over time — especially once the so-called honeymoon phase is over. But keep in mind, a lack of passion in your relationship doesn't automatically mean things are doomed. In fact, in many ways, less passion can actually be a good thing.
That's because passion is often synonymous with drama and heated emotions, and that can be a symptom of a dysfunctional relationship, as well as one that has unhealthy patterns. Sure, it's great to be head-over-heels for your partner, and it's fun to have wild debates that last into the night. But when it comes to having a healthy, long-term relationship that's built to last, these things shouldn't necessarily be what's keeping you together.
"If all you have is passion and no other connection emotionally, when life has its up and downs, the relationship usually doesn't survive," Chicago-based dating expert Stef Safran tells Bustle. That's why the boring aspects of a relationship — like a sex life that has slowed down over time, or quieter evenings — are often a sign of healthier situation. Read on for more ways a lack of passion can actually be a good thing.
1. You Aren't Having Sex As Often
If your sex life starts to slow down, don't panic. "[It] doesn’t mean you have a loveless [relationship]," Bonnie Winston, a celebrity matchmaker, tells Bustle. "Decades of proven evidence says that the average couple’s passion lasts just a few years. That means if you aren't really compatible in other areas, there's a good chance that your relationship won't stand the test of time." So, the fact you're still together, even though you're no longer having sex 24/7, can be a sign of high compatibility.
2. You Aren't 100 Percent Attracted To Each Other
It's great if you think your partner is the sexiest person alive. But if you're obsessed with the fact they're an 11 on the hotness scale, it could be a sign you're a little too passionate. "I tell my clients that if you see someone at a bar, party, or the dry cleaners and on a scale of one to 10, you feel this person is an 11... run, do not walk away," Winston says. "You are so attracted to that person because they have the issues you never worked out with a relative, parent, or difficult circumstance ... It will be a pattern that repeats itself." In other words, that 11 might make for a fun hookup; not necessarily a stable relationship.
3. Your SO Has Become Your Best Friend
If, in the beginning, your lives were focused on passion, be grateful that things have simmered down to a healthy, supportive friendship (with plenty of sex, too, if that's what you want). "I believe warm intimacy between people can actually be a stronger predictor of relationship happiness than passion," says April Davis, owner and founder of the matchmaking service LUMA. "[Passion] is important, but being friends first is key to life-long happiness with someone. We need the support, love, similar goals, and aspirations of our partner to keep passion alive."
4. Your Conversations Aren't As Exciting
While it's healthy for couples to speak their minds, and even argue occasionally, it's perfectly OK if those heated debates have lessened over the years. "When it's the absence of drama created by two people triggering each other's safety issues (and spending more time in fight/flight than in love), then it's a good thing," says relationship coach and podcast host Neil Sattin. "And when the lack of 'excitement' creates space for two people to experience the kind of connection that comes from deep presence with, and acceptance of, each other, then it's an amazing thing."
5. You No Longer Have Heated Debates
In the same vein, a lack of passion — less arguments, fewer heated debates, etc. — can simply mean you two have gotten better at communicating. As author and relationship coach Brian Taylor says, "... when people communicate value and respect, the passion will develop and deepen; it may be less exciting and frilly but the depth of it is important and contributes significantly to any relationship."
6. Your Relationship Feels Extra Safe, And Maybe Even A Little Boring
While a dramatic and passionate relationship can be exciting, a calmer one usually means you've created a situation that's truly safe and secure. And that might be just what you need. "It can be comfortable and give security, especially to those who have experienced volatile or abusive relationships in the past," says relationship coach Zoe Riddell.
8. You're Suddenly Noticing Your Partner's Faults
Once passion cools down, and you're suddenly seeing all your partner's faults, it can feel kind of scary. But it's actually a healthy progression you need to go through, especially if you want to stay in this relationship for the right reasons. "Extreme passion in a relationship can be positive. However, when you are head-over-heels in love with someone, it changes your brain chemistry," certified counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. "It creates what is called 'the halo effect' where your brain doesn’t allow you to see your partner’s faults. With less passion in your relationship, the halo effect is lessened and you’re able to make decisions, about yourself and the relationship, more clearly."
9. You're Focusing On Building A Family Right Now
OK, so I'm not saying all the fun goes out the window when you have kids. But it can fade for a bit during this stage of your relationship. And that's OK. "When you are focused on dealing with your kids and family issues, sometimes the focus is more on the issues than your sexual passion," says Safran.
10. Things Have Gotten Real, And It's Not As Fun
The moment your relationship feels mature and responsible — you're going to bed on time, paying bills together, and talking about the future — it can feel like the fun is over. But, again, that's totally not true. "Relationships need more than passion to survive long-term," Bennett says. "So, if your relationship has less passion, but you’re still in love and sexually satisfied, it’s actually a positive sign you’ve matured as a couple and developed long-term bonds."
11. You Aren't Going On As Many Dates
If you want to keep date night a thing, you definitely should. But don't be too concerned if you two aren't going out as frequently. "At first couples love to go out, then things calm down [and] they stay in more," says Isabel James, relationship coach and founder of Elite Dating Management. "[This] is a sign of comfort and not always having to impress each other, which is positive."
Remember, though, that none of this is to say that you shouldn't be in love with your SO, go on dates, or maintain a healthy sex life. Of course you should. (And, if those things are dying down, there are ways to bring the spark back.) That said, a lack of passion — as it pertains to the end of the honeymoon period, dramatic arguments, etc. — can be a good thing if it means having a healthier, more stable relationship.
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