I got married in 1971, and back then, I didn’t understand what I do now about long term relationships. As I’ve said so many times before, I got lucky. I stumbled along the path of hearts and flowers, probably because my head has always been safely tucked in a rich fantasy life. I remember things as no one else does and I’ve stopped second-guessing this and just accepted this fantasy world as being every bit as real as anything else I’ve actually experienced.
The topic of love is fascinating to me and I’ve been a student of the effects of love on brain function. People meditate for lots of reasons–for clarity, peace, to calm their anxiety–why not for love?
Did you know that married people are five times more likely to have sex two or three times a week than are singles? A Vanderbilt study said, “While people get older and busier, as a relationship proceeds they also get more skillful–in and out of the bedroom.” There are the seasons of the heart, too: when we’re close, when we’re in our separate worlds, when we fight, when we make up. We aren’t one thing all the time. I didn’t understand this when I was young. Yes, I write younger women as perhaps a fantasy ideal to fit in with the genre or characters I’m using, but I’d much prefer to be the age I currently am, compared to the care-free 20-something. And to be that woman, all I have to do is close my eyes or pick up my favorite book. I have learned we can actually physically change our brain and that this change is now being studied in psychology today as totally healthy. Yes, I said reading love stories, fantasizing and meditating on love, lust, sex and all parts in between, is actually life sustaining. It’s good for you!
A recent study of long term marriages and passion says this: “One thing you learn over time is that no matter how log you live together, two people always inhabit separate worlds. Some part of your partner is deeply unknowable.” Who besides me thinks this is sexy? Sara Ban Breathnach calls it “the search for the undiscovered other.” Like an explorer of old, searching for love, for the adventure of love and being loved, is one of the sexiest things we can do. And it doesn’t mean you have to sleep around. In fact, I’ll wager sleeping around actually ruins it. One study calls it sexual mystery. I laugh when mystery writers tell me they can’t write romance–the biggest mystery of the ages!
In a long term relationship my experience is that you wander around the halls of the heart, not knowing when the encounter will stop and start, but you know the potential is always there, might happen when you least expect it, but you have certainty that it is there, ready to surprise and thrill you. “The familiarity of a partner is soothing. Is it too calming for couples to get it on? Or does it open the door for intense sexual arousal?” Quite different than being out on the prowl, looking for something else when the perfect love is right at your side.
I allow myself to be conquered and captured, and all the sexy implications that that brings. I willingly submit to one man only, and turn that submission into a creative exploration of passion. That keeps sex fresh and new, ever-changing. It isn’t dependent on frequency or some other arbitrary criteria. We are for each other what we want to be for each other. I will feel this way still even if he precedes me in death. The fantasies and the memories will never leave me while I live and breathe.
I guess I would have to say that perfect love is what you dream it to be. That place I take with me everywhere. Always.
And is there anything more sexy than the picture of a bed with tussled sheets?
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.