The Truth About The Spark

Image of a sparkler against a blue bokeh background representing the truth about the spark in a relationship.What is it about rejection that makes it feel so devastating?

If we were at the level of emotional health where we want to be, when someone doesn't want to be with us, it would be the end of it.

But since we’re not there, since we all have our own emotional triggers, for most of us it’s not only not the end, it’s just the beginning.

It’s a behavior for us that tends to trigger our deepest fears, our deepest insecurities, our deepest feelings of unworthiness and worthlessness.

Why else would we try so hard to get him back, why else would we subject ourselves to our own worst behaviors as we beat ourselves up, punish ourselves, berate ourselves, mistreat ourselves, for what is, for all intents and purposes, simply being human?

Instead of recognizing it as two people who are on different pages, instead of seeing it for this reality.

Instead of seeing this in the light of true emotional health where we recognize that this isn't about us, it’s not to be taken personally, that we don’t ever want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with us and it would end any of the emotional drama there, we see it quite the opposite.

The opposite is also why we do what we do.

If we were emotionally there, we would see someone like the guy in the last post and we would see what we have with him for what it is – a relationship that is everything we really want in a relationship if we're truly looking for someone to love us, to commit to us, to spend the rest of our lives together with.

But we don’t see it like this and we refuse it because of that same lack of emotional health that has us holding out for that almighty spark which isn't really true love at all. In most cases it’s based on a feeling, a trigger, a very personal emotional feeling that feels so powerful, so all-encompassing because it’s based on our own emotional baggage that triggers us in such personal ways.

Many times what we call a spark is not really a spark at all, but it’s the feeling elicited in us by being with someone who reminds us of our earliest relationships with a father or mother or other caregiver who couldn't love us the way we wanted to be loved.

It’s the familiar feeling of someone who gives us another chance to prove our worth to them, to show them just how lovable and worthy we are, to change our history by making this person want to be with us, to love us, even as he isn't capable of this in the first place. Often that’s why we’re so drawn to his type of “spark”.

And that's also why when we’re with someone who we don’t have to make love us, who we don’t have to do anything to or prove anything to, we feel bored or uninterested and don’t believe this can be that love of our lives that we’re looking for because it’s too easy.

The irony is it’s not too easy – that’s the way true love should feel like!

But we don’t recognize it because we've never known this kind of real love. It doesn't feel like the love of our unhealthy childhoods, and, as further confirmation, it doesn't resemble the kind of love we’re so programmed to believe is true love from the fairy tales, the movies, the television shows, the romantic novels we've all been brought up with in our culture to believe are the real thing, when all they really are is representative of our dysfunctional culture that keeps perpetuating these beliefs to ever successive generations.

It’s not your fault. It's a result of our culture, of the media, of our families, of people everywhere who continue to perpetuate the idea of love like this so that we miss, over and over again, what real love is by refusing to settle for anything less than that elusive spark.

Only you know what that looks like for you, but if everything else is there except this feeling that something’s missing because there isn't a type of fireworks that you've come to equate with being in love, ask yourself what happened in those past relationships. Take a look at how they turned out.

Can you recognize these sparks as real love in action, and not the high intensity level of a roller coaster ride filled with the highs of feeling like you've gotten him to fall for you that trigger your deepest childhood needs being fulfilled, versus the accompanying lows of him pulling away because it’s all too much for him, and you’re triggered again because of those deep abandonment fears surfacing again?

Only you know for sure, but what I’m saying is to be aware of what most of this push and pull relationship cycle is really all about. Only you know if this is about him, or about you, and most of us don’t even realize this is what’s going on under the surface.

It takes a shift in our thinking, in our being, in our feeling. It takes a new level of awareness that flies in the face of our strong belief systems and programming.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself fighting it or questioning it.

Most of us need some help to break free of this trap we've bought into for so long to that keeps us from being loved and being with someone who’s truly capable of giving us what we so deserve.

But it doesn't have to be this way unless you want it to. You don’t have to keep living in this subconscious cycle that you don’t quite understand.

It’s not you. It’s not personal.

But the choice you make to change this is always left up to you.

