I heard the renowned Esther Perel talk about desire and appeal in long term relationships, and it was a riveting talk. Both interesting and informative. I am not trying to surmise what she said rather think objectively about it since sooner or later most of us will be in that phase of long term relationships.
The alarm goes off, people are dressed, kids are dressed, lunches are packed, everyone rushes, evening comes in, people return, divided chores are wound up, face is cleansed, schedules for next day are made, everyone crashes, day is over. This is such a familiar and ubiquitous modern day family and relationship ritual. Its how we have pushed ourselves to live and so we don’t cringe but maybe we should.
Stop by for a minute and think. What does it take to bring in the spark back for a couple or better not lose it completely? Some of it is certainly lost in the journey. If I reflect on the minute details, you’ll agree, we seldom compliment each other, be it looks, skills or innate qualities. We seldom try to make days special without occasion. We seldom pay attention on grooming or looking sensual for the better half. Everything which was often in the earlier years is now seldom. Not that it doesn’t interest us anymore, just that the person of interest seems shifted or absent.
Having said that, it would be grossly inappropriate to imply that your spouse or partner isn’t important or caring or loving anymore. They are all of it, but the desirability quotient seems dipped, the longing seems amiss and the intimacy isn’t obvious. Now, who wouldn’t like that mojo restored? I mean, it would certainly be exhilarating to have that eroticism alive between you and your long time lawfully wedded partner. There would be so much to look forward to, the palpable excitement, the self assurance and the subtle headiness of still affecting the other in your very own way.
However, let me put a rain check here, this restored or existing chemistry still does make you eye and fancy others. It’s a kind of natural human and hormonal behaviour and there’s no running from it.
But there is an undeniable grain of truth when I say that a relationship with a lasting intimacy fosters more space, more acceptance, even more attraction between the partners. Insecurity or jealousy has so much less room. In fact when you have a tangible physical connect and a non-judgemental friendship with your own partner or spouse, the guilt of being coquettish or flirtatious with others or the need to hide things is so much lesser. On the contrary, there is more respect and yearning for each other, as did Ms. Perel vouch through her study and interviews with people.
Funnily enough there’s another rain check, no matter how much you covet or hanker over another hunk or damsel, for most part and for most people it doesn’t convert into reality. It’s superficial, imaginative and vicarious pleasure. What is real and accomplishable though is with your partner or spouse. And this is why it is imperative, almost healthy, to have a sustained appeal in your own relationship.
So how and what do you think keeps the chemistry effervescent? Might be different for you than it is for me but by and large, few things are true for all. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. When you have had the time to miss each other, it surely revives the desire to be together. Might be good to have some ‘missing time”.
More than that, when you let your partner be the person they are… let them dance unabashedly, let them explore fearlessly, let them think unhinged, let them speak candidly. We can’t always be part of who they are, but someone who shares the same passion could be. And when you give them that space and liberty, are ready to enjoy their joy from a distance, there is a certain gratitude and trust exchanged in that moment which surprisingly translates into mutual aphrodisia.
And of course not to undermine the effect of playing those little coy and teasing games, an unexpected romantic text, an unplanned rom-com, a sexy black dress, some candles and aromas, those stolen glances of anticipation, little things that bring back the thrill, the titillation, the longing, and make you look forward to each other despite the years.
Travelling back in time is hardly what you need. Trying to remember and relive or re-enact your days from yesteryears would be typically silly and misleadingly ambitious. We aren’t the same anymore. Our thoughts, beliefs, equations, everything has undergone multiple revisions in the relationship. So falling head over heels with your spouse again would be almost a folly to consider. And yet they are the ones who ground you, hold you, and give you a sense of stability.
In that stability, it’s the seductive thrill that forges interesting paths for tomorrow. Don’t you vanquish it so easily, without putting up a tantalizing fight.