In my model of healthy relationships I call Guardians of the Heart, LoveSpeed is a biocognitive term that defines the time/space required to assimilate the wellness and joyful benefits of offering and receiving love. In the early stages of relationships, the LoveSpeed of each partner varies, and if not addressed properly, can lead to unnecessary discordance. Later, throughout the path of relationships the LoveSpeed can shift quickly from one partner to the other when facing adversity or joyful circumstances. For example, in the beginning of a relationship one partner may want to move faster than the other in the areas of emotional intimacy, disclosure, inclusiveness, or financial agreements. Later, when a new challenge surfaces (good or bad), the partner that was the butterfly (slow LoveSpeed) could become the landing shoulder (fast LoveSpeed).

Imagine wanting a beautiful butterfly to perch on your shoulder, and instead of patiently allowing time for it to land safely, you trap it or cut its wings. You accomplish your wish by damaging the butterfly. This metaphor is a vivid example of what happens in relations when selfishness or neediness is not addressed with the proper mindfulness. In other words, by not being aware of the dynamics of the butterfly/shoulder dance I propose, when the fast LoveSpeed puts pressure on the slower LoveSpeed partner, the need is denied at best, or satisfied by capitulating at worst: Resentment when being pressured, and guilt when doing the pressuring.

To succesfully calibrate the LoveSpeed of partners, choice and need must identified and defined. Choice is what you want to offer or receive joyfully from your partner, and need is what you require of yourself. For example, living with your partner is a choice whereas time alone without your partner is a need.

Although not easily achieved without some practice, the model to clarify choice versus need requires the following self-agreements:

1. I do not want anything from my partner that is not given willingly and joyfully.

2. I will not give anything to my partner that is not given willingly and joyfully.

At first glance, these premises may seem constrictive, but when you practice them, you may realize the following:

1. You may be placing responsibility on your partner to satisfy your needs without offering a choice.

2. You may realize that some of what you want from your partner, are unattended needs that only you can satisfy.

Of course, the LoveSpeed and Butterfly model I illustrate does not work with predators, abusers, and sociopaths because these dark characters lack good will and fairness. But in my experience as a clinical psychologist, I find that when partners truly want a healthy relationship, and are willing to engage the profoundness of love, no adversity is too overwhelming. One of the most powerful factors in healthy relationships and longevity is to know that, although not perfect, you can count on your partner to share good fortune joyfully and adversity with resolve.