Romance in marriage

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The hubs and me -- photo by Maui wedding photographer Jana Morgan
The hubs and me. Photo by Maui wedding photographer Jana Morgan

The other day I was thinking about marriage and my husband and what it means to be with that one person for the rest of my life. Not that it's bad or anything, on the contrary — I love my husband to death and I'm glad that we're married. But that day I was struck by a few thoughts about this whole marriage business…

After a talk with a single friend about his new love interest, the thought struck me that I will never again get to experience the thrill and romance of new love. That whole time in my life is over for me. That's means that wow, I probably will never feel that one-of-a-kind, stomach-twisting, nerve-tingling, hormone-churning Brand New Love feeling again.

(Sad face.)

Solidifying that notion was the thought that my husband (and most of the men I've dated) will never be as romantic as he was when we first met. All those Brand New Love hormones dissolve and then, once you're married, not only does it dissolve but daily life gets in your way what with worries about horribly boring things like insurance, rent checks and thoughts about romance and grand gestures too easily get swept aside to deal with real life issues.

Then, of course, while I was fretting over my el depresso thoughts, I got a phone call about my parents' impending separation, which then REALLY ruined my day.

When Aaron come home from work that day I immediately let him know that I was having a rough time. And instead of ignoring me to play video games, he sat and watched ridiculous movies with me all night. Watching movies turned into cuddling, which turned into talk of sexy-time, and so we made our way into the bedroom. Once in bed and in his arms I ended up bawling my eyes out! (WTF Megan!? Way to be sexy.) But Aaron was awesome. He talked me through all my emo bullshit and then he acted silly with me to make me laugh. And it's like — Okay, we may not be as romantic as we were when we first started dating, but we ALWAYS have each other's back. And that is pretty damn romantic!

My husband was so romantic by just being sweet to me that night. It didn't take a grand gesture, it didn't take buying me something, and it didn't take a new love — it just took the time that he wanted to spend getting laid, and spending it instead talking to me about about my feeeeeelings and then trying to make me laugh. Amazing.

Then I realized that even though I will never again experience the thrill of a new relationship, I have the thrill of a growing relationship. And as my relationship grows, so should my ideas of romance. It's not always flowers and making out and playing Peter Gabriel songs on a boombox. Sometimes it's crying followed by making jokes about naming your unborn children terrible things (like “Awesome” and “Second Kid”).

Thanks to the universe and my husband for giving my sad-pants attitude the little kick in the ass that it needed.

he hubs and me -- photo by Maui wedding photographer Jana Morgan
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Comments on Romance in marriage

  1. Dude, L.O.L. on the children’s names! My FH and I like to do that too, but “Second Kid” just about tops off the list. I am emailing him this article. Thanks for the perspective!

  2. Family story:

    After fifteen years of marriage, my parents are talking and my Dad says “You know, I never really loved you when we were first married.”

    My Mom was understandably crushed. But as she thought about it, she came to this conclusion: He couldn’t compared his love for her now to the love he had for her fifteen years ago.

    I too am looking forward to the “old love” as my fiance and I get married and start to live our lives together. New love is awesome. But it has too many ups and downs compared to old love.

    • That reminds me of the awesome Michael Bolton song “Said I Loved You But I Lied.” He sings about how his love has grown so much that he now realizes that, compared to now, he didn’t really love her when he first said it.

  3. I agree. 100%. Realizing how good it is to be in that longterm relationship is awesome. Knowing my FH can always make me laugh when I need cheering up, and that he still loves me after I’m bitchy because I’m overheated and have been hauling luggage is awesome. Or that he offered to come to the hospital with me to visit family, despite absolutely hating hospitals. That is way better than that new love feeling any day, in my books at least.

  4. I like to think up children’s names that take a little bit of effort to figure out what’s wrong with them. Initials are great for this. My fiance’s last name starts with “S,” so I’m fond of recommending Aaron Steven if it’s a boy, or Bradley.

    • I know someone whose initials spell “I’m God”. Funny thing is, his parents never realised.

      • My married initials are MEG and although I hate being called Meg, it makes me happy. 🙂

    • I have a friend in the Army who had to use an alternate spelling for her son’s middle name, lest his initials be I. E. D.!

  5. Just when things start to feel irreversibly boring and mundane in a relationship, a twist of fate makes you experience NEW new love for the person you’ve loved all along. And I think that’s somehow more exciting than regular ol’ new love.

    • Absolutely true. Just because it’s the same old person doesn’t mean it can’t be new love…

  6. Thank you so much for this important post. I wish there was more of this on the site – like, I know it’s Offbeat BRIDE and not Offbeat WIFE and technically I’m still an offbeat bride and not a wifey yet but still…this addressed a lot of fears that I’ve been afraid to speak out loud and it was described with honesty and wisdom and humor and…I just can’t thank you enough for this.