About Jane


  1. It sounds like you know me personally I think it's brilliant I would love to know how to finally break the cycles.

    • I'm so glad this resonated with you, Belinda. It's a process, a journey of breaking this cycle, that begins with exactly this; recognizing it for what it is, and being willing to look beyond the surface to the "why" that is unique to you. It takes being open to a different "type" than you might have thought you were interested in before and being willing to let go of those strong beliefs you may hold on what is your "type" so that you can experience a real love, a real type of relationship with someone who's emotionally and physically available to you and capable of giving you what you so deserve.

      So much easier said than done, I know because I went through this same process, too, but so worth it in the end when you realize the difference between what you were settling for, and what you can have. The "how to" is what the e-course I've just introduced goes into in detail on exactly this subject; how to finally break this cycle. You're not alone, Belinda, and this is such a huge step that you're able to see it for what it is. That's how the real change begins!

  2. Marianne says:

    Wow did this hit me! I needed to read this! I've been wondering why I can't leave this guy who has been stringing me along for months. Now I see it so clearly. Thank you for your insight! A hundred times!

  3. Mitch Lester says:

    I read your posts, even though I am a man not a woman. I read them because they give me insight into both my own attachment issues and my current dating relationship. I am 61 but never had a truly fulfilling quality love relationship until I started dating a woman about 8 months ago. The problem was that I became totally infatuated with her very quickly but she is one to take her time to get to know me before she can know how she truly feels. The intensity of my emotions has been a problem and has put her off a bit, but fortunately she finds me interesting and attractive enough that she still wants to see me, she just can't quite get her head around why I feel so anxious and as she says "walk on eggshells" around her. Your comments about what these kinds of feelings are really about, that maybe they are about issues surrounding our parents rings true. I think that may be one aspect of several that makes me behave that way. In my case though, she has assured me that it is not that she doesn't want to be with me, just that she isn't sure yet because it takes her a long time to get to know me before she can decide. Still it feels like we are on different pages emotionally and that triggers the emotional roller coaster like you talked about. Reading your posts helps me to gain insight into what is the most profound love relationship I have yet known in my life. Thank you so very much, Jane. By the way, her name is Jane too.

    • I'm thrilled that these topics are helping you sort this out from the other side, Mitch. We all need as much help as we can navigating through our relationships that are as much about the little girls and little boys still very much alive inside us as the adults we are now. These things can be hard to hear, or they can provide us with some real insight into our subconscious patterns that go on behind the scenes of our actions and our feelings and the way we relate to the people we find ourselves so drawn to.

      Know that there's a reason you find yourself attracted to who you do, and it's the same for her. It's seeing through these to the reality of what's really there and how compatible - and on the same page - the two of you are, that will eventually reveal whether this is really about her, or about you. And then you can have the clarity to know whether it's the real thing, or a stepping stone along the way.

      And how interesting her name is Jane, too :)

  4. Stephanie says:

    This really hit home for me. I was dealing with an old flame from many years ago. The 'spark' was there for me and i really wanted a relationship with him. After being strung along for months, he decided that he's not ready, not sure what he wants, is not where I am right now, etc.... I reluctantly decided to move on as I realized through all of this that I forgot what I want. I met a nice man recently (my very first online date). He is the epitomy of everything I want. No games, honesty, respect and he very much wants a relationship. We spend hours at a time on the phone and have quite a bit in common. I've been hesitant because I didn't feel the 'spark', but after reading this article, I get it! We're having another date tonight and I'm really interested in seeing how things progress. Thanks so much for the insight.

    • How you've inspired me, Stephanie, to hear that you've got this! Because it's not about saying no to the spark if it's there, but it's about recognizing when the spark is only hurting you, causing you to lose sight of what you want - and so deserve! - when you equate that spark with true love and don't give anything - or anyone else a chance that doesn't compare to that level of intensity.

      Whether it's this new guy or someone else, enjoy the journey - the adventure! - of seeing what's there, what may develop, of the possibilities that open up to you when you let go of being driven by something that has nothing to do with all the trying, the convincing, the walking on eggshells because you want something so badly from a past version of you, but everything to do with what you want now in the present and what real love truly is!

  5. In this article, and the one before, you downplay the importance of chemistry and the spark, and seem to reduce the whole thing to just finding a friend to commit to. You imply that true love doesn't involve the butterflies or sweaty palms.

