How to maintain a relationship
...because you thought marriage would solve all your problems.
The word relationship is tricky and misleading. You think you are in a commitment like it's a binding contract, like there is some sort of force that prevents the other person from leaving or cheating. The reality is, whether you are dating, boyfriend or girlfriend, engaged, married, or married with children, the game doesn't change that much.
With those increasingly committed terms, you feel like the other person is obligated to be committed to you, especially if you are acting committed to them.
Even with all the past history, even with an engagement ring, even with the ceremony, and even with a prenuptial agreement, attraction is not a choice.
No matter how long you've been together, no matter how many memories you have together, and no matter how many promises you made to each other, the game is always played.
Yes, it feels jaded and depressing to think about it that way, but just like it is depressing to live knowing you're going to die there is nothing we can do about it. So, we just have to make do the best we can in this confusing short-lived life.
So why is the game always played? Even though you took the time to find the right person that is committed to you and you are 100% sure has never cheated and will never cheat you are fooling yourself.
After months or years or even decades of commitment and shared memories and shared ups and downs that you got through, tomorrow is a new day and there's always a new person who can bring your significant other into the honeymoon period. That time when you first dated for the first six months where everything was perfect, the other person was perfect, and they were treated like an angel. Love is a drug that creates a dopamine release and addiction and longing just like anything good in this life.
As you two have gotten used to each other, seeing every good and especially every bad and annoying aspect of each other, the romance fades and the reality sets in. There is a grind of daily expectations that everyone gets used to and it becomes a baseline with no dopamine release. Even with signs of affection on a daily basis, the body gets used to it and it no longer becomes a thrilling new excitement. You take each other for granted and get used to each other. The girl you dreamed about your entire life , You're perfect 10, becomes just your wife.
Just like the brand-new car you bought three years ago, eventually just becomes your commuter car no longer giving you the thrills or appreciation you had when your first drove it off the car lot.
The significant other that you are used to seeing every day, that annoys you on occasion and has years of conflict with you and that you take for granted is constantly exposed to other people regardless how confident you are that they are not.
A passing glance at the gas station, in the waiting room at the dentist office, meeting other parents picking up kids from daycare, or even that friend coworker that you never suspected is chasing after your significant other.
Your old significant other is somebody else's new person of their dreams. Your daily habit of seeing your significant other becomes some other person's amazing, exciting first date.
So, never let your guard down and never forget as long as you are alive you are still in the game whether you like it or not.