    As much as I love the posts about rockabilly dresses and tiny feathery hats, THIS is what I really need from Offbeat Bride.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Hey Erika, first of all you are SO welcome. I’m really glad this resonated with you. And second, we have actually had some similar feedback before and we very much agreed with it. So we’re definitely making an effort to feature more meaty posts like these that deal with the nitty gritty of marriage. We’re lookin’ out for you girl! 😉

      • Yes please.

        Although I am still very much in love, sometimes it feels like the wedding planning and people planning just gets in the way!

        I’m looking forward to being married (in a month) and ‘returning to real life’ – we have a date night once a week (so we can have qualitity time together) and it will be so nice to have weekends for adventures and outings rather then wedding planning!

        Then we can start on the baby making too!!!

    • Ditto, 10000%, particularly because I’ve been having a minor (see: major) freakout about this exact issue this week!

      • Same here. I’ve been freaking out about the lack of romance in our relationship lately. Luckily, my boy is understanding and has made an effort the past couple days.

    • COMPLETELY AGREE!! Thank you for this…it really hit home! And dude, those pictures of the shark attack on the blog are ridiculous!!!!

      • HA! I know, right? I hope you read the warning before you got confronted with the leg meat, some people skip over that and are unprepared. 😉

  7. Thanks for putting yourself out there to give us all this post.

    It’s sad that we usually only hear about this aspect of long-term relationships in a joking or resigned manner (i.e. all the old tired quips about couples never having sex after marriage and wives who are cold in bed and ball and chain ridiculousness) instead of owning this as a realistic challenge to face with your partner and something to work on, together, forever.

    • My FH gets really angry when people (i.e. coworkers, uncles, etc.) say “It’s never the same after you get married,” or “You’re gonna have to start doing everything she says from now on,” or “ball and chain” remarks and other stupid comments like that. We’ve been together for almost 6 years, and have only fallen deeper and deeper in love, (and become better and better friends!) and have become more and more committed to taking care of one another for the rest of our lives. Hence WHY we are getting married! It’s truly frustrating to hear these sorts of comments, and I completely agree that it’s totally refreshing to read about working on your relationship in a healthy way, instead of whining and turning to old cliches.

      • I have a great deal of fun asking people questions when they make these comments. Questions like, “Why are you still together?” and such. If nothing else, it makes them grateful for what they DO have, for a day or so anyway. I also enjoy dropping words like “equal partnership” and “communication” and “respect (each other)” into the conversation, to hopefully make people think. It’s rarely and “advice” thing, more of a “this is my philosophy/relationship model” thing, or just “concerned questions time.” Heck, even just having someone concerned that they felt that way about their relationship is enough to get people thinking sometimes.

        Fortunately, I know of a few couples that have gone on to be much better for both of them because of these kinds of questions leading them to think about about what they wanted out of their relationship that they weren’t getting, and thinking maybe they could communicate that to their partner. I like saying “communicate about what you’re thinking” rather than “tell your partner how you feel” because “communicating” makes people think business-like, thinking ahead, and listening; whereas “tell her” makes them think “yell at her.” Not what I’m getting at lol.

  8. Puntach was brought up as a potential child’s name. It’s also the name of my boy’s favorite Dungeons and Dragon’s character.

    • and by “Dragon’s”, I meant “Dragons”. I really have to proofread before closing the page.

      • Hey if you take the apostophe as possesive it kinda makes sense given that most DnD dragons like to believe they own the whole world and…I’ve just realised this is actually too nerdy for the internet.

        • Ladies and gentlemen, this is a momentous occasion… someone was actually TOO nerdy for the entire internet. Katy you should get some kind of award. 😉

  9. Well, don’t quote me because I don’t quite remember where I heard this (I think it was Motherlode on NYT), but they did this study of couples in their 80s, who had been married a long time, and 90% of them (!) say that they do not have that “spark” anymore like when they first met.

    At first glance that sounds depressing, but think – as you yourself mature and change, so does your relationship….sure, it’s not a “spark” like when you first met, but something more long-lasting, you know they’ll be there for you in tough times, etc.

    Similar to – you don’t love, say, Sesame Street as much as you used to, but you look back on it with fondness and you still watch TV, but different programs now, etc. (Or maybe I just need to get out of the house more…maybe that wasn’t a good example LOL).

    Basically, you’ll change as you become older *anyway,* the trick is to find someone whom you’re willing to take that gamble to stay alongside you, through the changes of yourselves and life.

    • I like to think that it goes from a spark to a flame, and a flame to an ember. Embers are still lit and burning, they’re just more settled where they are.

  10. Thanks for posting this. I have been going through the same annoying nagging thoughts that I will never experience that new love again. This helps a lot to know that I am not alone. I have been feeling so guilty even having these thoughts because I am so lucky to have found someone so compatible that I love and he loves me back. I am blessed too.

  11. I’ve been thinking about this too. About how the definition of romance has to change as you and your partner change. It really does become romantic for your partner to let you cry on his/her shoulder because you had a bad day. What really thrills me is to imagine and anticipate how romance will change when we’ve been together for 10 years or 40! It probably won’t always be sexy, but it’ll always be important.

