All-Consuming Passion

XUP Jr. tells me that being madly in love is out of style; that it’s a Hollywood invention; something that people in the “olden days” bought into; but which today’s youth are too cool for.

I’m talking about that all-consuming passion that teenagers can (could?) do best, but which many adults are also able to fall into. I’m talking about that kind of “in-love’ where you can’t keep your hands off each other; where you want to be together every minute of every day; where you can stare at each other for hours; where all you can talk about is how amazing it is that you found each other and how much in love you are; where you’re only half alive when you’re apart. I’m talking about the kind of in-love that makes your friends sick  to be around you.

I’m talking about the kind of “in love” which is so intense that it can’t possibly sustain itself in the long term and which will either burn itself out or morph into something calmer, more comfortable and enduring. (Or, sometimes it can also turn into something ugly depending on circumstances).

I think it’s something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime, don’t you?  

Is it possible for something like that to go out of style? Seems to me it’s been around forever, so why should just this generation suddenly become passionless? Please say it ain’t so.

But, the “relationships” my kid and her friends have all seem to be very …. whatever the opposite of intense is… very casual, passionless, unconsuming.

Maybe that’s a good thing?

Did you have a teenaged-madly-in-love relationship? Are they still around? Have you had an adult-madly-in-love relationship? Are they healthy? Or is a loving, mutually respectful, companionable relationship healthier? Can you have both at the same time? (With the same person?)

Just one of the many things we’re having long, heated discussions about here at the XUP household during our little winter holiday.

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28 responses to “All-Consuming Passion

  1. I think there may be something to what XUP Jr is telling you, based upon what I saw with DD and her first boyfriend. It seemed to me that they spent an awful lot of time texting one another, but not that much time actually WITH each other. And when they were together, I rarely saw them even hold hands – not that I would expect to see much, but DD herself gave me to understand that their relationship was pretty casual and not that passionate. At the time, I just thought that he wasn’t the right one for her, but now you’ve got me thinking that maybe that really is the trend with the young’uns these days. Hmmm …

  2. Oh how terribly sad… whoa… who said that.

    The Man and I were like that. (He’d had this thing for me, for years (YEARS). Me, I’d been a bit more … ummm… casual.) We are still a pretty physical touchy-feely, love you so much kind of couple. I seem to remember our friends couldn’t talk to us because of the groping for the first few years (YEARS!) But we were in college and infinitely more mature … or something… I think drunk might cover it.

    I think love sneaks up on you. If she’s casual about it, then it’s not love. Maybe?

  3. I had it with my second husband but, of course, it has to level out into the more sane, comfortable relationship. I miss it though. Is there anything more exciting than that first kiss? I don’t think so.

  4. I think that being “madly, deeply” in love will never disappear. It may not be the “cool” thing now but what is now cold will be hot again in no time. Have you been following the phenomena called the “Twilight” series? isn’t all the hysteria about mad, passionate, irrational falling in love?

    of course, as you say, it has to morph into something more sustainable and sadly many caught up in the early euphoria don’t realise this and it is their unreal expectations that lead to many breakups.

    I think I have had these experiences both as a teenager and as an adult and am fortunate that the damage i did to myself has mostly healed!

  5. How interesting it is to have a teen around to keep you abreast of these societal changes.
    Though, when I was in high school, I seem to remember being among the group who sneered at the people who were in that totally all consuming in love. We were very casual in our relationships. I got over that. Then went back to it. Life is like that, it changes when you find the right person to share that life with.

  6. I think we are going through a period where it is cool to be cool. I find the younguns don’t seem to have a passion for much of anything. Work, play, hobbies or each other.
    I blame the inter web and of course some blame has to be directed at the younguns themselves cause dag nabbit they just never do anything right.
    But then come to think of it even that doesn’t rouse my righteous anger the way it used to.

  7. Pinklea – Exactly! They’re always texting, but they see each other maybe once a week for a couple of hours. I was really looking forward to her first love. Maybe it will still happen??

    Nat – It IS sad. I don’t really understand how a powerful human emotion like that can just go “out of style” in one generation. Maybe just none of them have experienced it yet. Fingers crossed.

    Zoom – I’m pretty sure you can’t just cool your way out of something like that. I think when it happens, it happens no matter how superiorly stoic you think you are.

    Dr. Monkey – I hope so. Not that I want to be spending my time crowbarring my daughter away from some teenager, but I do want her to experience crazy love. Maybe she’s just not ready.

    Linda – I guess that’s why people have affairs – to recapture that big, big feeling. Not that I’m recommending it or anything…

    LGS – Have I been following Twilight???? Have you been following this blog? I’ve ranted on the Twilight several times. I wouldn’t hold that up as a romantic ideal though – it takes the worst parts of all-consuming passion, multiplies it by 10 and leaves out all the good stuff. Twilight is about isolation from friends, family and society as a whole, from utter dependence on the man, about unhealthy obsession, with a touch of pedophilia and mental and sexual abuse thrown in. If that’s what kids think is “being in love” then no wonder they want nothing to do with it.

