Just something I was thinking about today, how do people in very long relationships and marriages keep the spark alive when you’ve probably already tried/done everything?
My longest relationship was 2 years so obviously has nothing on you long-term peeps!
Also has anyone considered non-monogamy or talked about it with their partners?
I have no super long term spark-dying relationship advice to bring from personal experience either…however, I listened to this great podcast recently that spoke about sex and love and how they are totally different experiences. The ‘sexpert’ suggested that in order to keep the spark alive in a long term union, we really must keep sex and love separate, because once we begin integrating the two, we lose the passion and spark of ‘newness’ thus begins the desire for other partners. She suggests keeping sex quite sexual and raunchy and not allowing it to become ‘love sex’. An interesting thought and an idea I hadn’t thought of before.
I have certainly considered non-monogamy for this exact reason, the fear that in a long term union, the sex will just fall away and I will lose that part of my identity. I think it is certainly an important conversation to have, and it feels significant to me in any romantic relationship that there be a large degree of openness around this area, whether that be conversational or in practice.
That is super interesting @earthmama! I can’t say I’ve heard of the concept of compartmentalising to that degree, I imagine it’d be pretty hard to do in practice too.
I’ve always been someone for whom sex is as much an emotional connection as it is a spiritual one so I wonder how it’d play out for me. I’ll certainly try it in my next relationship though.
Have you ever been in a non-monogamous relationship? How did it go?
It’s my eight year anniversary soon and, honestly? I’m not sure how to keep the spark alive!
I think the longer term the relationship, the more honest you can get about sex – there are times where you, your partner or even both of you might not be that interested in sex. I think that’s kind of normal, but can’t say for sure.
For me acknowledging that the ‘spark’ ebbs and flows and relaxing about it, and focusing on other nice, pleasurable things in the relationship like affection, and quality time together helps bring the spark back.
Lately, I’ve been having a bit of trouble with my own sex drive (shared it here), which has made things a bit more difficult.
It is great to hear your honest opinion and lived experience @aunt_flo. Do you ever worry what the lack of spark will mean for your relationship now or down the track. Obviously, this is a totally normal and expected experience, but I wonder how it feels for you in the midst of it and whether it makes you second guess anything?
@champagnepapi I have never been in a non-monogamous relationship knowingly or willingly, which is to say it was monogamous on my part. I was in my late teens and early twenties during these experiences however and I didn’t have the language or knowledge of self to fully articulate what I wanted. Given these qualities are paramount to non-monogamous relationships, I certainly was not ready. I think I would handle these situations differently now.
What kind of non-monogamy are you interested in exploring?
@aunt_flo 8 years!! That’s bloody amazing, congratulations! And thank you for sharing your lived experience with us, it’s very reassuring to know that it’s not only common, but normal to be grappling with these things.
@EarthMama I can’t say I’m looking to explore non-monogamy in my next relationship for sure but I do like reading around it and discussing it with people. As much as I love the concept of not relying on one person to meet all my needs and diversifying my connections, I would have to get over a lot of jealousy and insecurity.
@champagnepapi I totally hear you on this and it likely that you would have to get over these things. There is a great episode on ‘You Can’t Ask That’ (which is freely available online) that chats with people in non-monogamous relationships. I love the way a particular couple is super honest about how they’ve dealt with envy over the years but have not allowed it to prevent them from building the relationships they want to. I am so fascinated by the idea of debunking jealously and not normalising it as a feeling that should prevent us from proceeding with something. It is a particularly interesting emotion to explore because it is so uncomfortable, and yet, all it really does is point us in the direction of something we really want. Can you tell I’m trying to make friends with it?
To be honest @earthmama, having a dip in my sex drive has sort of made me reevaluate how I see myself, rather than how I see my relationship. We’re going okay through open communication (and a bit of frustration) but it happens! With my relationship with myself, it was like…if I’m not a sexual person, then who am I and what do I offer to a relationship? And the answer is a whole lot, and sex is just one part of what I (choose) to bring to a relationship.
The experience has also made me acutely aware just how much stress and other factors can affect your sex drive.
Thank you @champagnepapi!
That’s so interesting @aunt_flo, I suppose most things do come back to how we see ourselves. I am really glad for you that the experience came an opportunity for you to take stock of who you are in the absence of your sex drive. I think it is easy to forget how much emphasis we place on elements of our identity until we are left without them, however temporarily.