the illusive case of the exclusive couple

We’ve all seen it happen.

The friend that meets a boy, starts dating him, stops calling you and then slowly but surely loses touch with her friends and community and reality and most things except the boy. Whom she touches exceedingly more, regardless of whether or not it’s socially acceptable.

And whether you like to admit it or not, at some point this “friend” has  been you.

The closer you get to someone, the easier it becomes to be with them, and only them. Especially in situations where your friends might run in different crowds or you don’t want to plan something or drive or quit holding hands. It’s even worse when it gets cold and dark at 6 pm and that one movie you both love is calling your name and the freezer is loaded with ice cream and Steven doesn’t judge for having thirds (this is all very hypothetical).

I’m in no way trying to promote open relationships. The only healthy open relationship I’ve seen is between cats and even then it can get messy. Exclusivity, in many ways, is a necessary thing.  But when your phone’s recent calls list is made up solely of his name for the last three weeks and you’re bickering about little things like who uses more toilet paper (like I said, hypothetical) and you find out through facebook that it was your best friend’s birthday last week, something has to change. And it’s not your toilet paper habits.

Perhaps the strongest thing about Steven and I’s relationship isn’t anything in either of us, but the community we’re in and the people in our life who won’t take “not tonight” for an answer.

And maintaining that community goes hand in hand with maintaining a marriage.

Yes, it does take more effort to see other people once you’ve “settled down”. Having someone over becomes a joint decision and leaving for an evening usually has to be spouse checked. But oh, how worth it it is.

The other night, some of my girlfriends and I got together to make dinner – sans spouses and/or anything opposite sex related. We ate bread and cookie dough, drank wine, talked about work and clothes and babies and sex and God, in no particular order. It would have been a great scene in Eat, Pray, Love. Barf.

And when it was over I felt refreshed and ready to return to my beautiful basement and big-armed man. And the ice cream was still there the next day. Thank God.

Just one example of how time apart can mean better time together.

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