    But then i clicked the link in your article about the best kind of love, where you say
    "It may be since I’ll be celebrating 10 years of marriage this year, so I can really relate to what the author is saying, but I can also still so vividly remember the early days of bluer skies and sunnier sunshine. I still cherish the memories of those days, with all of the excitement, anticipation, and sparks.

    It’s true that as we move down the path of life with our partner, the love does change. It no longer includes the butterflies in the stomach before I see him, nor does it include the excitement of the long, sensual kiss in the doorway."

    You see, even though it changes as the relationship and love deepen and grow over time, your relationship STARTED with that spark!! You admit right there your relationship started with the butterflies in the stomach. Yet here you are telling everyone that sparks have nothing to do with it, that it doesnt have the excitement and the butterflies and the bluer hues. I agree, the spark is not everything. There is a lot more to it than just a spark, and if you ignore all else you will often jump into a series of terrible relationships. But it takes more than just friendly compatability to start true love. It takes some sort of chemistry. The spark is not the fire, but the you can't start a fire without a spark.

    • I think that you may be defining "spark" as equivalent to "attraction", Sky. I agree that attraction and sexual chemistry is needed in a romantic relationship, however I don't think that attraction is necessarily tied to that initial feeling of "spark" when you first meet, or very early on.

      The woman in our story from Monday says that they enjoy great sex together, which tell me that they have at least some level of sexual chemistry and that she must be somewhat sexually attracted to him – in fact, she claims that he keeps her very satisfied in the bedroom, so she must have a fairly high level of sexual attraction for him. She just feels like she missed out on those initial butterflies that she never felt, which is the point I'm speaking to here.

      Just as an example, and to illustrate this point, let's just say that she's 30 years old, and if she married him they would be happily married for at least 50 years or more. Let's also say that if she did feel those butterflies, that spark, in the beginning, it would have lasted six months before fading.

      What this means is that she's giving up at least 49-1/2 years of a life filled with beautiful love and a true partner to go through all of life's ups and downs with, to share special times with, possibly start a family with and build a life together, all because she feels like she missed out on six months of butterflies.

      The other point that I really want to make here is that so many of us will reject an otherwise great guy after a date or two because we're not yet "feeling it". We think we know what "our type" is (and often reject a guy at first sight because we don't think he's our type), but often that means we miss out on some guys that might have become very attractive to us if we had only given them the chance to show us what they've got inside.

      Attraction can hide in the strangest of places.

      It reminds me of a part in the book Marry Him by Lori Gottlieb where she almost bypasses a guy because he's wearing a bow-tie in his online profile photo, but she finally decides to give him a chance, albeit with low expectations.

      Once she goes out with him and meets him in person she thinks he's actually pretty cute, and a few weeks later she starts really falling for him.

      When she finds out that he wears the bow ties as a tribute to the love he had for his bow-tie wearing grandfather, she really starts to fall for his sensitive side, and before you know it she's very attracted to him.

      This is exactly how it happens all so often.

      The point is that, while it's not necessarily a bad thing to feel the spark right away, it doesn't equate to true, lasting love down the road. In fact, it can often lead us into a relationship that's very bad for us if we find ourselves naturally attracted to men that are bad for us. All too many of us feel that "spark" for the bad boy that just winds up treating us terribly and breaking our hearts.

      When I met my husband for the first time, I thought he was attractive. I enjoyed our conversation and I was glad that he asked my for my phone number. But if he had never called me, while I would have been disappointed, I would have gotten over it fairly quickly.

      I would not say that I was absolutely "ga-ga" over him when we first started dating. Over time, as we dated, and I realized that he was nearly everything I was looking for in a guy, my attraction for him grew, along with the excitement of seeing him. But the entire time we were dating I was using my head as well as my heart. I knew what I wanted in a guy, I knew how I wanted to be treated, I knew what I wanted in life, and I knew what I wanted in a relationship. He met all of these – and that's what made my skies bluer.

      I realized by then, after many, many heartbreaks, that an initial feeling of chemistry and sparks really didn't mean anything except that one small piece of the puzzle was there. Yes, it's an important piece of the puzzle, but it's just one piece. There are many other very important pieces of the puzzle that need to be there, and often we don't notice that those other important pieces are missing because we're so enamored by the attraction piece.

