I’ve decided to keep up with the break from blogging about my health and once again take on the subject of relationships and love. Some people said some very nice things about the post I made about friendships and love, so as some of you enjoyed it so much I’m giving it another go. I don’t claim to be a relationship expert in any way, shape or form. So don’t take anything I say too seriously or to heart, I’m just a girl who likes voicing her opinions.
This time I want to tackle the topic of “The Spark.”
This has always been something that has fascinated me. Maybe because although I don’t really believe in it, I think the true romantic in me wishes I did. All us women and even some men out there have been brought up on literature and movies which ingrain in to you from a very early age that there is a thing in life and relationships called “The Spark”. It is sort of the relationship Holy Grail. People talk endlessly about finding it, dreaming up ways in which they will see someone across a crowded room and their love will be ignited by this “spark”. Or, even worse people use it as an excuse as to why their relationships didn’t work out. Honestly, “There’s no spark” has got to be worse than hearing “It’s not you it’s me.”
– We are all adults here, we all know that this is code for “It is you, you’re boring or unattractive*” *or insert any other reason you can think of for not continuing with a relationship.
Instead of just ‘manning up’ and saying “Look, I just don’t fancy you and I don’t see this going anywhere” someone, somewhere came up with this illusive “Spark”.
Instantly everyone around the world had an excuse to no longer commit to someone, or could break up with someone supposedly without hurting them and their get out clause was this. Apparently all you have to say is that “There’s just no spark” and all of your actions and behaviours are accepted. People no longer hold anything against you and you’re free to go on your merry way.
Now, I hope I don’t sound too cynical, but let’s be honest how many of you actually believe in this so-called “Spark?” Come on, raise your hands. And how many of you, even if you don’t really believe in it have used it as a way of getting out of a relationship or whatever you want to call it with someone. I bet more of you have raised your hand than you would like to admit.
Going to an all girls secondary school everyone talked about it. Everyone was RomCom mad and they dreamed about finding their perfect man and it all being perfect and it would be love at first sight.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a RomCom and a chick flick as much as the next girl, but really I think ironically Nicholas Sparks is to blame for most of us waiting for that thing. I never brought in to the idea myself, maybe it was because most of my friends were guys and even now many of my female friends tell me I think differently to them all. I’ve been told I have a “boy brain.” I’m not overly romantic, I like to indulge now and then but really I like realism over fantasy when it comes to relationship. I have always prided myself on being honest and upfront with my feelings and wants in them, even if it meant hurting the other person. I never meant to do it maliciously, I am of the mindset of “I’d rather be honest and them know the reason rather than give them a lie and then be even more hurt when they work out that isn’t really the reason.”
So, whenever I have been with a guy either casually or in a relationship when the time came to call it quits, that is what I would do. I wouldn’t sugar coat it or use this so-called Spark. I would be honest. “You annoy me” “We want different things” “I just don’t fancy you” “This is getting more serious than I wanted” . Now some of you are probably thinking that I am heartless, but even the guys were happy I had been honest. I hadn’t fobbed them off with some “female bullshit” as they would say.
Then one day, whilst enjoying a Chick Flick as I often do, I heard the line:
“Guys invented the “spark” so that they could not call, and treat you kind of bad, and keep you guessing, and they convince you that that anxiety and that fear that they’re throwing at you is actually, just a “spark”. And you guys all buy it. You eat it up. And you love it. You love it because you feed off that drama. You all love that drama”
Many of you have either seen the film too or even read the book. This famous line is said in “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
It made me laugh. Never before had it been summed up so honestly for me before. It was true, wasn’t it? It was like I said earlier, it’s a get out of jail free card, it excuses the bad behaviour and women eat it up. Yeah I’m generalising but it’s mostly true.
Pinning hopes on finding the Spark is what keeps people’s hopes alive. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but I think people need to be more honest with regards to it.
If you aren’t willing to let go of the idea of this Spark. If you need it to make you feel better either about why a relationship isn’t working or why you haven’t found “The One” yet. Then keep going, that is your prerogative. Who knows you might prove me wrong.
Some of you probably think “Well, if you didn’t feel the spark how do you know that Harry is the one?” – Well honestly, it’s because our relationship is based on so much more than this figurative reaction.
