A committed reader peers over the singles’ hedgerow
Dear Dr. Love,
Although I’ve been happily married for nine years, I often turn to this witty column because I get to see the other side of life. It seems so long ago that I was in the dating scene. This question has been burning me and you’re the best person to ask, so here it goes: Is the grass really greener on the other side?
We all know that the daily grind wears the luster off after a while, but I’m thinking that a lot of relationships start off all fun and then get somewhat routine. Obviously, there’s more to love than the initial fireworks, but when you’re not looking for a commitment, does that fun last a little longer? Since I feel a jingle about red chewing gum coming on, I’ll sign off and await your answer.
Dear Greener Pastures,
Your email says you are happily married, but to what degree? Are you (and/or your spouse) experiencing the “seven (in your case, nine) year itch?”
And are you married with children? Should I assume yes? See, I walked in your shoes—after nine years of being married, we were blessed with three healthy and very active sons. I had no time (nor desire) to think about greener pastures.
Every relationship is different. And yes, early luster (lust) will often tarnish over time, but not always.
You need to answer one simple question: Does your spouse still make you happy? Does (s)he still make you smile (and not just in the afterglow of sex)? If the answer is yes, your grass may be greener than you think. If not, perhaps couples therapy could help you, because in divorce, everyone loses something, whether they wish to admit it or not.
For many couples, divorce is not the answer. For some couples who are unhappy where they are in life, they have come to a mutual agreement on how to resolve their marriage issues. I am unfortunately, talking about the concept of “swinging.” This is not the answer to being faithful, rather, it masks the problems you have. It certainly cannot make two people be closer to one another. Bringing in more sexual partners to a marriage will only complicate the equation. Are you willing to risk the integrity of your relationship? If I were still married, I can tell you, in no uncertain terms, that I wouldn’t gamble. The odds are against you!
As I date the “2nd Time Around,” my mantra continues to be the 80’s hit from Cyndi Lauper, “Girls (or boys) Just Want to Have Fun.” What’s yours?
I invite your comments and/or questions. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next month, Happy Dating!