      Whether you find that piece of the puzzle when you first meet or after dating for a while doesn't matter. Yes, I agree that it needs to be there, but if you don't see it right away, take some time and really try to find it – a lifetime of true love is well worth spending a few weeks or even months trying to see if it might be hidden beneath the surface.

      • I love this, thank you. This is pure truth. I will try to apply this in all my encounters with new men from now on. I would love to hear your lectures but honestly for a poor spanish employee I can´t afford it ..I have a feeling though, and I hope so, that you advice us to what you just did, use our heads and not let the hormones in the spark overtake the situations. That and to be true to our selves and not get lost in someone else to that point that we forget our self and what WE want and prioritise in a relationship. ( If we get lost and start a relationship with someone on false basis it won't last very long obviously..once we wake up from the hormon shot the reality will hit us and we will not want it anymore since it was never for us. ) And how to attract the right man...just be you, just be us, live your life joyful without stressing about finding someone and you will attract all kind of beautiful persons! I hope these are some of the advices you give to us...:-) For me, I am still struggling even though I see things clear and know how to face next step and men...the spark still hurts even though I understand it is just chemistry and sparks and not love..but the burden is easier with that knowledge at least! I have also realised that I was being emotionally manipulated and I would like to warn other women from doing the same mistake. The spark was so strong in my case that I didn't just lost my self but also got hook by someone closest described as a sociopath, and how can I win that run? This article is not bad, One of the advices they give is to write down what he sais to be able to see how it changes and he twists..I didn't have to do that since the majority of our conversations are already written on Skype. I could make a very pretty zig zag pattern out of that if I didn't had anything better to do..when the truth change from day to day they are in the end just a bunch of lies. It is normal that a person change, but not to that extent from day to day or to change your statements and twist and turn so you get dissy... And if you are stock in the emotional roller coaster it is not just a headache but a nightmare. It still is for me, but just a hangover...and for every day without contact with this man makes the drug slowly, oh so slowly, go out of the blood. And like a true addict to any toxic substans, I will never ever be able to have another sip of him. Until I don't want it anymore I will not see him. This fight for my liberty will I do in combination with living according to how you have advised us in this it. Thanks again!

        • I'm so glad this resonated with you, Alva. You've put this so beautifully into your own words, in a way that shows you're really seeing this, you're getting the distinction I'm making here and what it means to you. And yes, this is exactly the mindset, the "how to" practical part of finding the love we all deserve that I go into in greater detail in my e-course. You are so right about it being like a drug, Alva; when our subconscious needs can run so deep and unrecognized within us, we can become addicted to someone in a way that we would have never believed possible if we didn't experience if for ourselves. Don't give up; you are so worth this fight!

      • Wow thanks for the great reply! I agree that its dangerous to chase only the spark. I used to chase after anyone who gave me that feeling. Now I tend to pay attention to pay much more attention to whether they would be a good fit (which they actually usually sparks seemed to happen most with people who are somehow unavailable or uninterested) and once i use my head and realize they aren't what i really want, the sparks fizzle out real quick. Maybe thats why I never get that feeling with anyone anymore. It's been years. Oh well. Maybe one day, with the right person, it will happen again. I'm starting to find lately though, that at this point, im surprisingly happy and complete on my own and maybe I'm growing past the need for somebody else in my life.

        • I'm so glad this helped clarify what I'm saying here, Sky. It's no coincidence that your "sparks seemed to happen most with people who are somehow unavailable or uninterested". This is exactly my point. And as you say, one day, with someone who you decide is worth getting to know better, you can do the choosing and decide what you want in your life. But in the meantime, being happy and complete on your own is the best way I know of to truly live your life!

