The 3 pillars of a successful romantic relationship

Tired of love stories that end in pudding water? Tired of being unable to see where the hurts hurt in your relationships? Tired of not knowing what to work on to make your couple an idyll?

Love mechanics are often simpler than we imagine. Must believe that we like to complicate our lives. A psychologist, Robert Sternberg, has attempted to theorize how successful love stories work.

The success of a romantic relationship rests, according to him, on three pillars:

  • passion
  • the commitment
  • intimacy

Without the combination of these three elements, your story goes “happily” to a wall.


“Passion is a positive obsession.
Obsession is a negative passion. “
Paul Carvel

We all know this strong desire for the other, this desire for carnal love, bodily fusion … in short, for s**x. I caricature, of course, the passion is not limited only to the many parts of legs in the air that we share with Doudou!

It is this hormonal surge that makes your heartbeat. It is this constant desire to be near the other. It is this impression that he is the most handsome, the most charismatic, the “top-best-awesome” man you have ever known.

It is surely of this passion that Beigbeder speaks when he trumpets “love lasts three years”.

Indeed, if it is very strong at the start of the relationship, passion tends to become poorer once the period of discovery of the other has passed. The habit. It is at this moment that the desire appears elsewhere, or even infidelity.

Passion is the most difficult element to keep.

It is up to us to learn how to spice up our s**x life to overcome this fatality of three years. Because when we love Doudou, we want to keep it longer!

NOTE: It often takes time after a breakup to be able to live a new passion. Indeed, this requires that the mourning for the first be done.

 There may be platonic passions. Yep, I’m talking about this good old OI.


“If there is time in life,
there is spiritual in commitment. “
Of Edwy Plenel

“If there is time in life, there is spiritual in commitment. “
Of Edwy Plenel

By engagement, we can tend to two types:
– material engagement: characterized by travel, living together, marriage or children’s projects.
– “spiritual” commitment: characterized by this implicit promise of EVERYTHING to cultivate the feelings of attachment of the other

We often see in material commitment a proof of spiritual commitment. And, we are often impatient for these first projects in pairs. However, how many couples separate by going too fast in material commitment? This mass of responsibilities, if it arrives too early, explodes the couple rather than solidifying them.

Engagement is built slowly in a couple. It becomes stronger and stronger in the relationship before stabilizing (and not falling again).

This moment when you trust your partner you already experience his promise of commitment. (even if he didn’t talk to you about marriage).

Some men are very careful about engagement. Like us, they were cradled in Fairy Tales. They know that if they are morally committed to a woman, they will do EVERYTHING to make her happy. And, they have the power!

But, great powers imply great responsibilities [A good point to him/her who finds me the author of the quote]. And taking on these big responsibilities is not the most exciting thing.

So let’s give them time.

The separation of couples, if it is not due to a loss of passion [ routine ] or a loss of intimacy, can be due to a lack of stabilization of the “spiritual” engagement. Going too fast, the only thing we won’t gain is … time.


“Privacy is fragile. “
Suzanne Jacob

“My boy is ALSO my best friend.”

This is how one could, briefly, define intimacy. It is this need for connection with the other. We understand each other, we know each other (and we both have a good laugh).

We find in privacy:

– PRIVATES JOKES: these jokes that we are the only ones who can understand and that we would be unable to explain to someone outside.
– ORIGINAL SURNAMES: that no other man can reuse.
– KNOWLEDGE of the OTHER: we guess Doudou. We know how he thinks, what he likes, what he is … and that may be better than his own mother.
– HABITS: those that we take in pairs. On Sunday it’s calzone pizza with salmon-film. Etc.

For Sternberg, intimacy follows passion and precedes commitment. Privacy evolves slowly. We often hear these couples who tell us that they have found each other after getting a little lost. It is the privacy that they are talking about.

This can drop to a relatively low level and be reactivated by a new event. In particular through one of the material commitment projects: travel, child, home, common professional project … Intimacy can, after reactivation, reach a higher level than in the last phase of a strong connection.

In this case, we are faced with a deep and undoubtedly lasting love.

NOTE: In breakups, more than passion, the mourning for intimacy is extremely long. Because we are trying to recover from the absence of a guy and a best friend. This is why, from stories to stories, we no longer deliver our intimacy so easily.

Other combinatorics

The perfect love balance is, therefore: INTIMACY + PASSION + COMMITMENT.

However, we are often confronted with other combinations.


Well, well, you have found a perfect co-worker or boss or TD partner. Or forced marriage. In short, we avoid.


It is desire. It is the OI if we are not with it. It’s an a*s if we see each other for great parts of legs in the air.

And why not?
Between two loves (in imbalance) that consoles many sorrows.


There, he is irreparably your best friend. We do not recommend going through friendship to seduce a man, because if the intimacy is too strong before any form of coitus, you may no longer be able to ignite the passion in the coveted guy.

In short, you become a bit like his sister.

[An article to come].


In this combination, there is something of the old couple. We have been together for 20 years and it is difficult to desire each other as on the first day. Perhaps we have made a few deviations from monogamy, but we love each other, that’s for sure.

If this combination arrives too early in your relationship, you MUST ABSOLUTELY restart the body machine. Especially, if infidelity is intolerable for you.

Because, desire does not ask permission to love, to express itself. He doesn’t care, the desire for your four years of relationship, your complicity, and your common projects. He will be reborn, but not for the beloved man. And, there, it’s not cool.


It is incipient love. We send each other into the air, and at each break, we laugh. Sternberg speaks of ROMANTICISM.

It’s a bit like that. It is this magical moment when we promise ourselves mountains and wonders. Where you spend hours complimenting each other. And we walk, perky, hand in hand, with a smile, denied on my face.

This period is (unfortunately?) Fleeting. Over time, it will break up to go towards a more constructed couple (with commitment) or towards a painful breakup.

So be careful not to get carried away too quickly, not to immediately seek a fragile material commitment. Take advantage, and allow time for the “spiritual” commitment to form.

“He who has confidence in the future
is in no hurry.”



Basically, you’re in OI on your guy. Sternberg talks about ADMIRATION.

You idealize the person you are with. Too easily you will be taken by the desire to be perfect for him. It will, therefore, be very difficult to express your TRUE personality that you could consider as failing [towards this perfect man].

From there, there is only one step to lose your self-confidence, to enter into a DOMINANT / DOMINATED relationship where you do not have a good role. Or, to crack one day, and to throw at him in the form of reproaches all that you have changed for him without reciprocity.

The difficulty is that we are as responsible as the other for the situation. It was our idealization [perhaps, due to a lack of underlying self-confidence] that allowed the establishment of this type of relationship.

A word of advice: run away from the men you admire if you are unable to establish intimacy.

And you, what is the pillar that posed/poses the most difficulty in your love life?

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