I sometimes wonder if I’m really happy in my marriage.
Obviously, Ashley and I have issues. Every married couple does. If you’re married, and you don’t have issues, then I posit that you’re merely turning a blind eye to something that will, one day, bite you in the ass. Every marriage is a constant game of give and take, compromise and negotiation, a miniature U.N. Security Council meeting wherein you know SOMEone is going to veto your idea. (Probably the U.S. It’s what we do.)
Our issues, however, seem to be less obvious than other marriages I’ve known. For instance, most people constantly bicker about this or that. Who’s going to do the dishes, or the laundry. Whose turn is it to cook dinner? Why am I the only person who does any housework around here?! That sort of crap. It always seems to revolve around a sense of being disrespected by your partner.
And that’s really not the case for Ashley and me. On the surface, we are what most people consider to be the perfect couple. People regularly comment about how jealous they are of our relationship. We laugh substantially more than we bicker. When we do bicker, it’s something minor–you went to the gym without me, and I had to go alone, so I’m a little miffed. That sort of thing. We play video games together, watch movies, go jogging, do yoga… whatever. We cuddle in public, still hold hands and walk with our arms around each others’ waists. We are each other’s best friend. And it’s great spending your life with your best friend, someone with whom you can do and talk about almost anything, who gets you.
However, that level of happiness is… kind of boring, actually.
I think fighting brings people closer. Not those ridiculous fights, born of jealousy or resentment or just pure spite, but true disagreements about things. Verbally sparring from time to time with your cohabitating partner keeps you on your toes. It’s a necessary component of an engaging relationship. Not having that is just, somehow, unfulfilling.
Maybe that’s what it is. I’m not unhappy. I’m just fucking bored.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m easily distracted, and I quickly become disinterested in most things. This is why I engage in so many activities, why I’m at least passably proficient in numerous different skills. I need to be challenged, physically and intellectually. I need someone to stand up to me and say, “LOOK HERE, MOTHERFUCKER,” then lay down their version of the law. I need Ashley to disagree with me. But she doesn’t, because we each agree on just about everything.
Perhaps that kind of peaceful relationship is ideal to most people. Maybe that’s what they’re looking for, and what they’re so disappointed that they can’t find. But as idyllic as that may sound to you, dear readers, I promise you, it becomes old. Stale. Stagnant. Nothing changes. Every day is the same, hour after mind-numbingly similar hour. You fall into a routine. All spontaneity is lost to the machinations of comfort and harmony. Then the monotony begins to creep into other aspects of your life, until you realize that you have become a machine, operating on a regular clock, waking up without the alarm, eating the same boring bran flakes for breakfast, trudging to work, trudging home, trudging through everything you do because it’s all that you know anymore. You forget what it means to be alive, to explore, to experience, to connect with other people and the world around you.
I don’t want blissful happiness. Therein lies entropy, atrophy. I need something more dynamic. That need feeds my urge to dry hump everything I see into submission. Ashley’s returning disinterest in physical intimacy agitates this thing that lives in the back of my brain, that threatens to drive me insane if I don’t feed it. It reminds me that fucking someone else gives me the change I’m looking for, that element of risk, of discord. It gives me something to focus on so that the monotony of my daily life doesn’t consume me.
Now I sound like a husband in a television drama. The mid-lifer who desperately searches for something new. Kevin Spacey and his fish-faced teenage lover in American Beauty.
That’s precisely what I do not want to be. A trudger, playing at dynamism, testing the waters like a five year old contemplating the deep end, skirting the edges of danger while telling myself that I could do that, if I wanted. That’s not who I am, who I have ever been.
And I feel like, maybe, that’s who I run the risk of becoming.