Who can deny the joy in connecting with another and experiencing the height of emotion, the passionate encounters and even that peaceful time after the peak?

Dictionary definitions of passion include: “Any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate. Strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor. An instance or experience of strong love or sexual desire.” So, there is a mixing of feeling or emotion and chemistry or sexual desire. Can one feel passion for another as desire but not love? Alternately, can one love another without desire? This is a really tough area of relationships to explore.

On one hand, there are couples whose main channel of interaction is desire or sexual encounters. They don’t necessarily want to enjoy each other’s company. At times, they even admit to not liking the person as a companion. Then there are others who say they “love” the partner but have no sexual desire. It’s a wonderful world when the love and the passion coexist! Alas, there are obstacles like daily irritations, illnesses, interferences of fatigue, travel, family issues and aging. Physical limitations can take their toll on the desire.

How to deal with issue of passion or its lack? Temperament is defined as the natural predisposition of a person. It is what we are born with and what we have to learn to make the most of. Some people like the extremes in life and some prefer an even keel existence. When you have couples with similar temperament, even when likes and dislikes differ, it seems easier to find that comfort zone of compatibility. It is when you have partners of dissimilar emotional terrain that the comfort zone becomes challenging, though not impossible. As in all relationship paths, bumps in the road require first a deep look inside and asking oneself just how important this connection is to you. If it is, to what extent do you accept the responsibility of changing your own ways and making it work more smoothly? Or is your ego wanting control and expecting the other to do all the changing? That latter approach just does not lead to a better place. Sure there are partnerships where one controls the other, not only in the personal sphere but even in the professional world. But sooner or later, human nature seeks some kind of equal footing, some place where there is that comfort zone of mental homeostasis. Otherwise, that kind of dependency and control fosters feelings of resentment that surely do not lead to passion or love. 

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.

– Maya

Angelou


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Author Profile

Janan Broadbent, PhD
Janan Broadbent, PhD
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.

Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577