The Two Main Kinds of Relationships & How to Know If Yours Will Last

Posted by on August 14, 2018 in Conscious Living, Relationships & Sex with 7 Comments

couple in fire love

By Jordan Gray | Jordan Gray Consulting

I recently had a new client ask me the following question…

“So, I recently met this woman. She’s amazing. She’s everything I could have ever hoped for… and yet, I’ve never been so stressed out in my entire life. I find myself analyzing every little move that she makes. Interpreting every text message. Reading into her body language. The smallest things that she does can trigger me or make me fall even deeper in love. We’ve known each other for less than a week and I feel like I’m already fully in love with her. Is this healthy? Is it even possible to be truly in love with someone that quickly? Is there a blind spot here that I’m not seeing?”

I had good news and bad news for my client.

Yes, it’s possible to fall in a version of love with someone in a short amount of time. But more often than not, when we feel head over heels in love with someone shortly after meeting them, it tends to be a bad sign.

Related Article: 10 Warning Signs Of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship (And How to Change the Dynamic)

“When you meet someone and feel like it’s love at first sight, run in the other direction. All that’s happened is that your dysfunction has meshed with their dysfunction. Your wounded inner child has recognized their wounded inner child, both hoping to be healed by the same fire that burned them. In fairy tales, love strikes like lightning. In real life, lightning burns. It can even kill you.”Neil Strauss

We can fall into infatuation very quickly, but real, deep, genuine, lasting love takes some time to develop.

There’s an analogy that I often use when it comes to the two distinct ways that love develops in new relationships (that will help you to know whether you should stick it out or you should run).

Introducing, my ‘kindling vs. coal’ theory.

Kindling vs. Coal – The Two Ways That Love Develops

kindling vs. coal, barbecue coal, coal, kindling, love, companionate love, passionate love


If something like love seems to develop overnight (or in a single moment, i.e. love at first sight) then this is often a sign that our unconscious emotional wounds have been triggered and we recognize our mutual/shared dysfunction in the other person. While these relationships can be deeply healing, for a time, they’re often short lived relationships that serve as a catalyst for our emotional growth and development.

These quick burn relationships are the ‘kindling’ relationships. They light ablaze quickly, and then burn off into short-lived ashes in a metaphorical matter of minutes.

Related Article: Here Are the 3 Essential Keys For a Happy Relationship


The other way that love develops is more akin to how barbecue coals gain heat over time. They take longer to reach a burning point, but once the heat has been cultivated they have a much more resilient staying power and throw off heat for a much longer period of time.

In the book The Happiness Hypothesis, author Jonathan Haidt talks about this phenomenon in what he labels passionate love vs. companionate love (passionate love being kindling, companionate love being coal). One is a quick, flash-in-the-pan relationship that quickly peaks and plummets, while the other gradually gains momentum over the course of years/decades.

In fact, this phenomenon was charted over the course of sixty years (through real, scientific data!). Check out this simplified graph of what the passionate love looks like in comparison to companionate love.


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7 Reader Comments

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  1.' Osvaldo Estrada says:

    Your fire will die out.

  2.' Elizabeth McCormick says:

    ooohhh yesss. Coal alllllll the way, babeh. *old lady lizzie wisdom*

  3.' Arctic Fox says:

    My relationship is ash; we are SO done.

  4.' Agnes Tan says:

    The way he “propose” on “purpose” that i hv never heard before. I sensed forevermore. So i decided to learn to love him from then on.

  5.' Christine Yuhouse says:

    very interesting read

  6.' Karen Gray says:

    Coal yes, compassionately exhilarating.

  7.' Xanthia Fulsebakke says:

    There is more then 2 types of relationships this is shit… This guy has a $10 diploma as a life coach and he is giving advice about relationships based on old science,,, hahaha it was very funny to read at some points

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