“Where there is desire, there’s going to be a flame. Where there’s a flame, someone’s bound to get burned,” belts out Pink in her new single “Try”.

In life, most people get to experience many different types of relationships. We all start with a crush when we first get hit with the love bug. A crush then turns to the initial liking, maybe lust and, eventually, real love. Desire, passion, intimacy, even obsession—all these describe stages, feelings, levels of connections we have formed for/with others. And, consciously or subconsciously, each person we form relationships with, we compare those feelings to ones from our past. Because, really, how does one know true love unless they have had all those other feelings to compare it to? And, the bigger question is, which love is the real deal? The passionate one that physically ignites each cell in your body, the calm one that develops and grows over time or the one of companionship, in which each other’s presence overpowers the burning lust for physical intimacy?

The ideal love, and the one we all yearn for, would be the one that encompasses all of the above. But, the reality is that the love that lasts a lifetime resembles the latter of these: a contained love; the love that balances respect, companionship and a liking for your significant other. But, how does one come to terms with that kind of a love after experiencing the fireworks of an explosive one, the one that’s displayed in movies and described in books?

The trick is, you don’t have to have one without the other; you just have to find a happy medium. Think back to a love that began as a burning flame, fully blazing and uncontrollable. The passion that ignited that love could only carry the flame so far before the fire that started it set ablaze your entire being, consuming everything around it. That intensity and strength can only hold up so long; and just as quickly as it starts, it burns itself out, leaving nothing but ashes and major cleanup from the debris it brings down with it. Yes, major metaphors in play, but you get the drift (no, really, I just can’t help it).

Once that force exits, it’s forever emblazoned in your memory, and you can’t help but allow thoughts to take you back to that whirlwind. But, instead of trying to recreate it, take the best from that experience, and learn the lesson. There is a reason that kind of intensity also brings that kind of pain – everything that goes up must come down, and when you’re so high up in the clouds, the descent is that much more painful. The next time you open your heart, you’re bound to use more caution. And with caution, your feelings may take longer to develop; that doesn’t mean the love isn’t as strong, it just means your heart learned its lesson and now works side by side with your head.

I was once told that a woman should have one love she can imagine going back to, and one who reminds her of how far she’s come. I couldn’t agree more. Some chapters are best left unexplored—sneak a peek at your past by rereading those chapters to squelch the bout of nostalgia, but don’t get stuck on those pages, because happy endings are never discovered in the beginning.