I have a question about relationships, especially the early stages.
That dopamine and oxytocin rush, that joy of discovering a new person and getting to know them, the excitement of exploring new bodies and new tastes in bed, the passion and effortless joy of early romance. All great. I love that.
And yes, everyone is putting on their best face at the start, but as things continue in this mould and we discover each other’s quirks and start to open ourselves up to each other more, it often feels like a punishment at best or a cruel joke at worst.
Because all that good stuff I mentioned at the start goes. Sometimes I get dumped, but not always. But certainly everything I love in the first paragraph is taken away — the big pyjamas replace the sexy lingerie; instead of discovering new things about each other, we settle into watching the TV we both like on sofa together; instead of romantic dinners, it turns into taking turns cooking of the same set of a few dozen meals, and so on.
As opposed to “effortless joy”, things move into the “routine warmth” mode. And whilst rationally I want to be satisfied with that, the relationship at that point often feels just like “good friends/housemates with occasional sex on the side”, and I find myself getting so very bored and wanting to get out and date again to get some novelty and excitement back in my life.
My friends have often told me that this is “real love” compared with infatuation, and it can be so much more fulfilling than the honeymoon period, but I don’t understand how at all. It feels to me like some cruel joke of attraction. Now, like I said, rationally, having a good friend and a housemate and a sexual partner all wrapped up in one person is clearly a good thing, but GOD, it’s dull and so much worse than the “honeymoon” period. I even tried long-distance relationships, where I hoped that only seeing each other two days a month meant that we would “use up” that budget of excitement slower, and “the good bit” would last longer (spoiler: it didn’t. I never said it was a great plan, but I’m running out of ideas!)
So how do I learn to accept that things will always turn dull in the long run, and not yearn for a new person, a new set of interests and drives, a new body, a new life, to discover and explore to get that “effortless joy” back?