    Violetsky – Maybe they’re just putting things off? When most of us were teenagers, it was not unheard of for kids to get married and start families in their early 20s. So they had to get all their flings out of the way before then. Now, no one is even thinking of anything like that until they’re in their 30s – so they have plenty of time for mad passion?

    Bandobras – I think they’re putting something in the water that makes us all apathetic. It was originally designed for political purposes, but seems to have some beneficial side effects as well

  8. When I met my husband 17 years ago, it was a knock-your-socks-off, love-at-first-sight, can’t-breathe-when-you-catch-sight-of-him, make-out-for-hours-at-bars passionate love. We’re quite settled now and are together for the long haul, with two kids, a house and all that.

    I’ll tell you one thing though: when it had been tough, and I’d thought of calling it all off, it was just the memory of the passion and the KNOWING that I’d met the man I would spend the rest of my life with in those first few months that carried me through. If I’d felt at all casual at first, I would have walked, no problem.

  9. I have never had that ‘all consuming passion’ thing, not a reciprocated one, anyway. I was obsessed about one boy all through highschool, but it was not mutual and therefore had to be repressed. I think this experience has lead me to repress passion all through the rest of my life. Good or bad? Don’t know – it just is.
    I suspect because it is not ‘cool’, today’s young’uns are feeling much the same as other generations but hiding it, either from others or even from themselves.

  10. No, you can’t have both at the same time with the same person, I don’t think. Because by the very nature of time, you’re going to get used to eachother. Which isn’t a bad thing, of course, but that level of intensity can’t last with a day-to-day thing.

    K, now I’m depressing myself.

  11. That’s like saying breathing is going out of style. I think that that all-consuming passion that some people (including myself) are lucky enough to find isn’t something that you *let* or *make* happen… it just does, and you bow to the inevitable might of physical chemistry.

    Your daughter simply hasn’t met The One yet, and judging by her age, that’s a good thing.

  12. Oh, say it ain’t so! Although all-consuming passion has led to some tears in my pillow, it is such a high that one hopes their children do get to experience it.

    As for me, my hubby and I were described as being in a “bubble” for the longest time … as in, someone would be trying to have a conversation and we’d be sitting their in our own little bubble completely unaware of the rest of the world until someone shouted “BUBBLE! hello?!”. Although the bubble is no longer a 24/7 thing, it still exists.

    I’ve had the good fortune to have been “in love” with some darn good men. But I always had this niggling, irrational feeling to leave them. Then I met my hubby and it was so good that I would do anything NOT to leave him. And thus our international complicated but damn good marriage.

  13. Nylonthread – That’s hot! Just the memory of passion that can sustain you through thick and thin. Lucky you!

    Mary – Oh Mary! That’s really sad. Maybe it’s not too late? Women DO outlive men most of the time and you’re still a fox…so who knows???

    Ellie – So what I think you’re saying is that you and the mister were sizzling pandas at one point, but settled into a more rational, companionable relationship. The blog seems to indicate that you still have a lot of fun together and that you haven’t settled too far. So, don’t be depressed.

    Susan – I just knew you guys were still smokin’. I think it was that photo of you in the dance dress he bought you – something about it and the person who chose it for you…. (And ya, probably it’s better if The One shows up in a couple of years or so for her)

    Julie – That’s SO nice to hear. I guess this is where the “better to have loved and lost” thing comes from. It’s heart-breaking because most of the time it isn’t sustainable for the long haul, but it’s totally worth it.

    Aziza – I was thinking more long-term like kids/setting up house together/growing old together sustainable. A year is a great start though. Usually if you can keep things smokin’ for that long you’re doing pretty good. (When you say a year, is that seeing each other every day or one of those relationships my daughter has where they text all the time but only meet up about once a week for a few hours?)

  14. My daughter was a teen at the turn of the century and she was also rather cool and passionless with her boyfriends who actually seemed more like boy friends. I’m sure my high school boyfriend and I were rather annoying but Dad is no longer around to ask. My brother and his girlfriends were downright gaggy but maybe that was because he was my big brother. There ‘s a lady blogger in her 60’s that found someone (I think they may be married now) and she was supper googly-eyed about him and the relationship so I suppose it can happen at any age. Back to our teenaged daughters though – I think the coolness is a GOOD thing. Maybe people just have more self-esteem.

  15. We will celebrate 4 years of marriage on Friday; we’ve been together for 9 years overall. Although we manage to pry our hands off each other every now and then, unlike the first few years where we were simply a package deal, he makes my heart sing when he walks in the room.