  12. My husband and I have had a long running joke about naming our future kids after prescription drugs adverstised on TV. Like, “Lunesta! Cymbalta! Get in here girls!” Every time we see a new commercial, we add another imaginary kid to our brood. 🙂

      • HA! I hadn’t seen that skit before. “Okay.. I want Chinchilla, Hyperbole, Frigidaire and Bulimia – over here, right now!” All amazing name choices. 😉

        • hahaha! My terrible fictional child’s name for a long time was Spatula Moonbeam. Then one day me and the husband (still feels a bit wierd calling him that) were joking that when we got married, we’d change both our last names to Skankypants (don’t ask). Obviously our future fictional children would then have to be called Spanky, Hanky and Panky (The last two being fictional twins). So glad we’re not the only ones to do this 🙂

  13. What an amazing post, and so real to me. Actually, its basically IDENTICAL to our “Holly is freaking out so lets make her feel better” nights. LOL He takes amazing care of me and I wouldn’t trade that for all the “first kisses” in the world!

  14. At 62, I suspect I’m your oldest reader; and my husband and I have been married for 33 years. We still hold hands in public, and sometimes we’re mistaken for newlyweds. That’s pretty great when it happens, but it happens because we work at our marriage. Although its style has changed as we age, we still have romance in our lives. I don’t know if this will make sense to you, but love changes along with the one’s body providing metaphysical strength as the physical strength declines.

    The quote by Louis de Bernieres which follows is a lovely and true description of the evolution of love, the best I’ve found.

    “Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.

    “Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being ‘in love’ which any fool can do.

    “Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”
    ~Louis de Bernieres, “Corelli’s Mandolin”

    • I really appreciate this comment and would love to hear more from you, somehow!

      We need more 62 yr. olds with relationship experience writing for the wedding/newlywed blogs… it’s so encouraging and helpful.

    • That quote is absolutely beautiful. I’m tucking that away for my husband (I’m a newlywed) and I to refer to as we grow gracefully into “old love” 🙂

    • I keep rereading that quote and feeling new things each time. I’m tucking it away as a possible reading for our ceremony; Andrew and I have been together over four years and while I’d say we’re still in that butterflies in-love place, I can definitely feel our roots wrapping around each other (like an underground hug).

      I just feel really good, after this post and all the discussion.

    • I’ve never posted on OBB before, but this quote is the most beautiful thing I have ever heard, and this post made me cry, so I had to. Thanks for sharing, ladies. Truly.

    • Thank you so, so much for this. I feel like this describes my relationship with my fiance perfectly. We started out as friends for years, and never really had the sparks and fireworks of a new relationship since we were already such a huge part of each others’ lives before getting together.
      We always tell people how we didn’t fall in love – We grew into love instead.

    • We used this as one of our readings at our wedding! Thank you so much for posting it here. I cried when I first read it and I think I’ll cry whenever I read it or hear it both because it’s beautiful and because I’ll forever think of my wonderful husband. I’m with you Michelle too! We were friends for years before dating, although I had a crush on him the whole time. 😉

    • We had this reading at our wedding because it defines our relationship so well. Matt has never been super uber romantic, and sometimes when I see lovely dovey couples I get kind of “Awww… nuts” that we don’t have that. But it’s the stupid little stuff, like if he buys Club crackers he automatically buys M&Ms because the two together are my favorite snack. That when I can’t sleep because I’ve been working til 3AM he stays up and watches bad Syfy movies with me even though he has to be up for work at 5:30. Because he isn’t over the top romantic all the time, the little things he does mean so much more.

      Marriage is a job. It’s a job you choose, it’s a job with amazing benefits, but there are going to be rough times and you can’t quit just because it’s not fun anymore. Being up front about the little problems right away, keeps them from festering into huge ones that “come from no where” later on. The work that we do to keep our marriage going smoothly helps us bond, helps us grow closer together so we’re even stronger when the crappy times do come. I’d rather have that than flowers and candle lit dinners any day.

    • Out running a few years back, I saw an elderly couple on their lawn. The old chap had to use a walker to get up his driveway, his lady wasn’t much quicker on her feet. They were obviously having a good laugh about something, and she affectionately swatted him on the butt, then hobbled over to him and gave him a hug.

      They are the old people I want to be when I’m in my 70’s.

    • yes!! we definately need more older women on here willing to give (goood) advice to the rest of us! i for one would be thrilled to sit and listen. aak you are all making me teary tonight lol

    • That is a beautiful quote…and so absolutely true!

      One of the reasons my first marriage ended was because he wasn’t willing/able to change with me or accept the changes in me. That was heartbreaking. Now, while not married, I’ve been in a wonderful relationship for six years. We both work at making this a strong relationship. And that means so much more to me than the new love feeling. I know that when things are hard, he’ll be there for me–just like I am for him.

    • That is the most beautiful thing I’ve read in a long time! In a world where marriages are so often portrayed as either temporary or something that you suffer through it’s inspiring to hear about a couple that has worked so hard and is still enjoying a wonderful relationship after 33 years!!
      As a soon to be newly wed these are the kind of things that I want to hear about. Not miserable people trying to convince me that I’ll be joining them soon.

