It’s the very thing you’ve been chasing for months, years, maybe your entire life. It’s what you’ve been taught to go after. It’s what you imagine is the epitome of joy, the epitome of a fulfilling life. It’s the thing that you believed you needed to feel happy, to feel invincible, to feel like your life was complete. Everything else in your life would become immediately better as soon as you found love.
And that was the case, for a while. You found it, and you were drunk on the possibilities of how your life was going to change. Everything was sunny. Everybody was smiling at you. You felt butterflies while you walked around the office or sat at your desk in school, just from thinking about seeing them later that day and how literally anything could happen to you right now and you wouldn’t care because you had them.
You were more excited about everything just from having them in your life. You loved grocery shopping and brushing your teeth in the morning and peeling an orange because while you were doing it you spent all of your time thinking about them and how you couldn’t believe they existed. You found them adorable when they did stuff that was completely uninteresting, like sneezing or saying “excuse me” when they bumped into a stranger on the street. Anything they did, no matter how ordinary or unromantic, made you fall in love with them.
But now, you’ve molded into each other’s lives. You have gotten used to being completely in love. It’s just part of your day now, it’s part of your emotional being, it’s part of you. And suddenly, you’ve started to experience the terrifying feeling of being bored. You’re comfortable, you’re stable, you’re confident in the fact that your relationship is steady and the two of you are loyal to one another and the two of you love each other.
There’s no drama. No tension, sexually or emotionally, because you have exactly what you want from each other, whenever you want it. No Grey’s Anatomy storyline. You’re just happy – you are in the exact state that you’ve been chasing after for your entire life. And for some reason – a reason that infuriates you because it seems so silly and immature and ungrateful – you feel that heavy, anxious feeling settle over you. You’re convinced that this is the happiest you will ever feel. This is the best it’s ever going to get.
The butterfly time period is over, right? The giddiness has passed, the uncontrollable smiling is gone. How can it get better from here? How can you prevent yourself from being bored, which will inevitably lead to picking fights for no reason and losing all sense of excitement and having to face the unpleasant parts of your life without being able to distract yourself with love?
The problem though, isn’t boredom. At least, for me, it wasn’t. What I ultimately realized was that the boredom I was so afraid of and the boredom I was feeling was actually just fear and anxiety and disbelief in disguise. I had found something good, too good. Something I had been waiting for for a long time. I had found someone that I was convinced was going to disappear right in front of my face at any moment, because he was just too good to be true, and no one was allowed to be as happy as I felt.
What I was feeling wasn’t boredom. What was happening in reality was that I had become emotionally naked in front of of another person, unintentionally giving him the opportunity to destroy me if he ever wanted to, because I had shared every last fault and insecurity and fear and doubt that I had experienced.
I was in love, so I opened myself up. I was honest, I was open about the parts of me that I hated. I stopped trying to present myself in a certain light or a certain manner because I was too in love to care. In the moment, I was intoxicated. I let my guard down, I let go of my inhibitions.
So as soon as the roller coaster moments ended, as soon as I sobered up, as soon as I was able to look at him in the eye and feel like I had found a lifelong companion instead of just an intoxicating romance, I was terrified. I got comfortable with him. I didn’t care about going out as often or shaving my legs every day or getting in fiery arguments with him when I was drunk. I just loved him, I loved being with him, I loved doing nothing with him. I loved reading a book with my feet in his lap while he worked on his laptop. I didn’t feel the constant need to have conversation. I could just sit across from him and look at him and feel content, safe.
I thought this was boredom. I thought this meant my relationship was losing its spark. I thought that I had put myself out in front of him wholeheartedly and that it was going to blow up in my face.
It wasn’t boredom. It wasn’t my relationship losing its spark. It wasn’t our relationship running its course. It was just my own disbelief that I could have something so good. It was just me putting pressure on myself to have an intense, addictive, all-consuming relationship that was moving a hundred miles an hour.
That was what I had been taught love should feel like. That it should always be a panicky, thirsty need for the other person. At all moments, you should be dying to be with them, sleep with them, talk to them, be on top of them, have impassioned arguments with them, think of nothing but them, be unable to breathe without them.
Instead, I’ve finally realized that I have something that is deeply-rooted. Honest. Fulfilling. Romantic, but not dramatic. Sometimes we’re overwhelmingly smitten with each other, other times we drive each other up the wall. It’s real, it’s genuine. Sometimes intoxicating, but mostly just consistent and steady and true.
It’s anchored, not boring.