“What do you do when your relationship goes from feeling HOLY HELL AMAZING to more, like, regular and good but not so much in need of caps-lock anymore?”
-Question submitted by Anonymous
Mahdia Lynn says:
Good news! Every relationship eventually faces the transition from its star struck honeymoon “i s2g this girl farts rainbows” phase to something a little more everyday-normal and even-occasionally-boring. This is a good thing! If people in relationships were always stuck in that early infatuation stage,nobody would get anything done. We’d all be too busy soulfully gazing into each others’ eyes to go to work or pay taxes or remember to turn the stove off. Society would CRUMBLE.
There’s a lot going on when you first get together and hit it off with somebody. There’s a very strong hormonal side to infatuation—all that dopamine and serotonin and chemical soup firing off in your brain that feels amazing and shades everything in shiny brilliance, making every moment seem like the most real thing you’ve ever felt. Combine that with the excitement of getting to know somebody new and funny and interesting? That cocktail of hormones and exciting new-ness is an AMAZING feeling. Love is a hell of a drug. Everything your partner does seems like an expression of the divine made human. But that intoxication fades—eventually the feelings become familiar, the hormonal cocktail calms down, you get to know a girl well enough and suddenly a fart is just a fart.
But is love less meaningful when it’s less intoxicating?
Here’s a story: I recently started re-reading my favorite book series for the second time this year. It’s maybe my seventh go at the trilogy since I first read it five years ago. The first time I read it, those books took over my life. I canceled plans, I called in sick to work, I survived on crackers and tap water because I could barely remind myself to eat. I couldn’t do anything but read. And it was amazing! I loved every moment of it. Every turn of the page was ripe with potential, every character’s arc and success and death happened in real time; it consumed me, and I welcomed the ecstasy and devastation of it all. In the end, my friends understood my absence—we’ve all been there, right? My paycheck was less forgiving.
Going at the book series a second time, it felt different than it did that first ecstatic, electric marathon which consumed me six months earlier. With another go around, the perspective and familiarity let me see patterns and techniques I hadn’t noticed at first. Here now, a seventh time turning these pages, I swear I know every beat to every chapter. Yet somehow I’m still seeing new patterns, making connections I hadn’t before, relating to the characters in new ways as my own experiences inform my reading. It doesn’t stop being my favorite book just because I know what happens at the end of chapter twelve in book three —if anything the familiarity is comforting, and I know there will always be something new in those pages for me to find. If I expected to feel the exact same as I did that first read five years ago, I’d never read again.
If you expect being with your partner to feel the exact same as it does in that early hormonally charged infatuation stage you can find yourself jumping from relationship to relationship, chasing that high and burning out and running on to the next. Let your relationship be like a favorite, cherished book. Ride those waves of ecstatic, iridescent newness. Grow with it, let it change you. Don’t mistake familiarity for boredom. If this is someone you’re meant to be with you’ll be finding new joys together again and again.
THEN AGAIN maybe you get through that hormonally charged infatuation stage and come out on the other side to realize you and your partner aren’t meant to be together. That’s okay, too! The same way you shouldn’t mistake familiarity for boredom, don’t mistake the fireworks of young love as a sign you need to stay together forever. ALWAYS REMEMBER that wanting to leave is enough.
I can’t tell you if you should stay together or not. How do you feel? Is it just the fading of those fireworks that you’re afraid of, or is it a realization of irredeemable difference now that you’re not blinded by them? A little soul searching, probably a few good hard conversations with your partner would be a good idea. Talk it out. Listen. Trust your gut.
Once you get through that first ecstatic read, it may just turn out you’ve found your favorite book.
Mahdia Lynn is a writer, public speaker and community organizer living on the stolen and colonized land currently recognized as the United States of America. When she isn’t working as coordinator of the Transgender Muslim Support Network she covers the geek beat as a staff writer for Muslim Girl, helps organize the annual LGBTQ Muslim Retreat, or writes as tumblr’s resident trans muslimah satirist, she somehow finds the time to be a professional chef. Check out her Facebook for new articles or upcoming speaking engagements, her website for collected works, or Twitter if you’re bored I guess? She never really figured out what twitter is for.
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