I got married when I was 24. Everything was great in the first few years. We used to go on regular dates and I used to be much in love. However, as time passed, the patterns of our life, date and lovemaking started repeating itself. Even though we were going for movies or dinners or those occasional trips, the pattern is so predictable that I often can predict how we are going to end up spending that time. And then I would meet my single friends, who would often tell me about an exciting date they went to, or a new girl they had met. It’s crazy because all my single friends seem to be having a gala of a time, when I would feel incredibly stuck in an endless relationship that has all the comfort, and none of the excitement anymore!
Recently, I met an old classmate of mine who has shifted into Delhi as well. We hung out just over coffee, and I couldn’t help by feel a strong attraction towards her. I am now completely confused. On one hand, I love my wife and I can’t imagine a life without her. On the other hand, I feel an irresistible urge to go out with this classmate friend, knowing full well that it might lead to us going into a dangerous territory. Yet, another part of me says that it might actually help keep my marriage alive. What should I do? — Anonymous (name hidden)
This is one of the most common stories that go around in relationship circles — what are you supposed to do when your relationship bores you? Everything else seems to be going great, but you are unable to discover the excitement of your early days.
In the age of dating apps, it is all too tempting to turn on the app in your private moments. You create a private profile, and tell yourself that you are only going to ‘see and not touch’. This is commonly what a lot of individuals end up doing and is one of the reasons why most dating apps have an incredibly high percentage of married men. In your case, the temptation has come in form of an old friend, so it is even more challenging a terrain.
However, step back for a second and delve into yourself for a moment. You have to ask what your eventual goal is — would you want to jeopardise your existing relationship for a moment of excitement? Or would you rather figure out a way to make your current relationship more exciting? What would it take for you to make your current relationship more exciting?
Have you had a honest conversation with your partner? If you had to instil newness, what would it take? Why not try and break habit in every aspect, and promise yourself that you would actively take an interest in altering your patterns?
If you do decide to go out with your classmate, do keep in mind that if you keep it at the level of a threat to the status quo in your head, instead of an actual transgression through cheating, it can actually help. Author Esther Perel of Mating in Captivity argues that often the threat of status quo of a relationship ignites desire.
“The grand illusion of committed love is that we think our partners are ours. In truth, their separateness is unassailable, and their mystery is forever ungraspable. As soon as we can begin to acknowledge this, sustained desire becomes a real possibility. It’s remarkable to me how a sudden threat to the status quo (an affair, an infatuation, a prolonged absence, or even a really good fight) can suddenly ignite desire. There’s nothing like the fear of loss to make those old shoes look new again.” ― Esther Perel, Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence
If you are able to figure out your core motivation, you would be able to channel your actions accordingly. And maybe you should start with an honest discussion with your partner. Even if it feels hurtful, she will appreciate your honesty later than an actual act of transgression.
Finally, remember that what you are feeling is perfectly natural, and something that many couples face as their relationship adds on years. And the ones who continue to successfully stay in a relationship figure out a way to keep it exciting.
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