Being in a longterm relationship is [mostly] great. Sure, there are trying times as people change both mentally, emotionally, and physically with the passing of time. I have experienced this renaissance many times in both myself and my husband, as we have fumbled, succeeded, and grown in our 8+ year relationship.
A while back, we were coming down off a period of change. Generally change and growth are good--they keep us moving forward. Other times, change is hard or difficult--even painful. Even when we come out the other side of a transformation, the initial growing pains can be laborious. What doesn’t kill us, as they say, does indeed make us stronger. For this, I am so grateful.
In reflecting on changes throughout the course of our relationship, I noticed a particular perk that hadn’t occurred to me before: as we change, it’s sort of like sleeping with different people! Both of us believe we are morphing into the people we are meant to be, and while the core of a person remains, there are changes that are evident. Many of us in relationships know [all too well] the feeling of looking at someone and thinking “How is it after so long, I feel I barely know this person?!”
Beyond the emotional changes we incur as we get older and grow in love, there are also the physical aspects how people age and change. When I first met my husband we were both very much different than we are today. Younger, for one. Less comfortable (or at least used to) one another. I remember that sweetness of not knowing one another, and feeling like every touch, every kiss, every time we made love was a new, unique experience--because it was. The sex was wild, show-offy even... we were getting to know one another and we wanted to impress in the sack.
Physically, we were both so different than we were today. My body was slim, but not necessarily in shape. My hair was somewhere between long and short [I think I cringe at the memory of having a hairstyle that was vaguely reminiscent of a mullet.] My husband was Beatle-esque when first when met, with short hair and on a particularly crazy work out kick, he was skinny as a rail. He had these dimples that smiled at you, making you feel like the only person in existence.
Today, his hair is quite long, extending nearly halfway down his back, and I am the one with the short Beatle-esque ‘do. Now I am more the work out nut, running off to Zumba like it’s my full time job, and he’s more unconcerned. We look altogether different, but we are still magnetized to one another.
There have been times when I thought, “We know one another’s bodies like a well memorized page of a favorite book.” But our bodies have changed, and there are always new things to see and learn about one another. Our love making is completely different than it used to be... it’s not as urgent, and it’ more tender. Now that I am more fit, I don’t mind saddling up and giving my legs a work out. With his hair being so long, I am the one now pulling his hair [or getting it out of my face!] I have no hair for him to caress now, and I love how that has translated into him touching my back or lovingly stroking my face.
When I started thinking of our relationship and sex life in this way, I realized that it has always been this way, I had just never noticed before. Our sex life has evolved over the last years, and we have gone through more phases of appearance and preference than we ever realized. There were times when we were into certain things in bed and now we are into different things. The natural changes that we sometimes fight so vehemently really keeps things fresh not only from an emotional perspective, but also from a sexual standpoint. Sure, the essence of the person stays the same--that is who you fall in love with--but the details move in and out of truth, and morph into new beliefs, and new growth--and new sex!
There are always lulls or dips in relationships. My mother always warned me that relationships of any nature tend to ebb and flow, and that was really sound advice. It rings so true to me as an adult. Sometimes I tend to forget that trying times are followed by a newer and deeper understanding of myself and my husband. Truly, if your relationship is worth it’s weight in wedding vows, you always come out the other side. And as an added bonus? The two of you get to grow together... and it’s kind of like sleeping with other people as you evolve in the bedroom together as well as in life! Now that is the kind of love perk that really grabs my attention!