  15. what a great post- the older I get the less I can tolerate people who go into auto-drive after getting married (or even just after being past the ‘new’ stage of a relationship)and just rag on their other and act like its no fun from there on- Im really touched by how you gave an example of how sometimes the beautiful parts of a relationship can be overlooked cause their not considered sexy or exciting-

    sorry if that was crazy rambling 😉

    • That’s one of the biggest things that actually surprised me when I started dating my boyfriend. So many people went “Oh, you’re happy now, but just you wait!” Really? If you’re that unhappy in your relationship dude, you need to re-evaluate. Sure, there’s ups and downs, but you should still be happy.

      I don’t know, when someone I know gets in a relationship, my reaction is to be happy for them, not warn them they’ll be miserable soon enough. (And the poor boyfriend has had to deal with plenty of my weepy, stressed out bad days, and he’s always amazing and happy to help.)

      [sidenote]This discussion is the first one that got me posting too. I’ve got a few years before it’s really relevant for me, I guess, but it’s just so interesting and fun. [/sidenote]

  16. This is a really great post – very funny and also honest. Thanks for sharing, and I love that pic of you against the sky!

    Also @ Allison Hall: congratulations on such a long-lasting and happy marriage! I hope my husband and I may still be holding hands when we reach that stage of our lives 🙂

  17. I still get fluttery around my fiance, but it’s mostly when I’m being a total pervert and trying to look up his shorts when I have him on a ladder, killing a spider on the ceiling. Is that wrong?

    • No way! That’s awesome! I pretend that I’m still “sleeping” while he’s getting ready for work (showering, et al) and totally check him out. 😉

      • I’m bad at pretending, and he can always tell when I’m awake. I pretty much just sit up and go, “Are you going to take your pants off now? That would be good.” I think he’s still a bit taken aback by my lack of subtlety.

      • Yes! I check my boyfriend out every day! Usually when he’s changing, and I either growl appreciatively or whistle. We’ve been together over 2 years now, living together for 1. Sometimes bills and life issues, like broken cars and termites and law school finals, can really get in the way of romance. But I’ve realized he’s ALWAYS there for me, and this post is right up there!

        I told my boyfriend that I was just feeling a little sad recently, not for any particular reason, and I’ve been having insomnia (which he’s super understanding and sweet). His solution? He’s hosting “Christmas in July” where we’re going to pull down all the ornaments and stockings and lights, and cook up a full turkey dinner! No gifts, just cards, and I love him so much for those little things.

    • Nope, that’s totally awesome. Men in shorts are basically asking for it 😛 They’re like individual leg skirts…

  18. Ah! I was actually thinking about this the other day. The whole I’ll never experience the head over heels thing with Charlie anymore. Thanks for providing another perspective 🙂

  19. AMEN! Thank you Megan, this post was wonderful. I was in a VERY committed relationship a few years ago that we were both sure would turn into marriage, and I felt these same feelings. But it didn’t and I dated a few people after him and by the time I was engaged to my husband all I felt was relief that I wouldn’t have to go through all the crap that goes along with dating. You’re absolutely right; as your relationship expands with time, so do your ideas of romance.

    • I feel exactly the same way – as much as new love seems like a novelty, I knew that before I was with my SO I was looking for love in all the wrong places, being hurt again and again, and completely preoccupied with the idea of relationships.

      I think you can still get that feeling of “new love” again and again with the same person, we’ve been together three years and I learn and fall in love with new things about him all the time. It’s seriously just as good and just as fluttery.

  20. I am so glad this is finally posted here at OBB for everyone to enjoy! I read this post on your personal blog a while back & have referred back to it now & then. My fiance & I have been through a hell of a lot since we’ve been engaged and sometimes I feel like our relationship is a bit lacking. Not because we love each other any less, but because it’s human nature to get caught up in how you deal with things that you tend focus less on the person you’re with & instead try to deal. Somehow my fiance has a way of throwing me back into reality whether it’s telling me he thinks I’m gorgeous when I’m having one of my down-on-myself-depressed days & look like I stuck my finger in a light socket or coming up behind me for a lingering hug while I’m doing dishes… it’s better than the pitter patters “new love” because it’s the affirmation that you’re truly with the right person!

    Again, thank you Megan & OBB 🙂

    Oh, and I think checking out your fiance/husband is a good thing! Trust me, they appreciate it too 🙂

    • “…it’s human nature to get caught up in how you deal with things that you tend focus less on the person you’re with & instead try to deal.”

      That is so very true. And right now I’m the one who’s focusing on “just dealing” rather than being a good wife/citizen/friend, etc. And not only my husband but my friends have been so accommodating of my moods. That’s just what people who love each other do for the people they love! And thanks for your support Halle. 😉

  21. I have had a couple panicked moments when I realized I wouldn’t have that same “lightening” feel that I did when I first met my man ever again. However, the intimacy and the depth of the love that we have now… geez, nothing can ever compare to that. And we do still have the spark, I guess we are still going through that honeymoon stage, so I know it won’t always be there, but I am going to enjoy it while it is lol!

