One of my favorite movies is Runaway Bride, a romantic comedy in which Julia Roberts plays a small-town girl who bolts before saying “I do”. Plenty of brides have cold feet. According to an article in Marie-Claire which I mention in my blog “why I’m not married”, an astonishing 30-percent of now divorced women knew they were marrying the wrong man as they walked down the aisle. With that in mind, I can’t help wondering if its human nature to have doubts about the one we’re with. Is there something innate which drives so many men (and women) to have infidelities? Are they testing the waters, merely seeking a way to confirm whether they have chosen correctly, or are they simply bored?
In my blog Single O.B.O., I talk about how Angelinos are reluctant to commit to a party or dinner date, because they are waiting for the better offer. The same can be said for relationships—at least in Los Angeles. What is it about people that we always think there is something better on the other side of the fence? We’re not necessarily unhappy in our relationship, but we always feel we can be happier. I guess that’s why it’s called the pursuit of happiness.
No relationship is perfect. There are ups and downs. There are waves to be ridden and storms to weather. A writer friend once said to me “changing agents is like changing deck chairs on the Titanic.” While the idea that all relationships are sinking ships is rather cynical, it could be said that Holland America and the Princess line are both cruise ships—they both have entertainment, nourishment, and the promise of romance. Reminds me of The Love Boat, a classic TV show that endured an entire decade on network television on the premise of finding true love at sea. It might be best to just let that other ship pass in the night and not contemplate lowering the life raft and seeing if you can make the uncharted water over to the other boat which may look bigger and better from afar. You may discover the pool to be larger in lieu of a smaller shuffleboard court. But, is that really a better offer?
Relationships are hard work, like maintaining one’s figure and physical fitness. Therapy alone won’t cut it. It takes more than an hour a week to build muscle mass and endurance. The same can be said for relationships. If you want to maintain your core strength on the field and off, and be that champion athlete, you need to practice a little every day. Communication, patience, and passion are important. Once you find what you want, don’t get out the binoculars to scour the decks of a passing cruise ship wondering if you can do better. Instead, maintain what you’ve accomplished and don’t get complacent. Continue to build on what you have already gained.
Don’t consider your relationship work. The word “work” creates a negative connotation. Perception is a state of mind. Just like wondering if the grass is greener, the way we look at something becomes the way we see it. If we determine that a relationship will be good and healthy, then it will be. If we’re determined to be negative, then we will be shrouded in darkness and complications. Perhaps, a life-preserver, swimming to shore or some other drastic change is not what’s needed. Maybe we just need a little Captain Morgan’s rum—a dash of spice, a pinch of sunny optimism, and a sprinkle of gratitude for the good that already exists and we have a magical cocktail that keeps us happy for a very long time.
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