In order for two human beings to live together in relative harmony, some uncomfortable work needs to happen. You wouldn’t expect to do well in the Olympics with no prior training, so why on earth would you expect the emotional and romantic equivalent to be any different?
Committed love requires discipline. Because, when all’s said and done, it’s not the courtship that’s hard (unless you happen to be dating an emotionally unavailable arsehole). It’s the bit that comes after.
For me, the first three months with someone new were always magical, but the moment the passion and excitement started to wear off, I mentally and emotionally checked out of the relationship, certain that real love would be waiting for me in the arms of someone else. This is a pattern I’ve seen time and time again in my love-coaching clients, too.
I defended my freedom with ferocity, convincing myself that long-term monogamy would never, ever feel as exhilarating as those early electric kisses with someone I probably shouldn’t be kissing. So, if being in a committed relationship meant that I’d have to deny myself the pleasures to which I’d become accustomed (flirting/sleeping with whomever I wanted, whenever I wanted), then there were only two options, as far as I could see: end it before it got too serious, or lie. I tended to favour the second option; it took less courage.
The journey I had to go on from that head and heart space to where I am today – engaged to my partner of over six years in a relationship that both parties want to be inside of in equal amounts – has been excruciating at times. And euphoric at others.
Where love once felt to me like a frenzied tango, with both partners hell-bent on leading, it’s now evolved into more of a jumbled, sloppy waltz in which toes are regularly trodden on and egos get momentarily bruised, but in which we soon fall back in step with one another just long enough to feel like we’re floating.
Have you ever felt like you’re floating in love? I’ll tell you one thing: it’s far from dull.