Yes I will admit that when I met Harry this feeling washed over me, but I would argue that it was chemistry. My brain released chemicals, but I didn’t see fireworks.
The chemistry between us is undeniable, everywhere, from the bedroom to us making each other laugh to when we argue. There is passion…
But I refuse to believe that this is what everyone means when they talk of “The Spark” – I am so fed up of typing that now – because this is what relationships should be like shouldn’t they? People think that once they find “It” there will never be problems in a relationship. You’ll meet, there’ll be literal electricity, and everything will be perfect, and if it isn’t than you’ve lost “It” That bloody “Spark”.
This is again where I start to lose my rag. People throw away perfectly good relationships because things got a little bit difficult for a bit and this bullshit theory let them just walk away without having to justify themselves.
I am going to use another friend of mine as an example here. Cos we like real life examples don’t we. It makes everything a lot more relatable.
Well, I had these friends, they were a couple, they had been together for 4 years, they were engaged, they’d bought a flat together, they really seemed to have their shit together. Then one day, I got a phone call from the female. For this story we shall call her Sarah.
Sarah called me in floods of tears, she wanted me to go round, she needed to talk to me. I got there and she told me that her and “David” were on a break. I was so shocked, not 2 days before Harry and I had been round their flat for dinner and Sarah had asked me to be her maid of honour and we were looking at wedding venues and the boys chatted the important bit – Stag Do. Sarah and I had booked a couple of venue tours and brochures. She seemed so excited. I quizzed her about what had happened and tried to console her. I had assumed that David was the one who had chosen to go on the break as he had gone agreed to move back to his parents for the time being and she was the one calling me in tears.
But no, there we were and she admitted that she was the one who had asked for the break. I couldn’t believe it, she was the one who had pushed for the engagement and for them to get their flat and for everything whereas David wanted to be a little more financially secure and all of those grown up things. But loving her like he did he gave her everything she wanted. So that is even more of a shock. She told me that she felt “the spark” had gone. I felt my whole body shudder as she said the words.
She sat there and said that “we never have any money anymore so we never go out and do anything, we just do the same thing all the time, work come home one of us cooks and then we watch a film or play on the Playstation. The only excitement is when friends come round.”
In all fairness I should have seen something like this coming when shortly after David proposed Sarah started going out a lot more at the weekends with people from work. People she had previously claimed to hate.
Again I tried to be supportive, but I said to her, “You knew it was going to be like that for a while, you wanted the mortgage now rather than a little but down the line when you had more money, so you got it, and you knew that meant there’d be no money left to really play with. This is real life Sarah. You can’t throw it all away because you don’t like real life anymore.” She kept trying to convince me that it wouldn’t matter, the spark had gone and she didn’t know if she could get it back, and that it could be the end of them.
So I did what friends do, and I said that I would support her through whatever she decided, but I asked her straight out “Is there anyone else?” “NO!” she insisted. Looking back in hindsight what is it they say about the Lady who “doth protest too much”?
So after the original week-long break when our friends all swarmed round her, trying to convince her that it was fine she was just freaking out now that she was engaged, as she was a few years younger than the rest of us. But she said no. She kept saying “The Spark has gone” That bloody spark was rearing its ugly head.
Anyway, 6 months after her break up it came out (although we had all known for a long time before because we caught her out) that she had been cheating on David with his friend and work colleague, who we shall call “Fuckboy” for the purpose of this story.
Sarah had started to cheat on David with Fuckboy nearly as soon as their mortgage came through and she decided to just go with it for a bit rather than pull out and risk losing anything, but then as soon as David proposed Fuckboy decided to tell her it wasn’t just sex and that he loved her too and he wanted to give it a go with her and promised her everything. Actually what I think he promised her was that she wouldn’t have to spend week nights in being an adult and dealing with her responsibilities. So she decided to pick the idea of something exciting over someone she claimed to love and had wanted to spend the rest of her life with. She claims to this day that she meant it when she said “Yes” and she did want to marry David, and says if the spark hadn’t gone after it happened they’d still be together, or that she found the spark with Fuckboy. She claimed that she never stopped loving David, but that she just had more fun with Fuckboy.
Well you can see where this is going… I let her have a good old dose of Emma truth.
The following quote basically sums it up perfectly.