  22. i had known my fiance as a best friend for a long time before we started dating. about a year into our romantic relationship i totally panicked about never having “new love” again. i ended up having a conversation about it with a friend who said to me “if you really can’t see yourself giving up dating, break up with him.” (this sounds totally harsh, but truly, it wasn’t.) it was at this point that i realized that i couldn’t ever give him up and i wanted to be with him forever and ever! what started as me totally freaking out ended in such a wonderful realization.

  23. My husband and I have been together for ten years and married for almost eight. Like Allison Hall above, we still hold hands in public (like, a lot), we kiss each other goodbye and goodnight, and we talk on the phone every day over our lunch breaks.

    The things I find most romantic, though, are the things he does for me because he knows me so well. Like the day last month he spontaneously pulled across three lanes of traffic into the DSW parking lot because I’d had a bad day and he thought I “could use a new pair of shoes”. Or surprising me with The Best Cinnamon Bears In The World from the candy store down the street from his office when I was in my cinnamon bear obsessed phase. Or sitting with me in the balcony at rock shows because I’m too short to see from the floor even though I know he’d be down there dancing if I weren’t with.

    New love is great and exciting and all that, but, in my opinion, romantic gestures seem more romantic when the person knows what makes you happy (eg. vintage rhinestone jewelry, plain Hershey bars, and no flowers because the cats like to eat them), instead of giving you generic “romance” because that’s what they’re supposed to do (diamonds, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, and dozens of roses). Besides, new love is exhausting. Only with old love do you get to snuggle next to each other on a Friday night, you watching a marathon of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ while he plays a video game on his laptop (or vice versa), instead of feeling the pressure to Go Somewhere and Do Something every time you get together.

  24. This pretty much describes my relationship with my partner. I can’t even count the number of times we’ve been on our way to gettin’ busy (or in the middle of even!) and I let loose with the waterworks. (i think the intensity/release that can come with sex is like a trigger for stored up stuff. boom! it ALL comes out, not just the good). And he is always 100% THERE and wonderful and holds me and doesn’t ask anything and lets me cry and then will try to get me to laugh or to talk about what it is that’s wrong. It’s so comforting, so safe, to have that space. He’s amazing. When I think about it I think I fall head over heels for him all over again. It’s really wonderful.

    Thank you for posting this. 🙂

  25. So… I’m a total weenie and teared up reading this. :’)

    I’ve been (literally!) going through this same issue right now! My girl friend just recently started dating (she’s a late bloomer with these types of things) and she gets to have all that exciting “he thinks i’m pretty!”, “he kissed me!” and all those fun little butterfly-in-stomach moments… and I may have been getting a little emo and jealous about it. So, this article came like just in time for me. Thanks! -xo

  26. Thank you so much for this wonderful post and that beutiful quote. Having lived together for 5 years before even getting engaged, I feel that we are already in the “old love” stage of the game. After a year or two, life just took over and while we may not come home everyday ready to rip each others clothes off or have our stomachs do flip flops, the mere knowledge that someone will be there when I get home who will just love me and ask me how my day was and snuggle on the couch is more than I could have ever asked for.

  27. “Old love, old love,
    wipes the worries and lines from your brow,
    makes the sun shine brighter somehow,
    it’s a good thing there’s old love around.”

    -Dave Matheson

  28. Great article, and so true. Definitely one of the best things about being with my fiance is everything you just listed, especially him having my back.

    Not going to lie…giggled a bit when you termed talk of “sexy-time”…mostly because its the term we use all the time, lol.

  29. I’ll add my “thank you for this article” to the list, Megan. It’s so funny how you posted this at the EXACT time when I started to have private little mental freakouts about never having that, “Wheeeeeeee! I like this boy!” feeling again. I have not mentioned it to ANYONE, though, because I didn’t want any gossip of “Sara’s getting cold feet” making the rounds.

    Of course that Whee feeling is temporary. It is a building block for the wonderful long-term relationship our marriage will become. And instead of mourning the days when our relationship was new, I am focusing on all the awesome stuff we do and know about each other now that we’ve been together four years. We both realize that it will take effort, but yes, we can be married and still like each other and do sweet/sexy things, too!

  30. Loved this article. I get butterflies still when I think about my FH. We’ve been together 6 years. I hope it never goes away!

  31. To echo everyone else, this is a great and timely post! I got married a few weeks ago, but I’ve been with my partner over eight years. A friend recently told me that she was in love, and I just got this big, slow spreading smile on my face. I feel like now it’s my duty to foster new love, and I have the perspective to appreciate it (albeit from a distance) when it comes along for my own loved ones. If this happens to you, go home and hump your partner, because even though those new love days might be over, doesn’t mean you’ll ever forget them. I still remember just meeting my husband and looking over my shoulder all the time because I expected to see him appear all the time. And those memories still make me smile, AND want sex!

