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Are you an Endurance or a Max Lover? Hitting Relationship PRs

“I love like I lift,” the basic sentence that sums up my reflection on all my failed relationships.

I only have one level of intensity – max.  I love getting amped up and focussed in to lift the heaviest weight possible in one single repetition; and I’m thrilled to attempt to snatch the heart of my chosen swolemate with power levels just as potent.

I avoid endurance training and I suck at making a relationship stand the test of time.

After 27 years (including many missed attempts at relationships), I’ve reflected on who I am as a lover and a lifter and I had this revelation:

The best way to measure love is with both intensity and endurance.  Some of us are great at the first (Max Lovers, like me), and others the latter (Endurance Lovers).  Since real love must have a balance between intensity and endurance, (whether we like it or not as a training regime) we need to be more like CrossFitters when it comes to our relationships.  We need to be able to deliver max intensity but also demonstrate stamina.  We crave fiery excitement, but we have to know how to sustain it. 

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You might be a max lover if…
  • Your relationships start off with a bang.  You’re all in.  You’re crazy about this person and you’re pretty sure he or she is the one.
  • You’ve planned your life with them after the first date.
  • You’re ready and excited to define the relationship very early.
  • You have so much love to give and you shower it upon your object of affection in all forms: the most thoughtful gifts and compliments, all of the PDA, cooking for them – you name it.
  • You want to spend every minute possible with (or talking to) that person.
  • You openly share the details of your life.
  • You can scroll through your texts with your lover and be embarrassed about the one-sidedness of the conversation.
  • Your relationships probably end a) with the other saying something like, “You deserve the world, I’m just not sure I’m the right person to give it to you.”  b) they start with a bang and fizzle out equally as fast and leave both of you wondering where all the love went.
  • You obsess over making your relationship the best relationship ever.
You come on strong.  You’re intense.  It’s not a bad thing.  It’s just who you are.  You, like me, are a max lover.  Your forte is high intensity love but you absolutely crumble when it comes to relationship stamina.
There’s another type though, and I think the differences between these two types is what leads to many of our relationship problems.
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You might be an endurance lover if…
  • You show your significant other exactly what to expect right off the bat – who you are now is probably who you’ll still be in 10 years.
  • You’re able to think about your new mate both logically and emotionally.  You think about how she or he might fit into your life vs how you might adapt your life to fit them.
  • You don’t really care if the relationship is defined.  You’re not going anywhere, and you’re obviously into the other person, so what does it matter?
  • You show you appreciate that person in a couple small ways: whether it’s stopping what you’re doing to have a quick phone call, preparing a snack for that person, or complimenting them on how they look today.
  • Your life doesn’t stop when you meet someone you like.
  • You slowly share parts of your story with the other person.
  • You have trouble keeping up to the messages of your lover, and sometimes feel guilty because you end up skimming them.
  • Your relationships end either a) because the other person feels neglected not noticing your small acts, expecting something more intense b) you’ve kept doing simple nice acts for each other but you’ve developed new interests and can no longer relate to each other.  c) You’ve become like roommates.  You think that isn’t right and leave, or you’re drawn away by something or someone more intense and flashy.
  • You don’t spend much time thinking about improving the relationship; you go with the flow and enjoy it for what it is, and you think it really is great already!
This person is strong and steady, like a long-distance runner.  They can keep moving for a very long time with just a couple gel packs or whatever those athletes do, but if you asked them to max out a lift it wouldn’t be very heavy.  Their strong suit is stamina, not intensity.
Neither of these ways to love is better than the other; they’re just different, but real relationships need to be more CrossFitty – they need to involve fun and intensity, and they also need to stand the test of time.  
If we keep practicing only our strengths it can lead to problems and failed relationships, so:
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Advice for Max Lovers:
  • Phone a friend.  Your partner doesn’t need you constantly gushing about how amazing he or she is.  Find one of your trusted friends who is also a Max Lover, and indulge in detailed accounts of your love with them.  Your pal will lap up your love story, and you’ll feel a little less crazy when you know they think exactly like you.
  • Keep your partner coming back for more.  You don’t need to share a top ten list of reasons you like them.  No need for a present every time you see him.  The first time you snapchat strip you don’t need to take all your clothes off.  You can brush your hand across her bod in public instead of making out.  One or two thoughtful acts a day is more than enough.  Share your top-ten lists with your Max Lover friend.  If you pour it on too strong, you might push that person away.  It doesn’t mean being less of yourself; it just means learning and evolving and spreading your energy out.
  • Show love to other people too.  You’re like a wizard of love.  The world really does need more people like you.  But guess what?  Other people, besides your partner, also need attention.  Identify the other max-lovers in your life and buy them presents, make them dinner, or write a Facebook post about how incredible they are.  These people are probably sitting there with half-broken hearts and feelings of neglect because they’re pouring their love out and feel they aren’t getting it back.  THESE are the people who will give you that intense response you want when you give it out.
  • Notice the little things.  Maybe he didn’t make you a five course meal with candlelight (like you would have, obviously), but he asked you if you wanted something to eat, and brought it to you when he wasn’t even getting anything for himself.  Maybe she worked with you in the yard all day when she hates manual labour.  Just because what they do for you isn’t over-the-top doesn’t mean their feelings for you aren’t stronger than anything they’ve ever felt before; they just don’t show appreciation or affection as intensely as you.
  • Max out the other areas of your life – you’re like an Energizer Bunny and people envy you for it.  Invest some of your endless energy into your work, training, or another hobby instead of laser-focussing it on your lover.  I set goals in 4 areas of my life: physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental, and I make sure I’m taking small steps towards each every day.  The emotional area is the only one where I’m allowed to have a relational goal (and I make sure I include my friends and family, too).  My physical goal is often something to do with training, mental has to do with reading and writing right now, and spiritual is a gratitude and meditation practice.  You’ve got so much to give – scatter it by setting and crushing goals!  You, your partner, and your relationship will be better for it.
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Photo Credit: Kevin Nam, Eye on Photo

