1) Pyschological wisdom says the “in love” feeling only lasts 8-12 months, and then it’s gone. After that, love takes work. I’m rather convinced that most things in life worth having take work. Unfortunately, humans, being the stubborn and born for misery creatures that they are, like to ruin a good thing over dirty dishes in the sink. I figure if you’re not having sex with your spouse because he failed to scour the baked on lasagna off the oven pan after dinner, you probably deserve what you get. And if you’re the spouse who was supposed to do dishes, start scrubbing. Give and take goes a long way in any relationship, but particularly one with two people living under the same roof day after day.
2) It hurts…a lot. Sure, you could skip a lot of life’s worst troubles by skipping romance, but who wants the pinnacle of their existence to be a rising crust pizza in front of the TV on a Saturday night? No pain, no gain is actually true. If you want something bad enough, you might have to walk through fire to get it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did it; so can you.
3) Finding true love is a pain in the ass. Between the dates with mindless idiots who do nothing all night but talk about themselves to the letdown of thinking you’ve found “the one” only to discover you were drunk the night you made that revelation, finding true love is usually an ordeal. Lots and lots of failure, boredom, and drama. But then so is parenting, and lots of people are doing that. Not that the actions of the majority necessarily mean anything is right. But heck, you’re here, you’re alive, you might as well give it a go. At the very least, you’ll get a fine education in human nature.
4) Being emotionally naked in front of another person is scary as shit. And also incredibly freeing. Ever wonder why little kids go to their moms when they are hurting? Because Mom accepts them for who they are (at least we hope so). When someone else does the same, it will rock your world. Unfortunately, you’re probably gonna have to get naked in front of a lot of people before you find “the one.”
5) There’s no such thing as a soul mate, at least not if your idea of a soul mate is someone who can read your mind. Even Prince Charming needs a guidebook sometimes. If you’d prefer to sit and sulk over all the things your S.O. isn’t doing that you need him to be doing rather than giving him a few heavily dropped hints (or maybe even being downright direct—imagine that!) about just how much it would mean to you if he’d plan a romantic getaway for your anniversary or actually do something besides stare blankly at you when you tell him your latest problem, then I can guarantee finding a soul mate is not in your future. Soul mates are the people who get you after you tell them who you are, not the ones who intuit your every need and whim. The latter is actually your mother, your obsessive compulsive mother who makes you want to jump off a cliff every time you pick up the phone and you hear her voice….
6) Screwing up not only hurts; it can get expensive. And it might also require you to give up that in-ground pool in the backyard of which you’ve become so fond. (Yeah, I’ve actually had friends who were baffled when women left their wealthy husbands who provided every material comfort known to man for the wild and crazy notion that maybe being miserable was not worth the Lexus and the annual trip to Europe.) Messing up in love can cost you an ugly divorce settlement, or it can cost the sacrifice of a materially perfect life, maybe both. If you have to think too hard about whether or not you love your closet full of shoes more than the chance at a fulfilling relationship, then I’d say put on a pair of Manolo Blahniks and get as drunk as you can. For the rest of you, bury the keys to the Lexus in the yard (just for kicks), and start living like you mean it.
7) Men are basically jerks anyway. Yes, it’s true, but a few of them actually don’t mean to be—they just need a little tough love. For better or worse, most of them have been spoiled rotten by their mothers…and by us. They are so used to the sweet and natural attentiveness of women that they take it for granted. They know that if they go on that fishing trip with the guys on Mother’s Day, you’ll forgive them. You always do. While I’m not an advocate of game playing for the most part, sometimes you need to kick back hard. Don’t be so darn available. You’ll find the jerkdom dissipates pretty quickly (if he’s a basically good guy deep down) after he discovers you actually don’t think he’s God’s gift to the universe of women. At least you don’t think so when he’s being a jerk…. And did I mention there are plenty of female jerks out there, too, who take advantage? If you never get a “thank you” for all the times you open doors for her, bring her drinks, or rub her feet after a long day at work, you might want to consider whether she likes you or just your foot rubs.
8) All men want is sex. It’s close to the truth, but shift your perspective, ladies. Sex doesn’t carry all the emotional sustenance for you that it does for him. (Yeah, I’m serious.) Call it socialization; call it biology. The reality is it’s between the sheets that guys feel most vulnerable. Reject him there, and you might as well tell him he sucks at life. You can have a less than stellar night in the bedroom, get up the next morning, have your girlfriends tell you you are “fabulous,” have your children kiss you at the bus stop, and have your boss tell you how sharp you are, and all is well. For him, failure in the bedroom is kind of like what happens to you on a bad hair day. It cuts to his self-worth. Give him a break. If he bends over backwards to please you in bed, he’ll bend over backwards to please you in life.
9) Communicating need opens you to potential ridicule. But you’re not going to reach the heights of ecstasy if you sit there being resentful because your S.O. prefers a slam dunk to a long ramble down the court. Speak your mind. If the other party is offended, sure, you’re gonna feel like an idiot, but did you really want to waste a year hoping that person in bed with you would magically hit the right spot? Move out, and move on.
10) Risk is the scariest thing on the planet. And that’s because whenever you’re talking about risk, you’re talking about uncertainty. There’s no bigger uncertainty in the average life than wondering where your heart will take you…if you let it do the driving. And plenty of people don’t after a few close brushes with disaster. They toss their hearts in the trunk and hide the key before something else brutally ugly happens. There are plenty of good arguments for playing it safe, no doubt about that. But you only get to drive this circuit once (as far as I know anyway). And what have you got to lose? Absolutely nothing. Because the last time I checked, the idea that you can control anything, from your kids and your boss to your spouse and the stock market, is complete bunk. You’ve got nothing but time…and maybe not even that. Hop to it.