  32. I’ll gladly take the comfort and love of someone stable and there for me very day for the rest of my life over the butterflies of new love. I much prefer the butterflies of forever-love and knowing I have someone in whom I can confide anything without worrying about if my medical history will scare him off. The comfortable love of permanence and support is underrated.

  33. Lovely story. I struggle with the same thoughts as well sometimes but our love always seems to grow stronger over the years. My wife is there when I need her most and that is not when i am flying high and everything is rosey, it is when things are not going so well and she steps in to cheers me up.

  34. Megan,
    I love you and your husband for being so damn real and cool. thanks for writing this.

  35. Because a few comments have alluded to this and it reminded me of something I read a few years ago:
    There was some kind of study that confirmed that married couples (I assume all of this can also be applied to couples in that stage of life without the piece of paper) do indeed have less sex. However, that study also found that (for the women at least) the quality of the sex felt improved and they were (this was attributed to a feeling of security) able to orgasm easier.

    I guess this falls into the same vein as other thoughts along the general sentiment of: Change is unavoidable, but different doesn’t necessarily mean worse. (Though work is required to make the chages take the direction you want them to.)

  36. Yep, laughs from threats to name kids daft things, I’ve been there. My boyfriend is threatening me with ÞøĈñær (approximately pronounced “Thursnyar”). As Simpsons fans, we are also considering Rudiger and Bort.

  37. I don’t know how to express just how much I needed to read this. Lately I’ve been dealing with a lot of the same feelings, as well as my own version of family issues. I had a similar breakdown a couple of days ago and my FH was right by my side to help me sort through my emotions and cheer me up. This article really helped me put things in perspective and realize how lucky I am:) Thanks so much for your honesty!

  38. Okay. This is a great post. I’ve grappled with the same thoughts- I miss the all consuming obsession we had for each other for the first 6 months to a year. But you’re right- a growing relationship is amazing in itself and we are still learning more about each other.

  39. thank you so much for this! (and the quote)
    I’ve been feeling the same way and then feeling terribly guilty for feeling that way. It’s good to hear that there are so many in the same boat. We’ve been together for over 8 years and will be married in 3 months. eek!

  40. I think this is my favorite post here ever, and definitely one of the best things I’ve ever read (online or IRL). You’ve summed up such a universal feeling in women of all ages here and for me as well. So, thank you (and all the commenters, you guys rock) for being so validating and comforting. And huzzah to partners who are 100% supportive and there for the weepy times of doubt. <3
    "Fake" kid names: Shoggoth and Cuthwulf (one of his viking ancestors)

  41. This is so similar to the post I just wrote a couple days ago on my blog! It’s so important for me to hear this, as a 7 year relationship is headed into marriage. Sometimes I feel as though the romance is over, and then I walk in to find my FH made my favorite drink or set up our movie night. THe fact he knows me inside and out is far better than any new relationship stress!

  42. When a woman get’s married she has to be willing to put aside her “idea” of what marriage is all about and embrace all the wonderful treasures she never knew marriage could be. The moment she succeeds at doing that, she’ll realize that the honeymoon is not over in a matter of two weeks but encompass a lifetime of love and laughter coupled with sorrow and joy.

  43. Oh, I cried when I read this. I’ve definitely had this exact progression of thought, particularly since I’ve also recently heard about marital difficulties of a couple very close to us. My husband is very good at helping me get through the crying and doubt and stress and worry, both at the initial shock and when it (occasionally) recurs. It is love that helps us through difficult times as well as the awesome sexy times (which do NOT have to disappear, regardless of how old we get). Deep love, plain and simple. And I am so grateful for it.

  44. I’m going to post this anonymously because I almost can’t believe I’m sharing it in any sort of public venue, but here goes: I’ve been with FH for 11 years. We’re getting married in less than a month. While I *whole-heartedly* agree with this post and all the comments, I’ll admit that I have my weak moments where I just lust for that feeling of “new love” again. So what do I do?

    Well, I’ve always had an active imagination and been prone to elaborate day-dreams, so I imagine what exactly it would be like if FH and I met today. I have a million different scenarios in my head – we meet at work, through mutual friends, while traveling, etc… I construct elaborate fantasies about what it *would* be like to fall in love with him all over again, but at this very moment instead of 10 years ago. And you know what? That’s pretty freaking amazing to think about what that would be like.

    Now, lest this sound sad because I have to “supplement” my relationship with fantasy…that’s not really how I see it. Basically this is an exercise in reflecting on what is so totally awesome about the way we complement each other. It’s a reminder that if I met him today, I would fall head over heels in love with him, all over again. I usually dream these little dreams while falling asleep at night, or in the early hours of the morning when I’m not really ready to get up yet. The best part is that when I snap out of fantasyland…there he is. That guy I’ve been dreaming about!

