How important is passion?

I went on a date last Saturday with a guy named Mark. He's handsome, driven, romantic, an Ivy League graduate, also an NFJ. He's a film maker and is obviously going places. I like the guy, and he has made it quite clear that he wants to see me again and I would like to see him again. The problem is he doesn't ignite that burning flame of passion and desire that I so richly enjoy. He feels more like a platonic friend but I'm open to the possibility that that flame could develop. My mind tells me that it needs work and kindling, but once ignited it will be a strong fire that will burn long and hot.

Three months ago I went on a date with this fellow named Jack. He's handsome, funny, intelligent, if I had to guess I'd say he's an NTJ. He's logical, somewhat aggressive and teaches kids with autism (all these qualities I find attractive). Jack most definitely ignites that flame of passion, however, this intimidates me. From my friends' experience I recognize that flames of passion and desire tend to burn the people they take hold of. The thing that scares me about Jack is that he's not looking for something deeper than getting together every few months for a date and a romp.

To put it simply, Jack lights my fire, baby. Michael does not. But Michael has my trust, even though I have no reason to give it to him. I don't distrust Joshua, but I have no reason to trust him. What do I do?

THIS IS PROBABLY GOING to sound controversial, if not dead-wrong, but I actually think passion ruins relationships. When people are friends, things are simple and straightforward. They aren't looking to get something from the other person. They related to the other as a whole person.

The process of developing passion is really a process of objectification in the sense that you convert the person into an object of sexual desire. Passion changes the way you see a person. You start seeing them more narrowly and less holistically. You project all your neurotic needs and wishes that are connected to that sexual desire and lose touch with who they actually are, and often lose touch with who you are as you become more driven to possess and acquire something (the object).

So while passion definitely has its purpose of bringing two people together, I don't think it works as something that keeps people together and feeling close. All these seminars and workshops about reigniting passion, in my opinion, are completely misguided because a good relationship doesn't require intense passion. Occasional playful pouncing maybe, but burning desire, no. Yet we've all been trained to put a high premium on passion from stupid gurus with big mouths.

Onto your situation. If you just want something intense and chaotic, go with the passionate relationship. If you want a shot at something more fulfilling, for with the platonic relationship. But don't wait for it to turn passionate, but (a) your expectations will make you judge the situation and (b) as I've tried to explain, it's not necessary or worth it. Just see where the friendship takes you. The feelings that come up will help guide you. You don't have to plan it out. If it works, great. If not, back to the drawing board.

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