  6. Hi Jane,
    You hit the nail on the head with this one for me. Everything you wrote is me all the way. Im always attracted to the ones who start of being attracted to me and then they pull back leaving me a tad bit confuse. The one thing I don't do is chase physically, but mentally in my mind I do. The thing about not change chasing is that I am left with the residue of being rejected and hurt while trying to figure out what happened. However, I realize that it's not me but the person and their issues. It's like they like to start things but hate to finish it. I also believe that some men get a kick out of leaving a women hanging because it gives them the opportunity to come back and either add more chapters to the story while leaving you hanging again or close the book and move on. However, it still does not ease the pain. That's because it's something on the inside of me that sets off alarms when abandonment and rejection happens. It triggers the old wounds that were already there--the ones that you think were gone forever. My mother used to tell a long time ago that you should never play with people's feels because people will kill you for their feelings. Why some men do this to women, I cannot even begin to tell you, but I know one thing, I am asking God for full deliverance of any old wounds that have not been healed. Wounds can go as far back as childhood rejection which was my case. As you grow and without realizing it, you tend to attract those individuals who have been rejected themselves, hence setting a cycle of unhealthy relationships. I must say though that as I've gotten old, the pain has lessen but nevertheless the twang of rejection and abandonment is a thorn in the side for me. However, I do believe that I am getting better in dealing with it. I anticipate on meeting someone that is healthy and whole who will love me in spite of me. Someone who will not play with my feelings nor pull away because of fear, but rather take his place as the man he is and talk to me about his feelings. Too many times, women give men too many hall passes for bad behavior. Now when a man pulls back from me or demonstrates that he is just not that into me, I help him out even further by walking away. No phone calls, texts or anything. Meanwhile, I take the broken fragments of m heart to God and ask Him to mend it back together. Hurt is inevitable, but the damage can be minimize when we learn to let go and let God. It will be worth it in the end when you meet the right one.
    Jane thanks for your beautiful article.

    • You're so welcome, Wynne; I'm so glad this resonated with you like it did. I understand exactly what you're saying here, because whether you chase them in the physical sense, or it's only in your mind, the results - and what it does to your sensitive, beautiful heart and soul - is the same.

      No matter what heartache you've been through, know that you're so not alone and as you say, it's in letting go and finding your healing through whatever means you find heals you, that you find your peace, your sense of yourself that knows who you are and what you truly deserve.

      He's out there, Wynne; and not just someone who will love you "in spite of" you being you, but because of you being you!

  7. Jackie Morrison says:

    The spark is a chemical reaction and not all sparks become a fail. Compatibility is distinct from chemical and more likely to cause an enduring flame. Fires rise from a smoldering of embers after all.

  8. Yes
    "It takes a shift in our thinking, in our being, in our feeling. It takes a new level of awareness that flies in the face of our strong belief systems and programming.
    Don’t be surprised if you find yourself fighting it or questioning it."

    This piece i can relate to! It's true and I know that it starts within.
    But it is in our thinking too, for me it is.
    I only can say that it takes a lot of talking with yourself and thinking. So you can
    Break the way you used to think.

    I was just eating with my BFF and we were talking about man and love .
    She is in love and fill with spark , I think because of the good sex and attention.
    Now I was shocked that I asked her what are you looking for in a relationship .
    And she asked me the same.
    Now there were times that I would think like her.... The spark and good attention was all I needed.
    But I was surprised that I didn't think like her anymore, we even got into a discussion
    About "healthy relationships "...
    It was difficult for me, to say the truth. That I was very looking if the person emotionally was available.

    So I was feeling a little bit awkward . But thought "no" I want a healthy relationship
    With a man in the future. I should not feel ashamed of this. That I don't want to chase men for sex or "approval".
    Even if it means a while non sex.

    I believe the words you said in the article, it feels the right way to love and create a
    Peaceful life !

    Bless you

    • I'm so glad these words resonated with you, Maris. It is a shift in our thinking, and it is exactly as you say that it is a very conscious process of changing these past ways of thinking that haven't served us well. Don't ever feel ashamed of wanting the real thing; it's only because so many have not yet discovered this for themselves that it seems so awkward! Instead, be so proud of yourself for getting this, for seeing what really matters even if you're the only one; this is your life and your relationships and you deserve nothing less than someone who's emotionally available in the truest sense of what that means to you!

  9. I LOVED this article, Jane!
    I think it rings so true, I even shared it with a few of my clients who are struggling with relationships and break ups. In our society we place so much emphasis on "the spark", but yet so many of those relationships end, and end badly. Personally, I've had to release my idea of what a relationship "should" be like. I'm so glad you are clarifying what TRUE love really is :)

    Alexis Meads

    • I so hear you, Alexis; haven't we all had to release so much of the "shoulds" where our relationships are concerned! I'm thrilled this resonated so much with you and you were able to pass it on to others. Thank you! :)

I'd love to hear from you. Let me know what you think!