So apparently the word forever does not have three e’s. It’s fixed now. If you sent me email using it previous to this post, I didn’t get it. Nobody got it. Please send it again.
About seven months ago I decided to meet with a friend of mine who is a personal trainer. I decided it was time to get physical again after so many years of relative inactivity.
Some of the exercises I did required dynamic balance. I learned something incredibly important that day: that somewhere along the line between my college days and now I had completely lost my sense of balance. I wobbled around like a drunken prom date. God, it was embarrassing.
The funny thing is I really couldn’t pinpoint a period of my life when my balance was degrading. It just seems I had it one time, then I lost it.
Since then, I’ve been taking steps to recover my sense of balance.
This is also relevant to my dating my wife.
I realized fairly early on in our original dating relationship that she was going to be the one. So I went all in. Nothing else mattered. And that attitude showed in every aspect of my life. Old friends, work, school, relationship with my parents, everything suffered. At that time, it took me quite a while to realize what I managed to do to myself. I slowly learned balance between my relationship with my bride to be and everything else in my life.
Now, you would think that I would’ve remembered this. You would also be wrong.
Recently, it took the inquiries of a few good friends wondering what the hell had become of me and the knowledge that I had lost a few clients from my business because I could not prioritize time with them to wake me up to the situation.
I’m still learning balance. I’m balancing my professional life, my social life with friends and extended family, and my new dating life with my bride. It’s a struggle, I don’t deny it. Just like before, my inclination is to go all in. To ignore everything in my life outside of my bride. But I understand now that that’s doing her a terrible disservice.
For my newfound dating life to succeed I must relearn to be in balance.
In search for more information concerning dating my wife, I managed to find a particular internet community called reddit.com – or more exactly a sub Reddit called r/relationships.
Remember that scene in Star Wars episode IV: A New Hope? Where Obi-Wan Kenobi says “Moss Isley Spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious. ” Yeah. That’s r/relationships.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not reddit that’s the problem. It’s definitely not the people that are moderating that sub. They all seem pretty cool and levelheaded. And for the most part it’s not the people that are commenting on the posts (with the exception of the occasional troll, or person with an axe to grind). And in a way, it’s not even the people who post the questions. It’s the situations they find themselves in and how they react to them.
Let me give you some examples that have occurred over the last couple of days. Remember, these are just the subject lines:
- My (40F) wife (42F) has fallen in love with a woman (37F) she met last weekend (and wants to have sex with her). Advice needed.
- Do I tell my friend that her otherwise near perfect husband has a teenage daughter from a previous (possibly still legally binding) marriage that he walked away from?
- [Update one year later] My GF (20 4F) of over a year has unsettling attachments to her ex lovers and lies about interactions with them. (29 AM)
- [Update] me (25M) with my GF (25F) of more than half a year, she’s finalizing her divorce and the mediator asked her out for drinks/dinner last night.
- My (32M ) girlfriend (27F) of three years has cheated on me twice that I know of. I just caught her again, but she doesn’t know I know. I need advice as to what to do with this information.
- [Advice] my (23F) boyfriend (24M) said that racy texts to coworker (33F) were staged and just a “test” to see if I still cared about him?
You see what I mean? It’s enough to make a stone cry. If you think the subject lines are bad, you should try reading the posts. On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t. Unless you feel that you’re just too damn happy with your life and you need to be taken down a notch. If you’re really, really in the mood to be depressed, try reading r/deadbedrooms. That ought to do it.
After a little bit of thought, I have come to the conclusion it’s not the people who are actively trying to hurt their spouse/significant other/friend, it’s the ones who simply don’t care. The fact that their words and deeds are affecting other living, breathing, feeling human beings simply doesn’t occur to them.
My wife asks me why I continue to read about these terrible things. Well, that’s a good question. One reason is that intermixed throughout these terrible stories are some awesome stories of people doing the right thing in the right way at the right time. Being loving, fully actuated human beings. The other reason is occasionally there are posts about people who want to date their wives, and asking for advice. I learn a lot from these posts.
Granted, the signal-to-noise ratio is approaching 100 to 1. So I guess that’s not the only reason I continue to read.
You ever watch the X-Files TV show? I know, two science-fiction references in one post. I’m really working to get my geek accreditation, but bear with me. The main character, Mulder, had a poster in his office with a picture of a UFO on it. Underneath the UFO was printed the phrase “I just want to believe”.
That’s my real reason for reading these posts. You see, I just want to believe that all these terrible stories are not a true reflection of our society. That a more accurate representation would have a majority of awesome stories – of husbands who love their wives, respect their wives, and want to stay married with them forever. I want my cynical self to be proven wrong.
I just want to believe.
Back when I was going to college, when I was first dating my wife, I was extremely spontaneous. Let me give you an example:
I picked up my unwitting bride-to-be at school during her lunch break and asked her if I could take her out to lunch. She was very excited about this, and inquired where I was going to take her. I told her about this cool little Italian restaurant called Geppetto’s. Really nice place, fairly inexpensive, a hip college hang out. I even told her I knew of a shortcut to get there. What I neglected to mention was that Geppetto’s was located in a town called Ashland approximately one hour and 45 minutes away from where I went to college, via a “highway” that the locals have dubbed “dead Indian road”.
What she was expecting was a quick 45 minute lunch break. What she got was a crazy, romantic, mildly insane road trip. When I eventually got her back home, it was half past dinner time.
Since those relatively carefree days, I have effectively taken my inner spontaneous child and beaten him to death with a stick.
