Defined as a state of stagnation, doldrums moments create the glue your relationship needs.
When your relationship hits doldrums days, when one or both of you are pedaling kids around, jamming grocery bags in the backseat, when the two of you are spending more time minding the sidelines and less time in the game, you’ve arrived. Destination: doldrums. In the middle of routine, you’ve got a eye fixed on a tiny person, a sick dog, a bowl of cereal about to hit the floor and the other watching the clock, the email notification thingy and the laundry spin in the dryer. Notice, no eye contact exists between you and your SO. But it’s normal. Needed. Sacred even. When you want more intimacy and stolen moments, the fact is, some days it’s not meant to happen.
Let me specify, yours is a good love, a giving love, your partner compromises when needed and sees the hint of a rainbow aura through the storm clouds when all you detect is rain. Attentive, nurturing, yet nowhere near perfect, your SO believes in the power of two and hangs on, but it’s easy to forget, the best lover still guarantees annoyance. This irritation, when breaching the surface of your love, screams for alone time, fires the urge to address a hefty, internal problem you must fix solo. Now. We all need solitude to continue our evolution as people. During certain intervals in life, the saggy-bottom middle as an ideal example, we must grow by ourselves on occasion.
I regard these blah, necessary days as Tuesdays of love. You may feel uninspired and let down on a typical Tuesday, but it helps to remember Tuesday is not just boredom—the day after Monday, progress toward the weekend—no, Tuesday is the day to give homage to the glue you’ve made of memories and stolen glances—the glue that will hold you together. Tuesday safeguards your relationship’s secrets—the privileged schedules of which only the duo of you are privy. Tuesday is often forgotten because it contains aerobic hopping from one appointment to the next: school conferences, grocery shopping, a project deadline. It is not a standout day in any regard. Since our romantic partnerships can’t sustain a euphoric state, what two people can do is use euphoria to create a fabulous adhesive. Tuesday glue will keep your relationship intact on doldrums days while propelling you toward more loving times and deeper emotional content.
If you feel stuck in the Tuesday of love, longing for past Saturday night delights, bottomless, sugary umbrella drinks, lazing around with your legs on your partner’s lap, sharing soulful eye contact breeding sweaty, mind blowing sex, remember these three hints to move past the ho-hum.
1. Your partner is a good person deserving the benefit of the doubt. So while it’s tempting to stomp about, rankled by early-morning, boisterous jam sessions when you’re still sleepy, rethink your love’s intentions. Loud music is purposeful and energetic. You know this good person requires a blast of metal to jumpstart their day. Bathe your deserving SO in the best light possible. Humor your wicked self and remember you wanted this intriguing, wonderful human to remain beside you for a reason, you probably fought for them at some point. Remembering goodness makes you kind.
2. You signed up for this. In greener dating days, you longed for imminent comfort. When you would finally let a brief puff of wind slip, when you would trip without fanfare (in my case laying out a full Aerosmith knee slide in the middle of a downtown mall), when you could tear your pants and never miss a step. You yearned to sit a ruler’s width away from your SO as you completed a crossword puzzle and they fiddled with the remote to find UFC or a romcom you’d casually ignore—acting out these gestures just as your silent couple agreement dictates. Recalling your thirst for these days and your fulfillment at living them helps you grind through meh moments. At the end of the day, aren’t you glad they’re beside you, sleeping, reading, sidling closer, snuffling or smacking their lips while unconscious? Even as they slip and say something offensive in conversation at your office party, their filter temporarily off, broken, or drunk? They are the person you want, the one relaxed enough to be themselves while you do your own thing beside them, the two of you playing like toddlers, one intent at running a car on the carpet, the other involved in pretend grocery shopping. We are not so much different than little kids, acting autonomously side-by-side, tackling work, parenting, or overdue housework.
3. Differences don’t equal destruction. We all have differences and your SO is not your twin. It is essential for you two to split now and then to work on your own life goals, do your own due diligence, or just bedazzle a freakin’ messenger bag. Differences are healthy if they’re respected. No, a gulf is not sneaking into your coupledom. Differences give you the chance to to show your SO you know respect is paramount to growing and staying closer – apply this idea during days when you feel alienated or alone. These respites are for you, so savor your vacation. Soon enough, the kids and your smiley spouse will pounce on you as your personal day pops like a bubble in your head.
Your partner is not a guarantee against loneliness and it is not fair to saddle them with such an expectation. You, a human, whether aligned with another in domestic bliss, or living solitary, need to accept the difference between loneliness and being alone. One is healthy. Distance, doubt, worry, boredom—these are natural states occurring because we’re human and beautifully fallible, not quite healthy; still, when you’re feeling this way remind yourself volatile emotions pass, everyone experiences them and most recover quickly.
The next time you’re fighting relationship fatigue, pause to appreciate the glue. Glue fixes, secures, and most importantly, holds everything together.
Photo: Flickr/akshay moon