Over this past month, I have coached two friends through (inevitable) breakups.
Oddly enough, both of them were caught in the exact same situation on opposite coasts.
Both women lived with their significant others and had been dating for approximately the same amount of time. They each described a lack of “sparkle” and not enough of an intellectual connection with their partners which if present, would certainly be the key and "fix-all" to refueling their desire. If only.
Instead, they characterized their men as "secure” and being “good life partners” – but something was clearly missing. It wasn't enough. And they didn’t know what exactly that “something” was.
The best way I could conceptualize this missing piece was in thinking about a stovetop.
Roll with me here.
Typically, you have four burners. On the stovetop in my apartment, three are small and one is large.
The more I pondered the stovetop, it came to me that you really can “make it work” with the three smaller burners. However, despite the fact that they can perform the same task and succeed in cooking your meal – it is also done at a much slower rate. Therefore, it doesn’t provide you with that same zest and boiling (a.k.a passion) of the “big burner” flame.
So I told them that. That they had perfectly good stovetops which could undoubtedly get the job done (meaning "do life") – but like moths to a flame we all come to find ourselves curious and drawn to the allure of the “big flame.”
The potency of the “big flame” is also appealing in that it can likewise do the work of the three smaller burners combined. Therefore, it is not alarming to assume that one “big burner” and its larger flame can keep and sustain a relationship just as well as the three other ones.
But alas, not having the “big burner” ever turned on, is equivalent to poking the same bruise over and over. Each time to go to your stovetop to prepare a meal, you are reminded that the "big burner" doesn’t work – and you must settle for using one of the smaller ones. This automatically leads to more preparation time, more time to wonder, and more time spent at the stovetop rather than in the bedroom.
“It’s not a big deal, it still works” most tell themselves. At least until that bruise you’ve kept poking by ignoring the "big burner" gets bigger and bigger – to the point where you’d much rather risk the volatility of a robust flame in order to free yourself from the safe, stable, and secure cooking abilities of the three smaller burners.
You wonder what you could make with a flame as powerful as can be. Could you make last minute trips to Paris, a late night out during the work week, or a conversation that drives you both to tears?
Do we need the "big burner"? Certainly not. Many people do fine without it and in fact, prefer diverting from the risk and unknown altogether. However, some do tend to drift off and fantasize – like my two friends – what the "big burner" is truly capable of.