    Long may the honeymoon last. 🙂

  16. You know how some experiences are like “Well, I look back on it fondly now…but at the time, it was really awful”? To me, the opposite is true of being Madly In Love. At the time, it seemed great…but looking back, I don’t know that I’d want to go through it all again. It looks pretty awful from where I am now. I don’t know that I’d want to put myself through all that again.

    But…never say never, right?

  17. Geewits – You equate passion with a lack of self-esteem? Interesting. Why? You may have something there, but I’d have to give it a long, hard think to figure out exactly why that should be so.

    Susan – You’ve got 13 years under your belt, I suspect the honeymoon ain’t gonna end any time soon. Woot for you!

    Daniel – It does have its awful points, but overall I wouldn’t have missed it for the world and wouldn’t mind at all if it happened again.

    Aziza – Ah well, that’s pretty long term then.

  18. In teenagers, I mean. I think that crazy passion of teens is partly based on being so freaking happy that someone of the opposite sex thinks they are attractive. It gives them a sense of having some value. It’s just my opinion.

  19. Geewits – And is that any different if a person is madly in love at 25 or 30 or 40? I always thought it was because teenagers are naturally rather melodramatic so that every emotion is a really big, over the top emotion. Also, because their hearts are fresh and innocent and they’re able to just let themselves fall without protecting themselves from heartbreak. Some adults are still able to just give themselves over to love without hesitation; most are more cautious as they gain experience. But self-esteem could definitely play a role, too…

  20. I don’t mean to come off poetic here or anything… but I’m going to reference a couple things….

    I admire people that can find that kind of love. It’s very rare and a completely wonderful experience. I’ve been with one person like that in my life and while it’s totally a life altering experience for the better – the loss of that can also be equally as horrible (not saying that for me as much but for others as well).

    C.S. Lewis wrote (basically) that the ‘in love’ we feel at the beginning of a relationship will eventually fade to a level that is a deeper more developed and a calmer love. He asks what would happen to our jobs, lives, and everything around us if we existed in a constant state of ‘in love’ (as teenagers often do). Eventually we have to return to ourselves in some degree in order to maintain the forward motion of our lives. This later stage of love is often the one we often take for granted because we expect the ecstasy in the beginning to last. And for many it does to some degree.

    Now for the part I would rather leave out. In the day and age we live in interpersonal relationships are not valued and maintained to the degree they were in my grandparents or parents time. Kids today see much more hate, divorce, violence, and other things that my parents and grandparents were taught to avoid based on sheer old fashioned home values. And I’ve seen this reflected in the attitudes of todays kids, especially in how they approach each other. They quickly learn the value of pain and agony in their relationships with their own family members (and possibly those of their friends family) and curtail the possibility of immediate pain with emotional distance.

    C.S. Lewis (and Freud) said that the worst pain anyone will experience in their life is caused by other people or circumstances surrounding them.

    I’m not saying that this is what’s happening in your home. I’m just making a statement based purely on my own observations.

    I’m happy for all the people above my rather dreary tag. You all seem so happy and I wish you all the best life could offer you. Everyone deserves to be in a relationship that makes you feel like you could jump to the stars themselves. Not because of sheer ecstasy of being in love, but because of a single individual person and the love you share with them, makes you believe that you can.

  21. DN – Thanks for the thoughtful comment and for visiting the blog. What you say makes a lot of sense. I sort of hope that it’s not true that we’ve done that much damage to our young people with our selfish examples of disposable relationships. I hope my child and all the other young people can still find the capacity to enjoy love.

  22. I didn’t comment on this because I felt the same way as DesertNurse and I didn’t have C.S.Lewis to get quotes from.

    I was going to quote from from a book by Wayne Gretzky but it was about hockey and how the trap changed things so it didn’t seem pertinent to the discussion.

    Anyways, I was lucky enough to experience the madly in love thing once. And I think everyone does at some point in life. Unless the other person is using the trap. It’s really hard to beat that defensive system..

  23. i’m a big fan of the “madly in love” and doubt that it can go out of style. based on my daughter’s experience, she is madly in love in a sweet way right now.

    i heard/read something that declared the “madly in love” is a mental disorder and i think it’s fitting, b/c we make huge mistakes during this time.

    i’m also a fan of balance, and believe that we can do the original madly in love and then have it balance out.

    i’ve fallen “madly in love” a million times (at least) but i know that it’s not always necessary to act upon it.

  24. Glen – CS Lewis belongs to all of us. We can quote him whenever we want…I think… Not many of us can quote from Wayne Gretzky though. I think you need a special permit. I’m glad you had madly in love once. What happened?

    Leah – I think the “madly in love millions of times” might be more accurately described as a temporary infatuation. I hope that madly in love is something a little deeper than something you can do millions of times. I know what you mean — that feeling of being totally besotted with someone for a short while, even if you don’t actually know them. I wouldn’t call that madly in love though. Madly in love, I think, is a mutual thing -and a thing that often leads to something permanent and something that gets balanced out. Or it leads to a big dramatic break-up.