Every relationship will get “boring” after you’ve been together for years, if you let it. Love isn’t a feeling, it’s a commitment; to love every day, physically and emotionally. It’s difficult, it’s not always laughs, smiles and fun. People tend to quit when it stops being fun, and they go look for someone else. “Oh the spark is gone.” No, that’s not how it works. You want somebody to never give up on you, and love you unconditionally? Do the same. Be the change. This isn’t Hollywood, this isn’t the movies. That shit isn’t real. Love someone when you don’t want to. When they are being a fucking asshole. When they’re being hard to love. That’s the realest shit there is.
We are at a stage in life where people just throw things away. We live in a culture where things are so readily available and cheap to us that if something breaks instead of fixing it we just throw it away and get a new one, and people seem to think that it is acceptable to o this is relationships and marriages. You can’t just throw people and things away because it gets a bit difficult. By doing this what you are effectively saying to someone is “I’ll love you until it gets a bit hard and then I can’t be bothered anymore”
Vows are “for better and for worse” this means that your love should be strong enough to withstand anything, if you really love someone. But people have an out. They can just say “The Spark” in our relationship has gone, so I just left. I couldn’t be bothered anymore.
This whole theory is so popular and so widely believed and stuffed down our throats that if you Google “The Spark” it will lead you to all kinds of sites and articles telling you “How to get the spark back in your relationship.” In fact I did Google it, and it gave me over 11 MILLION results. This is just a snap of the top of my search.
If that doesn’t highlight to you that people are using this completely fictitious idea to try to manipulate how you feel about your relationship than I don’t know what else will convince you of it.
People are constantly being made to think that their perfectly loving and functioning relationships are failing because they aren’t out there having the most exciting time all the time. You know what? Sometimes life is going to be boring. There’s going to be periods of time when all you do of an evening is clean up and eat dinner and watch the soaps, and there is nothing wrong with that. Don’t let these people tell you that because you aren’t out there doing romantic things all the time it means you and your partner don’t have the spark anymore. It can be boring but as long as you love the person unconditionally be boring together. Be content with it.
Because of my health Harry and I haven’t had a holiday or a beak away for ever. We can’t afford it, we can’t afford to blow money every weekend and really my health doesn’t allow it most of the time, but we love each other, so those nights eating dinner together and just spending time together is still perfect to us.
I am not saying here that people don’t fall out of love, they do, it happens and that is ok, that is something completely different to “losing the spark.” People claim more and more these days that they still loved the person, but that they had just become bored. Boredom is not a reason to quit. People need to learn that you are not alone, most couples out there if you ask will agree that the excitement of a new relationship, those first few months or even years slowly fade away. It is after these months or years that you really find out what your relationship is made of. Was it a “fantasy bond”, or as it true love?
Had you mistaken sincere feelings of love, respect, and attraction with imaginings of security, connectedness and protection? Whilst these are all positive attributes to look for in a partner and relationship they are not what you need for a relationship to work and these are the people who claim to lose “the spark”
Fantasy bond is a comprehensive psychological theory developed by Robert Firestone. Sadly it’s not something that I had just come up with. Robert Firestone describes ‘Fantasy Bond’ as “a way of relating that serves as a substitute for a truly loving relationship. This illusion of connection and closeness allows [a couple] to maintain an imagination of love and loving, while preserving emotional distance.”
Anyway, this could keep going, but what I’m really trying to say is, it’s about time people started being honest and working hard at their relationships. It’s time to stop giving this “Spark” so much control over our lives and our relationships.
If you love someone, just love them. Completely and unconditionally.
If it gets hard, work at it because if they are the person you could see yourself with forever when it was good, they are still that person when it’s tough, you’re just being lazy.
Stop allowing strangers and writers and film makers from making you feel that your relationship isn’t good enough because you didn’t have this big explosion of feelings when you met but over time you realised they were everything you want and more than you knew you needed.
Stop treating people badly and thinking it’s ok because you can use “The Spark” as an excuse.
If you are lazy in relationships and you aren’t going to love someone correctly or with every ounce of your being, even at the times when you don’t like them very much or the idea of another night at home with them watching EastEnders makes your soul die a bit then set them free but be honest about it. Don’t hide behind this idea of something. Own up to it. Admit to them that really they deserve better than you and move on. Do us all a favour, and leave “The Spark” where it belongs, in Chick Flicks and Chick Lit, and start being real.