For some reason, people believe that a weak-in-the-knees, butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling represents the pinnacle of romance. Not for me. I knew I was going to marry my husband when I realized there was no spark between us. What we have is so much better—calm, comfortable, and no shortness of breath involved.
- Those butterflies are nerves, not love. The only time I ever felt my stomach act up at the thought of texting a guy or going on a date with him was when I was nervous about what he’d think. Those relationships never lasted long because I never opened up. I felt incredibly comfortable from day one with the man I’d eventually marry and because of that, it was much easier to establish real trust and get to know each other.
- That spark leads to games. Sure, there was a giddy feeling every time I talked to certain guys I really fell for, but that feeling was always teetering on the edge of major stress. I’d follow the three-day rule religiously and try to play hard to get because I thought that was how you made things interesting. As it turns out, the interesting thing is figuring out how you feel about a real person, not the character they play when they’re trying to keep up the intrigue. The lack of spark and nerves meant I texted when I wanted, said what I wanted, and ultimately created a great relationship with someone whose personality kept me coming back, not the games we played.
- You have better things to do than think of a guy all day. Whenever I felt a spark with someone, I became obsessed with him. I’d wake up thinking about him, wait all day to see him, and then fall asleep telling myself fairy tales about our future together. When I started dating my husband, there was none of that. OK, fine, there was less of that. I was able to more easily integrate him into my life and goals instead of feeling the need to completely revamp them so he got to know me as I am.
- Chasing intensity is exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, a romantic surprise is always welcome, but constantly trying to keep the spark alive by planning elaborate weekend getaways or a sexy surprise outfit wears me out. Instead, a spontaneous visit to our favorite cocktail bar or flowers for no reason are enough to keep us happy. When a relationship is built on comfort instead of intensity, it only takes little gestures to make me feel like we still have a strong connection.
- What happens when the so-called spark fades? If you just aren’t feeling any connection at all, then yes, cut loose and keep looking! But what if you still care about each other but things just aren’t quite as exciting as they were at the beginning? If you feel comfortable around him and still want to spend most of your time with him, there’s something worth nurturing there. When I prioritized compatibility over feeling a spark, my relationships tended to be longer and more fulfilling.
- Sparks make rejection so much worse. When the spark-filled relationships and hookups fell apart, I stressed hard over what I could have done differently. When relationships without a spark ended, I never felt the same devastation. I walked away knowing that we were both good people who just weren’t right for each other, and that was OK. There was no blame, just a decision to seek out a better match.
- Sparks are fun but a relationship needs more than that. In my mission to find and keep a spark going, I ignored some serious red flags like drastically different expectations about sex and how long was too long between texts. Focusing on a strong foundation of communication and trust first left so much more time later to seek out excitement.
- It’s easier to air complaints without a spark. When I’m not worried about being a perfectly thrilling person, I’m able to talk about things that aren’t going well in our relationship and move towards a solution instead of holding it in and trying to convince myself that the problem isn’t that big of a deal. With no idealistic vision to panic about ruining, we can talk about the important things and get back on track.
- Not having a spark doesn’t mean we’re settling or bored. There are still plenty of moments where I feel overcome with love towards my husband, the feeling just isn’t overpowering. Our attraction is based on constantly learning new things about each other, having the space to be our own people, and committing to moving forward in life as partners. I’d feel totally unfulfilled without those things and am more than happy to give up on sparks for good in exchange.