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I saw them at Starbucks: a couple probably 10 years older than I am, acting like lovestruck college. Their ease and delight with each other was palpable. After what I pd were years together, she clearly was still interested in and excited by her husband. Back then, every other sentence Paul said made me double over with laughter. Even his idiosyncrasies — a germophobe, he presses elevator buttons with his knuckles, not his fingertips — seemed special and smart. Sex was never more than a glance across the room away.
No one — certainly no man — had ever made me feel that way. And I loved it! Fast forward to We traveled every year, had savings in the bank, and were certainly happy. But Lord knows I was tempted. Very tempted. Our marriage felt like a book I loved but had read too many times. As my boredom blossomed, I started to spend more time away from the house — and him. I hung out more with my church sisters and never turned down a prayer meeting or a weekend activity, eagerly pouncing on the breaks from my regular life.
But a light bulb went on when I saw that couple at Starbucks. I knew in my heart that their lasting kind of love was what I wanted for Paul and me. I fell back on my research training and pulled from the library as many self-help relationship books as I could borrow at one time. On the treadmill at the gym, instead of fantasizing about Alpha Teacher and his big stick of chalk, I read them all cover to cover.
A few weeks, some T. Jakes, Steve Harvey and a lot of soul-searching later, I knew what I had to do. I sat down with Paul and gently told him how I felt. First, and most important, I admitted my own complacency. My honesty set the table for Paul to reveal his own feelings. Just hearing him say that made me feel nauseous and ashamed.
Sharing our feelings that evening was difficult but cathartic, and for the first time in forever we felt connected to and understood by each other again. Drawing from what I learned in my research, we set some ground rules. We promised to prioritize each other; to put down our phones when we talked; and to really look at each other when we did. We made an effort to bust out of our rut and do new things together.
Take it from me, paddleboarding is a powerful aphrodisiac! It took months for us to incorporate these habits into our daily lives. And there were times when we both got frustrated and discouraged. But one night, finally home after an accident on Interstate 4 turned what should have been a minute drive into a minute nightmare, Paul turned to me and told me how much he admired my patience and composure and that I never lost my sense of humor. I looked back into his, felt that familiar flip in my stomach, and self-consciously looked away.
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I’m a Happily Married Dad But Bored as Hell And Want to Fix It. Is That Selfish?