Advice for Endurance Lovers:

  • Try being a little more flashy with your love.  Although it will take extra effort you’ll reap the rewards!  Buy flowers, cook an extravagant dinner, snapchat strip and take all your clothes off, engage in a bit of PDA even if you hate it, surprise your significant other with random daytime sex, drop what you’re doing and spend time with your partner even if you’d rather be tackling ordinary life stuff.  They’ve probably figured out these things don’t come naturally to you, and they’ll be even more well received!
  • When you have someone drowning you in love, tell them what you really need.  They mean well, I guarantee it and you know it, but they just don’t know any better.  Tell them you love what they do, but remind them that they show their love much more potently than you really need.  Suggest they do something nice for their friends or family as well.  Also, send them the link to this blog. 🙂
  • Act excited by the intensity of your partner’s love.  When they give you a present, put on an over-the-top performance, “Oh my god!!  This is the best thing I’ve ever gotten!”  Even if it’s not natural to you, by acting this way you’ll actually start to feel more excited, and the affection and those googly eyes between you and your partner will increase.
  • Open up and ask great questions.  Deep conversations don’t necessarily come naturally to you, but your partner probably loves them and you enjoy them when you get into them.  Initiate them.  Try asking some of these questions.  Allow yourself to contemplate questions from your lover and give them an answer beyond your first thought.  Let them into your life more than what comes naturally to you, and dig into theirs.

Advice for Us All:

1) Know which type of lover you are and your tendencies.  Accept this.
2) Know the type of the person you’re into and their tendencies.  Accept this.
3) CrossFit your relationship – if you’re about intensity, learn some stamina.  If endurance is your strong suit, learn to crank up the volume and get heavy.  Continue to train your strengths because they’re what make you beautiful and unique.  Put in the work and enjoy the journey, recognizing the beauty in both the highs and the lows.  Like training, the work shouldn’t stop when things get tough.
4) Live happily ever after.  You now know how to have the most thrilling of days while standing the test of time.
And what if you fail along the way?  Chalk it up as practice and know that your win is right around the corner.  Because all things in life are like training – you really need to fail your way to success.  Sooner or later you’ll hit a relationship PR with a love that can withstand all tests – that CrossFit love – and it will be fun, intense, and exciting but still last long and strong.
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Photo Credit: Amanda Ubell: Dare to Dream Photography
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