I had a conversation the other day with a friend of mine about the different kinds of love.
It got me thinking about the different ways people are attracted to each other and the different kinds of relationships that stem from these forms of attraction.
I look at the different forms of attraction as a spectrum. At one end resides the purely emotional, visceral, passionate, and explosive dynamic; at the other resides the exclusively intellectual, verbal, cerebral, and practical dynamic.
It’s likely we’ve had attractions or relationships that abided by one end of the spectrum more strongly than the other. The signs are pretty clear.
Explosive love feels intuitive, instinctive, and spontaneous, but it lacks the structure and communication to be realistically sustainable. Practical love is communicative, understanding, and focused on the “nuts and bolts” of managing an interpersonal connection, but it lacks the excitement and intensity that makes love so powerful.
We must embody both these qualities for love to flourish and to have the kind of conscious, dynamic relationships that cultivate us as human beings.
Personally, I’ve experienced both extremes—and although one extreme is quite lively and the other quite conscientious, it is clear to me that neither can last without finding a balance between the two. We must create that happy medium—that sweet spot between explosive and the practical—if we seek to truly serve the other person and make our love into a beautiful work of art.
I find with the explosive love I experienced, the relationship becomes increasingly erratic and volatile over time. The sex is great, but the conversations are virtually nonexistent. The connection is almost purely physical and emotional, leading to all sorts of chaos and depravity because nothing is talked about. No sense is made of our interactions, and in that, we never really know each other on an intellectual level.
With practical love, the right conversations are taking place, but that true sense of physiological connection doesn’t seem to be at play. We can talk about things until the cows come home, though without that component of emotionality and visceral experience, we will slowly grow disdainful of each other. It gets boring, and we get tired. The structure is there, but the underlying novelty that makes a relationship so beautiful is missing almost entirely.
A relationship has a lot to do with finding balance between order and chaos. Too much order and it becomes too predictable. Too much chaos and it becomes too unstable.
I’ve leaned towards more explosive and visceral relationships, but that’s something I’d really like to adjust. I want to walk that fine line between passion and intellect, but thus far, I’ve been more inclined towards falling into the romantic abyss of chaotic passion and emotional strife.
So, the obvious question would be: How do we find this balance?
The answer is perhaps as complicated as people are, though I think I’ve come upon a performative understanding of this that is quite simple…practice.
Practice. Experiment. Play. Modulate this balance with each romantic experience we have, and perhaps through the process we will become sharper and more refined at the art of loving.
For example, since my relationships have exemplified explosive love in the past, I will try and move in the other direction to really cultivate an intellectually inclined relationship where things are discussed openly and specifically.
Perhaps I’ll go too far in that direction, but it doesn’t matter. The point is to always strive for that holy balance—that sacred space between intellect and passion. Thought and emotion. Order and chaos. Conscientiousness and openness. In doing so, we improve ourselves as human beings.
This is so clear to me. It is the pursuit of balance—both within and without—that cultivates human consciousness, and this is most obvious in relationships.
Let’s constantly develop this balance of explosive and practical love to find a mode of being that gives way to the flowering of our greatest qualities—a way that coincides with that of another person.
This is what love is as far as I can discern; the work of self-actualization in the context of human relationship.
Author: Samuel Kronen
Editor: Danielle Beutell
Supervising Editor 1: Yoli R