The Gifts and Pitfalls of Being A Passionate Spouse/Parnter

Relationship Help Quick Tip

Are you a passionate spouse or partner?

If you’re a passionate person, or if you’re in a relationship with a passionate person, this description will sound familiar to you:

Passionate people love passionately and deeply—this is what they know, this is who they are. They don’t know how to love and feel “half-way.” They seemingly don’t know how to distance themselves from their partners, even when it would seem to make sense to.

Passionate individuals find themselves and lose themselves in the intensity of loving and engaging with others. They know how to give of themselves fully—that is a plus, true, but there’s a hidden danger to that tendency toward complete surrender: they can easily become consumed by an experience; they might give of themselves until they’re depleted and raw. And if their partners don’t understand them on a meaningful level, this can spell disaster for the passionate individual’s psyche as well as the relationship as a whole.

This is why passionate people need some extra recognition from time to time. Passionate people need their own day, a day that recognizes their uniqueness and vulnerability. Let’s call this a “be kind to a passionate spouse/partner” day.

Let’s look more closely at the enigma that is passionate love:

Deep, passionate love is rarely linear nor is it consistently harmonious.

Passionate love can be unpredictable and uncontrollable, and, at times, angry and seemingly uncaring (or even selfish). If you’ve ever loved passionately, you understand the gifts of loving with such an intensity and you know the risks. (And if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of such love, you know how it feels to have the sunlight of that type of intensity beaming on you…and you also might recall periods of confusion on your part, times when it feels like you can’t give your partner what s/he wants/needs.) When passionate love works, the experience is unparalleled—when it doesn’t, life is shaken to its core.

Passionate people have a gift to give others and to the world, but, depending on circumstance and perspective, it can sometimes feel like a curse.

Very often passionate people aren’t focused on self-care, and very often they fail to recognize that their gift is also their vulnerability. They fall exceedingly hard when their marriages/relationships falter, when their loved ones are upset with them. As a passionate spouse who was on the verge of divorce once shared, “I feel shattered in a thousand pieces and each separate piece is slowly drowning.”

So if you’re married to or in a relationship with a passionate person, try to understand that not far behind the intensity and all consuming life-energy exists a tender fragility—a fragility that might not be apparent to you at first glance and might not be talked about by your partner. Passionate individuals tend to burn out at some point when this fragility isn’t considered or goes ignored for too long. 

And if you’re a passionate person who gives all of yourself in your marriage or relationship, remember to incorporate self-care into your life (since taking good care of yourself truly benefits your partner as well as yourself). Also, have your partner read this article so that s/he can give you a day that honors the gifts of passion that you bring into his/her life.  (And more importantly, s/he can recognize your uniqueness and celebrate it and consider it all year long.)

 Wishing you a passionate and fulfilling relationship,

Dr. Rich Nicastro

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