There’s a misconception out there that if you aren’t attracting the women you want, or if your relationship is on the rocks, then what you need is to rekindle “the spark.” Well, that’s sometimes true, and not always. Sometimes creating or amplifying the spark will actually make things worse, especially if you’re already in a relationship and you’ve hit a rough patch.
This is because there are (at least!) two different energies that flow in relationships: the spark that’s created by the polar opposites of masculine and feminine coming together, and the wonderful friendship that you share with her when you realize how much you have in common, how much you are similar, and how well you get along. Sometimes, when your relationship hits a rough patch, it’s not because there isn’t enough spark but because there isn’t enough friendship.
Now this might sound a little strange at first, especially to those who are terrified of going anywhere near the dreaded friend zone, but trust me: if you aren’t willing to develop a friendship with the woman you want to date then you won’t be able to date her. The friend zone only happens when you don’t also create the spark.
But what happens when you have too much spark and not enough friendship? Well, that can be very sexy and exciting, but it will also be very unstable. If all you want is a quick fling or one night stand, then this isn’t that big of a deal, but if you want a relationship (or want to maintain your current one) then it’s important to recognize when it’s time to create the spark and when it’s time to just relax and spend time together (yes, like friends do!).
In my own relationship, we are both very conscious of creating and maintaining the spark. We’ve been together for a year now and we still have the same spark we did when we first started dating–actually, no, we have MORE spark. But recently, the relationship was struggling and we kept getting into petty (and not so petty) fights. In fact it seemed like every little thing turned into a conflict. Even though we were able to work out all of those conflicts through our knowledge of communication skills like NLP, it wasn’t exactly an ideal relationship.
Then I realized why we kept arguing–because we had fallen prey to one of the biggest attraction and relationship myths: when the relationship isn’t going well, create more spark. We kept creating more romance, more passion, more excitement, in the hopes that it would resolve the conflicts. Instead, as the passion escalated, so did the amount of arguments. If you’ve ever planned a romantic night out that only resulted in more fighting–except this time it was in nicer clothes and over a fancier dinner–then you know what I’m talking about.
When you have lots of passion and desire and also lots of conflicts (what I call the “fight-and-fuck” relationships) the last thing you need is more fuel thrown onto that already-too-hot fire!
All relationships go through times when there is stuff to work out, usually because of a transition (for example, taking your first vacation together, getting engaged, moving in together, having a child). Or sometimes you are both stressed out or, for whatever reason, there’s just been a lot of friction lately. Well, if you then go out and try to spice up the spark, you are adding MORE friction.
Passion; romance; excitement; lust; spark–these are one side of a coin, and on the other side is anger; instability; conflict; drama. Which side of the coin your relationship lives on depends much more on how much you like each other than how much you love each other.
Now if your relationship is suffering because it’s become too comfortable and routine, then that’s when it IS time to rekindle the spark. But if your relationship is suffering because you are constantly bickering over every little thing, then this is when it’s time to rekindle the friendship.
Think about it this way: if you have a coin with passion and lust on one side and anger, conflict, and drama on the other, then putting the spark into the relationship is like flipping the coin. If you have a really solid foundation of trust, friendship, and compassion for each other, then even if you land on the conflict side of the coin, you can work through it. But if you’ve been on shaky ground, then chances are you’ve already been flipping that coin too much (fight-and-fuck) and the best way to resolve things is to cool things down.
Recently, my boyfriend and I did just that. After spending a week getting pissy over every last little thing, we both decided to calm things down and focus on the friendship part of our relationship. At first, this seemed like a weird idea. We even worried: what if we lose the sexual passion too? But then we agreed that a week of getting along well but not having sex would be better than another week of petty arguing. So we shifted the energy. We stopped arguing and became friends again.
Let’s just say it didn’t take long to get the sexual passion back after that.
So how can you shift the energy if you’ve been fighting a lot? Remember what you like about each other. What are the fun activities that you like to do together? What are your inside jokes? What movies, music, and books do you both enjoy?
But this is more than just remembering what you have in common. This is about being in rapport: matching or mirroring your partner’s state. In other words, this is about exhibiting empathy and agreement.
For example, if she gets very excited about a new movie that’s coming out, being in rapport is matching her excitement. It doesn’t matter if you’re excited about the movie or not; get excited because the woman you love is excited.
If she’s upset, empathize with her being upset. Even if you don’t agree with the reason WHY she’s upset, telling her that probably won’t make her feel better.
Being in rapport does not mean that you don’t speak your own mind or that you let her get her way. If she’s being playful and affectionate, you can be playful and affectionate in return, playfully letting her know that you have work to focus on right now (for example).
And you can ask her for the same level of rapport. Ask her to get excited with you about the little things that she usually rolls her eyes at; ask her to stay calm when you’re already in a relaxed mood.
Bringing this kind of rapport into your relationship will rekindle the friendship, which is sometimes what you need a lot more than the “spark.” But don’t worry about the passion–if you’ve been fighting, you have plenty of passion there, and once you remember that you like each other, you’ll be much more likely to want each other.