I had painfully learned that trying to run your own business, and help raise two children, left little room for spontaneity. First my PalmPilot, then my iPhone, became my constant companion. The calendar app metered out my life in 10 minute increments. Every day events were planned out weeks in advance. Crucial events were planned out months in advance.
There is simply no way that I could turn back the clock to my old Bohemian ways. And honestly, I wouldn’t want to. Our current lifestyle and standard of living requires a large amount of scheduling. But I still wanted to give her a taste of that experience. I also wanted to make sure that my inner spontaneous child, although gravely wounded, was still kicking.
Geppetto’s closed it’s doors August 2011, so it was impossible to re-create that experience. Besides, just like the greeting cards, I want to start small.
So last Sunday at around 2:30 in the afternoon, for no discernible reason whatsoever other than the impulse to have fun I grabbed my wife & drove down to a cool little coffee joint. Located downtown in a funky/touristy area, and nestled in next to a pond and a city park full of hundred year old Pondarosa trees, this sit down coffee joint was well known for signature drink – the dirty hippie. Half chai and half espresso, and covered with an espresso infused whipped cream topping, this drink was to coffee what Michelangelo was to ceiling painters. One for me, and one for my wife. We nestled together in this little side room that had windows overlooking an adjacent breezeway.
I noticed that parked in the breezeway was an old-time Horsecart being pulled by an enormous draft horse. It’s owner was folding up a sign that said downtown tour rides were available.
My inner spontaneous child was whispering something, but I couldn’t make it out. It wasn’t until we had finished our coffees and we were getting ready to leave that I finally understood what my spontaneous muse was saying: “hey, old dude, ‘nuther opportunity here.”
By this time the horse and buggy had meandered halfway down the breezeway away from us. I broke out into a trot myself trying to catch him, leaving my wife behind in her high-heeled shoes.
I finally caught up to him and once I got my breath back, engaged his services. I help my wife into the buggy, then clambered on in. There were these neat little blankets we could snuggle up underneath. And just then it started to snow. It was a light snow that really added to the atmosphere of the horse and buggy ride. As we pulled out onto the downtown streets, I noticed that we were being stared and pointed at by all the other tourists on the sidewalks. Quite a few of them got out their cameras and smart phones and started taking pictures of me and wife and I are on our little romantic buggy ride. My wife noticed this and cuddled up even closer.
About a half an hour and several fantastic kisses later, our horseman took us back to our parked car.
Not bad for a first attempt, if I do say so myself. I think my inner spontaneous child is proud of me.
As I write this, my wife is currently with her “stitching friends”. They meet at a local quilting shop, talk about life and everything in it. They compare notes about their husbands, and offer advice to one another. They commiserate about their in-laws. They talk about their children and what they hope for them.
Occasionally, quilting is accomplished. Really, I’ve seen pictures.
This gives me an opportunity to sit at the kitchen table undisturbed and write a card to her.
When we were dating I bought a huge box of cards from the college bookstore. They were from a company called Blue Mountain Arts. I recently remembered this and I looked them up on the Internet. I thought it would be neat to get a bunch of these cards again.
Turns out they’re still in business. I couldn’t find too much of a selection online, but they were sold locally at two locations. One location was at our local hospital. The cards there only consisted of “get well soon” and “sorry for your loss”. Not so much what I was looking for.
The other location that sold their cards was in this fun little community 20 miles away where we were headed to go kick up our heels, have a nice dinner, have a few drinks and see a movie (as a sidenote, this is when the idea for this blog was born – after two margaritas with my wife). So when my wife decided to go peruse a quilting supply store, I snuck off to the stationary to buy a pile of cards.
So here I am sitting at the kitchen table staring at this card with a pen in hand. It seemed a lot easier to write these cards 30-odd years ago. Honestly, I have so much more to write about now. But the words just won’t come. My thoughts are all over the map and won’t be constrained to a little square of cardboard.
I think it’s a lot like a physical skill, like chopping wood or balancing on the tip of your toes. If you don’t do it on a regular basis you lose the knack, the ability to do it well or indeed, at all…
Well, I bought 13 cards, so I’m going to have some opportunity to practice. Best to start small. One sentence should do.
You are my everything. Love, Mike.
It’s a start. She just texted me she’s coming home. I gotta find the envelope.
I thought the best place to start was to describe who I think my blog is for (besides me).
My viewpoint is that of almost-50-year-old man in a monogamous relationship with his wife. My relationship with my wife has been and currently is really good. I didn’t decide to start dating my wife because something was terribly wrong. I wanted to start dating my wife again because I want an absolutely excellent relationship – not just a very good one.
So, if you are a 17-year-old looking for dating advice, I’m fairly sure there are better places to look. If you are a wife, looking to date her husband, there are literally tons of resources available for you other than this website. If you’re in a non-monogamous relationship, looking to take it up a few notches, I probably won’t be speaking directly to you.
If you’re a husband, whose relationship with his wife is currently in crisis, I think you need to talk to a therapist, not read my blog.
As soon as I decided that I wanted to date my wife again, I started doing research. I’ve looked at tons of websites, read plenty of blogs, read books and magazines, and spoken to people from every walk of life. So far, I have come to one unavoidable conclusion: there’s not enough love in the world.
Regardless of how old you are, regardless of what type of relationship you have, regardless of where you live, if you read this blog and get absolutely anything good out of it, well, you’ve made me a happy person.
And you’ve added just a bit more love in this world.