    May sound crazy, but really, if you’re prone to day-dreaming and feeling even the slightest bit down about your old, “boring” love, I say give it a try. It’s a great way to combine (simulated) new love butterflies with the realizations of just what’s so great about your old love. :o)

    • Must be…

      That’s brilliant! I think I am going to try this sometime soon. I’ve been with my guy for over 15 years and I too miss the thrill of someone new. What a great way to recapture that, and still keep your partner in your mind and heart!

  45. He’s not excited about kids, so we have had variations on the following

    He: If we had a kid, we would name it Cheeseburger.
    Me: I’m not naming my child Cheeseburger!
    He: Okay, no kids then!

    (he thinks he’s soooo clever)

  46. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! ive been struggling with the idea that after 3 years together, my boy and i are not that fiery passionate romanticism that we had in the beginning. I was somewhat spoiled with that fact that only 6 months in we began living 300 miles apart, so that new “oh my god i love you so much i wanna jump you now” started back up from seeing each other only once a month. Now that we live together ive become paranoid that we are becoming roomates who kiss. I keep wanting the big romantic jesture to tell me he still loves me, and im overlooking the fact that i KNOW he loves me. Ive also realized that im really one sided in that cause i dont feel the need to prove that i love him. its just nice to here that what we are doing and experiencing is right, and that by having this we are like a married couple, but in a good way!

  47. I admire the sentiment of this post, but I would also like to point out an alternative mindset. There are many very committed couples and spouses who participate in polyamory. They have happy marriages, and they also enjoy the spark of “Brand New Love” with others. It’s not a black and white, either/or choice for everyone 🙂

    • Rebecca, you are right on the money there. In addition, I have found that when you are polyamorous, the spark of being with someone new brings a spark back to the main relationship as well. It’s great not to have to choose, and to be able to experience all the shades of love possible.

      • I would love to see a poly celebration* on offbeat bride! I’m guessing none have been submitted, otherwise it would have been posted by now.

        *and actually, any sort of BDsm-community representation would be awesome. I came across a collaring ceremony on a site that makes fun of wedding pictures, and it made me kind of sad inside, sad that the only BDsm wedding I could find online was represented as something freakish and gross. I’d love to see pictures and details in a way that isn’t “Look how different. Ew! Oh no!” and more “Look how different! Awesome! High five!”

        You know?

  48. You know it’s funny, for the longest time in my teens and 20s, I swore I would never get married, because I always wanted to be falling in and out of love. I was like a feelings junkie. But then two things happened. I grew up and realized that constantly falling in deep dramatic love, fighting to keep the passion high and then breaking up, is no way to build a stable life. Also, I fell in love with my now husband, and it was so mind-blowingly awesome that I realized I would never, ever want to find “new love” again, because it just couldn’t hold a candle to what I was feeling at that time.

  49. Hi,

    We thought about having the second one of these readings at our wedding, but my husband was worried it would make him cry. The first just makes me smile.

    Funny wedding readings – Unititled by Bee Rawlinson
    Love me when I’m old and shocking
    Peel off my elastic stockings
    Swing me from the chandeliers
    Let’s be randy bad old dears.
    Push around my chromed Bath Chair
    Let me tease your white chest hair
    Scaring children, swapping dentures
    Let us have some great adventures
    Take me to the Dogs and Bingo
    Teach me how to speak the lingo
    Bone my eels and bring me tea
    Show me how it’s meant to be
    Take me to your special places
    Watching all the puzzled faces
    You in shorts and socks and sandals
    Me with warts and huge love-handles
    As the need for love enthralls
    Wrestle with my damp proof smalls
    Make me laugh without constraint
    Buy me chocolate body paint
    Hold me safe throughout the night
    When my hair has turned to white
    Believe me when I say it’s true
    I’ve waited all my life for you

    The Beauty of Love
    The question is asked: “Is there anything more beautiful in life than a young couple clasping hands and pure hearts in the path of marriage? Can there be anything more beautiful than young love?” And the answer is given: “Yes, there is a more beautiful thing.
    “It is the spectacle of an old man and an old woman finishing their journey together on that path. Their hands are gnarled but still clasped; their faces are seamed but still radiant; their hearts are physically bowed and tired but still strong with love and devotion. Yes, there is a more beautiful thing than young love. Old love.”

  50. I’m getting married in just over a couple weeks, so I’m a bride to be. But my man and I have been together for over 14 years – so we are definitely Old Love.

    And it really is the best. It may not be flutter in my stomach exciting like new love – but to me new love was always wrapped up in insecurity and anxiety too.

    I feel so lucky to have a love that I feel absolutely secure in, to love a man I know so completely well and that knows me so completely well, that I trust in a way that can only come from time.

    We make an effort (an enjoyable and pleasant effort) to be romantic with each other and to show appreciation and still say please and thank you and all that. We kiss A LOT and say I Love You A LOT.

    We’ve been through all sorts of good and all sorts of bad and our relationship just keeps getting better and better. Each year that passes our love becomes deeper, stronger, and more beautiful. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

  51. Aw, thanks for posting this! To echo previous comments, I’m so glad to see posts about being married and not just planning a wedding. Really, we’re all planning a wedding in preparation for a marriage. (More or less anyway.)

