I've read of a typology of love compromised of three elements:
2) passion; and
If none of these three are present, we are talking of a a friendship that is based on association or shared, usually temporary goals (Aristotle's typology of friendships). If intimacy is present without passion and commitment, we are talking of a true friendship (Aristotle would have probably added 'commitment', too, to his definition). If passion is present without intimacy or commitment, we are talking about 'infatuation' (or NRE, I might add, which often creates the illusion of higher intimacy and commitment than there actually is). And if there is commitment without passion or intimacy, the authors of this typology refer to it as the 'dead/empty marriage', which of course is a hugely normative statement.
The coming together of all the three elements in this typology is termed 'perfect love' as in something that is heavily idealized and striven for in our culture. They have names for all dyadic combinations, too. So I sometimes toy with categorizing my relationships with the help of this typology.
1) I have friendships that include intimacy and commitment but no passion in the sexual sense - I think they are part of how my possibly-poly nature seeks expression. Adding sex to these relationships is a) improbable because of orientation issues and b) would to my mind not add anything that wasn't already there.
2) I think most relationships start either with a strong element of passion and increasing intimacy, or with a strong element of intimacy and increasing passion.
3) I feel most sexually attracted to people I experience strong intimacy, passion and commitment to. I certainly don't mind having sex with people whom I don't feel this kind of 'perfect romantic love' for, but I don't feel the need to.
What am I getting at with this? AnotherConfused, maybe some of the confusion stems from the idea that all relationships with people to whom you are attracted to and who are attracted to you should progress towards the perfect love-ideal of combining all three elements and if possible, all three to an equal degree. That's maybe why you sometimes wonder if you are 'stalling' or 'stopping short' your relationship with L and D because of this progress model most of us carry around in our heads.
Me: bi female in my twenties