I think I’ve identified the exact moment I often stop finding a new lover exciting.
A new lover is limitless potential. Anything can happen! The less you know about them, the easier it is to project endless possibilities onto them and the relationship. Maybe they’ll become a lifelong nesting partner or help me grow in important ways or help me accomplish my goals or we’ll travel the world together. And I can’t tell you how much I enjoy having amazing sex with men in my head.
Then, at some point I realize that not anything can happen. Anything can technically happen, but only a small sliver of things are likely. And the better you get to know someone, the narrower that band gets. Actually, the new lover doesn’t believe in a lifelong nesting partnership. Actually, the lover isn’t interested in the areas I want to grow in. They actually hate travel. And they have no idea how to fuck me.
Here’s an example. An ex of mine, Bob, is on good terms with his ex, Petal. When he’d tell Petal about stuff we’d done together, like buying a new mattress or going on a hike, she’d respond with feigned indignation. “You would never do that with me!”
The confusion stemmed from assumptions she’d made based on his incomplete responses. When he’d declined an invitation to go on a hike or upgrade the mattress he had meant not right now, but she’d thought he meant never.
Another ex recently shared that he was most jealous of one lover of mine when we were dating. And it wasn’t the sex he was jealous of, but the conversations. I knew he felt some jealousy but would have never thought it was about intellectual connection. It was especially surprising since this ex didn’t seem to like talking to me all that much, which I attributed to him finding me boring. He said he actually felt resigned.
We constantly make assumptions about our partners based on incomplete and sometimes faulty information because it is efficient and because it makes us feel safe.
If we dove deeply into everything our partner said we’d never get anything else done. Asking why your partner does or says or believes everything they do or say or believe just isn’t a good use of time.
We ask our partner about world travel and they say no and we assume they don’t like the idea of world travel. When in reality they’re tired or broke. And if we asked them in a few months they’d have an entirely different response but who wants to keep asking someone the same question over and over?
It’s also terrifying to grapple with the reality that we actually don’t know shit about our partners.
The reality is that our partners might actually hate our new dress or resent our cat or not want to meet our parents. The reality is that our partners could be lying to us about loving us right now and might at any moment admit the truth and upend our lives. So we make assumptions so we can get out of bed in the morning.
Have you heard the dating tip that you should take your date to a scary movie or on a roller coaster because they’ll associate you with feelings of excitement? Fear is a kind of arousal, and I submit that it’s very hard to get aroused without some kind of fear or risk involved. Even the most vanilla sex is exciting to the extent that it feels vulnerable. Great sex requires being seen, and being seen is kinda scary.
I don’t really have a ton of advice or wise words here. Shit’s hard, yo. But I will say that if you find your partnership boring, maybe what you need isn’t an affair or a new partner. Maybe what you need is to acknowledge how little you know them. Admit how precarious and uncertain everything really is. And be a little more open and vulnerable with them. That might be more frightening/sexy than you would have predicted.