    Last night, my FH told me, “Sometimes after I hug you, you look at me with a smile that’s very special. It looks like you’re the happiest girl in the world, and it reminds me why I’m the happiest guy in the world.” That’s worth a million new relationships to me.

  52. I, too, was worried about the direction my relationship with my fiancé was going. Last fall, before I left for Basic Training, so much of the time we spent together consisted of, “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” that I was terrified I’d come back and find out we had nothing in common anymore. The breathless, heart-pounding thrill was gone. And come January, I was going to BCT in Missouri, then AIT in Virginia, and then getting stationed in Oklahoma, all while he finished his degree back home in New Jersey. I would get to see him for 2 days at the end of Basic, a week and a half before I left for OK, and MAYBE he’d be able to afford to fly out to see me some time in August, and that’s all I’d see of him until maybe a week before our wedding in December! A whole year with less than 3 weeks to spend together.

    But while the last 7 months have been hard on both of us, they’ve made me realize one thing: what we had never died, it only matured. We were starting to grow out of the “new love” phase. “New love” might not have survived the separation, let alone the profound changes Army training makes in a person. But my FH and I are still going stronger than ever, even with 1500 miles between us. Traditionally romantic outings may be out of the question (not to mention sex), but there is still romance in little things.

    Like the letter he sent me in BCT that was 10 pages long because he included descriptions of every single card in the Magic: the Gathering set that was releasing–because we both agree that the best part of a new release is spoiler season!

    Like the way he tells me “You’re gonna destroy this thing” before every PT test, even if it’s a retake because I failed the run AGAIN.

    Like the way he texts me every day just to say “I love you.”


    The thought still lingered in my mind. What if, when we do get married and he moves out here with me, we lose it again?

    So what I wrote this long, rambling comment to say is, thank you, because now I realize that we won’t. Our relationship may continue to change, and I hope it will–for without change there can be no growth, and without growth there can only be death.

  53. Someone out there must have known that I really needed to read this today. Thank you.

  54. 1~thank you megan for the great words 🙂

    2~thank you for that amazing quote which has been added to possibilities of what i want my friend to say during the ceremony.

    3~kids names…once upon a time, my (former) best friend told me i should never have kids, because i would come up with names like elvis and elvira for fraternal twins, or jareth for a boy (BIG labyrinth fan), or trixibelle for a grrl. nowadays, when i text my favorite half “if we have twins i’m naming the elvis aaron and jesse garon after elvis and his twin”, his response is “what if they’re grrls?”, so i reply “don’t care! not changing it!” and he just sends me 😀 he’s amamzing!

    • I was almost named after a boy because boys are always first, even though the ultrasound said that I was going to be a boy, I don’t think my dad really believed it.
      I almost had a boy’s name. 😛

  55. Ten years into a relationship, I am SO glad I will never have to look for a relationship again. I am glad I will never have to experience new love with all of it’s awkward and funny feelings.
    I got the best love. And I still get those happy silly feelings for my honey.

  56. I have noticed this even in our long engagement! And I love it. I love this article for reminding me of it. Thank you! <3 You and your honey got it right!

  57. I think that as a relationship evolves, there are periods of renewed “new love.” Or perhaps more appropriately, “new new love.” Because it’s never quite the same–it’s deeper, richer, less thrilling but more joyful. I’ve experienced this with my husband a few times, and it’s usually been associated with a specific event, good or bad: our wedding, when he lost his job, finding out we’re expecting. It’s a renewed commitment to stand by each other no matter what, and that’s more romantic than any box of chocolates or bouquet of flowers could ever be. We’re in this for the long haul, and there’s no better feeling in the world.

    I suspect that the reason married couples have less sex is that they don’t need it to feel close to each other anymore. Not to say it isn’t still fun, it’s just… less important. It becomes a perk of the relationship rather than the centerpiece.

  58. I had an “old love” experience just this weekend. The hubby and I who have been married for 4 months, but together for almost 6 years, are not jokingly broke right now. Very recently laid off, finding work has been tough for him, and I just barely make enough to fulfill our most basic needs. I was getting a little grouchy looking through my facebook news feed at everyone’s great labor day plans, and having a little pity party because we couldn’t even afford the gas to drive to the beach. The hubby called me while running some errands and I laid out my depression. He felt bad, and the call ended. A few minutes later my phone rang again. He had called to say that we should bring out the grill tonight, and make burgers in our back yard in honor of labor day. This was an easy solution because we already had all the ingredients for burgers and home fries, but in my mopey state I would never have thought of it. I just thought that it was really sweet how he was able to create something out of nothing, and did it all just to make me feel better.

  59. YES! I love this post! I’ve been having the worries over the whole never feeling the feeling of new love/like thing again.

    But my FH is amazing and I know he will always be there and that is the best feeling!

  60. There may not be that little “spark” anymore, but there sure as hell can be a fire that’ll burn hotter and brighter within the relationship over time.

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