Two weddings in two weeks will put your mind on marriage.
My marriage is "blah." There's nothing seriously wrong -- no infidelity or abuse -- but there's nothing much really right, either. Boring is the word to describe it, I guess. And I can't honestly say my husband is to blame for the malaise. There's no feeling of partnership with him. Fewer affectionate gestures, like a hug or a pat. Less conversation. Less frequent sex. Less sense of a shared future. Less laughter. Less fun. Married for six years. No children. What can be done?
You even write blah. Very effective.
You've probably heard that arranged marriages outlast all others. It's supposed to seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense to me. In an arranged marriage, people go into it understanding their job is to make the best of it. In a love marriage, people go into it thinking love will take care of everything.
Don't everyone go out and order brides or anything. But if you're married-blah, the logic works: Start putting into your home what you're failing to get out. A gesture. A hug. A pat. An interested, and interesting, conversation. Sex. Laughter. Fun. Great, you say, everything you just finished saying you don't have.
But where do you think these things come from, the moon? YOU have to keep generating them, as a couple, and you can't hope to do that if neither of you is making the effort individually. The overused "marriage is hard work" means just that: making tiny, incremental efforts to stay involved in your partner's life, by asking a question or two over dinner, say. By talking about a movie you just saw. By giving compliments. By bringing more shared friends into your lives. And, for you, by talking about your blahs.
In fact, calling marriage "work" is misleading -- like it's high noon in August and you've got a trench to dig. The only real lifting involved is to keep wanting to love him, steadily, even through the low spots. Do you? Want to?
Pull up a squishy chair and sit in it until you remember why you got married. Presumably, there was love there. Recall, too, the circumstances that brought out that feeling. Then get up and get those moments back. Travel, dance, go to a ball game, have a midnight picnic, be less boring. You may never see sparks again, but that's no reason to bail -- and no reason you can't find joy, laughter and the occasional pat.
By the way, for those with dating-blah: Bail.
Is it normal to have doubts about an impending marriage? I am recently engaged, and am in love with my fiance. However, when I look at the pros and cons of marrying this person, my concerns -- financial issues, a roving eye, prior infidelity -- outweigh the benefits -- compatibility, affection, etc. When should second thoughts become a decision to back out?
Um, I believe it's when the cons outweigh the pros.
I have noticed you are unrelenting and unforgiving when it comes to adultery. Do you truly believe that once an adulterer, always an adulterer? I ask because I am one. I was in an emotionally draining (could say abusive, but that word is tossed around too much nowadays) relationship that I worked very very hard at. In the end, I couldn't take it any more and when I met someone who was absolutely the best, I didn't hesitate to pursue her even though I was still attached. This new woman and I are still together, and I am so much happier now that I have someone who actually cares about me and my feelings, but she worries about the cheating thing too (mainly because of people not unlike yourself who tell her the same things).
For the first time in my life, I feel like I understand the true concept of monogamy. I actually want only her -- but according to you and her, I will always be a cheater. I don't think I like being lumped into a category like that -- especially when I am actually living life right and always have except for this case. People like you make it very difficult for me to move on with my life.
A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
Good. Let's play a game of Find the Regret in your letter.
Okay. Let's look for the part where you say, "I realize now that keeping one's pants on until one is at least legally separated is not too much to ask."
Here's the thing. You say you're through with adultery and, gosh, I think that's great. But I can't find anything in your History of Me to indicate you won't cheat on this new woman, too -- if, a few years down the road, she no longer demonstrates sufficient concern for you or your "feelings," and if, conveniently, you find someone out there who will.
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