How much do you buy into the “spark”?

CalfSleeve asks:

The way I see it there are a number of different types of attraction. There have been girls in my life that I’m crazy about and others that I’ve lost interest in pretty fast. Obviously there are a ton of factors but it’s not always consistent which relationships work based on the attraction. So how much do you think the spark really matters? Is that butterflies in the stomach, want to rip their clothes off, think about them all the time feeling necessary? Or have you had the real connection with someone who maybe you slowly gained those feelings with? Someone that you questioned your feelings for and weren’t sure.


Demetrius says:

Let’s be a bit literal with the idea of a spark and its importance to relationships, and then I’ll get to my opinion on it.

Quick side note, I always thought that the name “Tinder” is such a great name for a dating app. Tinder (combustible material, not the app) needs a spark to light, then you light kindling, then you light bigger logs to start a fire. Whatever you might have to say about the app itself, it’s user base, how it’s used, etc., at the very least that’s some pretty clever imagery. The imagery hints at how modern dating and relationships work.

Anyway, let’s talk quickly about sparks and fires in the literal sense very quickly. You need a spark to make a fire, you need combustible material to make that fire, and you need to put in work to keep the fire going. The size of the spark that starts the fire doesn’t necessarily dictate the strength of the fire, nor does the amount of fuel you give it, or the work you put into it. Which, is kind of how relationships work. You match (that’s the spark), you meet, and if things work out…sparks, tinder, kindling, logs, fire. Dating, relationship, lifetime of happiness. The spark is how things start.

The first moments you really connect with someone can be incredibly important, but for a relationship to last, that spark should only be a small part of the story of your relationship. “It was love at first sight” is a great way to start a relationship, but it isn’t an absolute requirement to start a relationship, nor is it a guarantee that things will last.

Sometimes you have a crazy spark with someone, and things fizzle out quickly. Sometimes you have a tiny spark, that builds slowly, then one day you look back and you can’t picture a life without them. A spark is important, but the things you do to keep building your connection, to make your relationship grow, matter more.

So no, I don’t think a crazy spark is necessary. All you really need is a general sense of attraction to that person, even a tiny spark, and a willingness to see what you can build together.

It doesn’t have to be this all-consuming sense that you’ve met the perfect person for you. Sometimes the greater your spark, the more likely that things won’t last in the long-term. The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and all that. Sometimes the person you were iffy about at first is the one you spend the rest of your life with. That  initial spark, whether big or small, overwhelming or underwhelming, isn’t going to be the thing that defines what your relationship can or will be.

You can build a real connection with someone you’re unsure about. Having a big spark early on is cool and all, but you’ll need more than that to last. Honesty, dedication, communication, and a whole lot of hard work is going to matter a lot more than an initial spark.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

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