It’s inevitable. You’re with the same person. You do the same things.
And that’s exactly what you wanted when you got together. Security. Stability. No nasty surprises.
But our craving for constancy comes at a very big price:
We give up novelty.
We get just one person. One relationship. No refunds or exchanges.
Imagine having to give up every outfit in your wardrobe but one. You can pick your favorite outfit, but you have to wear it every day. How do you think you’ll feel in a week? Will you still love it as much as you did when you chose it?
Human beings crave novelty just as much as they crave constancy.
We want things to be the same but different. We want what we’ve always had, but we also want what we’ve never tried.
The pleasure of novelty is obvious in the beginning of a relationship when everything is new and wonderful.
For many couples, it will never be that exciting again. Even their tenth wedding anniversary can’t compare to that first date when they were both so nervous and excited and hopeful.
It’s the same way with clothes. You might even say that your pleasure in a new outfit declines from the moment you plunk down your credit card to pay for it. Now it’s just another garment hanging in your closet. The novelty is gone.
Relationships must find the perfect balance between the poles of constancy and novelty. Go too far one way, and it gets boring. Go too far the other way, and it becomes unpredictable.
How can you maintain that balance? Here are three suggestions.
- No exits.
Frequently second-guessing your choice in men—i.e., “Should I be in this relationship? Is he really the right guy for me?”—limits your relationship satisfaction.
Studies show that, given a choice between two options, people are less satisfied with their decision if they’re given the chance to change their mind at a later date.
On the other hand, once you’re stuck with your choice, you usually find ways to like it.
For example, you need a new ride. You debate between a Honda CRV and a Toyota Rav4. They seem on par with each other. At least…until you buy one. Next thing you know; you’re telling people why the option you settled on is superior.
This is a well-documented psychological phenomenon. We convince ourselves (automatically and unconsciously) that we made a good choice (but only once we’ve made a choice we cannot easily reverse).
Here’s another example. Someone gives you a new sofa. You don’t like it and you plan to replace it soon. But, after sitting on it every night for years, you find yourself hesitant to give it up.
The more time we spend with anything—be it a person or possession—the more our affection grows.
So commit more deeply to your relationship and see if that changes anything. Stop focusing on what isn’t working. Instead, focus on how you can make it work.
- Play more.
Dating is playing for adults.
You get to go out and have fun. Your time together is free from the cares of daily life. You experience pure pleasure, undiluted with thoughts of tomorrow.
Then you move into a relationship.
Everything changes. You stay in instead of going out. No time for anything frivolous. You’re serious now. This is important.
But getting too serious sucks the life out of relationships.
If you don’t make time for pleasure, duty will creep into every corner of your day. It has a habit of taking over. There are so many things you should be doing. You could be spending your time more productively.
But a relationship founded on play can’t sustain itself on work alone.
That’s why so many couples enjoy scheduling a regular “date night.” They take one night a week to reconnect with one another.
Date nights aren’t the only way to incorporate more play into relationships. Teasing, laughing, and enjoying comic entertainment all work, too.
You could go dancing or indulge your inner child at mini-golf or an amusement park. You could sneak away to a hotel fifteen minutes away for a wild night on the town. Have fun and let the cares of the world slip away.
The couple that plays together truly does stay together.
- Make time for pleasure.
Play is something you do together. Pleasure is just for you.
Rediscover what makes you glow.
You and your partner will find different things pleasurable. Pleasure is highly individual. Taking time to pursue your pleasures gives your partner time to pursue his.
Pleasure breaks the drudgery of routine. It never gets old. Not eating a delicious meal, or enjoying a massage, or lying in the sun. Pleasure feels new every time.
Some women have been taught that taking time for pleasure is selfish. It’s not. It’s about having “me time.”
Experiencing pleasure stokes the fire within. It fills your inner reserves with peace, happiness and contentment. By experiencing pleasure, you have more to give to others. Your company is a delight. And your man feels blessed to be with such a satisfied woman.
Does that sound boring?
Not at all.
Fill a relationship with play, pleasure, and a firm sense of commitment, and neither of you will ever want to leave.