Without dating, marriage doesn’t survive – 06/12/2023 – Becky S. Korich

I’ve been dating for 23 years (same person). We called in the middle of the day, we had fun with each other’s nonsense, we sang together at concerts (musical taste: a basic requirement for a marriage to work), we philosophized, we kissed on the mouth, we drank wine, we exchanged notes.

But sometimes we forget that he is a boyfriend and play husband and wife. It’s when the youth of passion fades and the freshness of love fades. He lays down on the couch, watches his series, I get into other things, friends, Instagram. I overdo the chestnuts. He falls asleep on the couch. I am irritated by his snoring, which seems louder, despite being the same. He doesn’t notice my new hair, which to him looks the same. What once enchanted us, goes unnoticed.

We sat down each in our own place at the table and had dinner together, only alone, absorbed. We complain about the weight of responsibilities, the problems of everyday life, the heat, the cold. We are, at the same time, fed up with and needy of the other. Few words. No laughter. A peck at most. We fell asleep looking at the opposite side of the bed. We sleep married, hoping to wake up boyfriends.

On the dividing line — I would say “thin line” if I could stand the expression — between dating and marriage, the same situation can have two realities. In married mode, they quarrel angrily; in boyfriends mode, with passion. Married, support each other; boyfriends, if you want. Married, complain about the routine, boyfriends, bless her. Boyfriends, surprise each other; married, they do everything the same every day. Married, they pretend to be asleep; lovers, expect to be awakened. Married, the bad beard scratches; boyfriends, she tickles. Married, jealousy is an infamy; boyfriends, a pepper. Married people postpone, boyfriends have urgency.

According to some definitions, dating is a transitory state, the period in which people get to know each other, maintain an affective relationship, and then materialize the union or not. This idea sounds boring to me. I prefer to believe in the version of dating as being an eternal condition (while it lasts) of any love relationship, including marriage. Marriage does not exclude dating, but without dating there is no surviving marriage.

The prolonged coexistence between two people, while consolidating the roots, tends to calm the desire for nascent love. It is precisely in this ambivalence that love is balanced: two opposing forces act concomitantly, one that attracts us to the center in search of conservation, another that pushes us away to free us from the burdens that the stable relationship imposes.

When married, the heart beats; when lovers, it throbs. That’s why we can’t just stand the intensity of dating: the heart wasn’t made just to beat strong, uninterrupted. Love is renewed while resting, to then go back to dating the same person as if it were the first date.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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