Falling in love the first time and the hundredth

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Browsing the New York Times online, I was struck by a photo of an attractive couples and clicked on it, only to find that it was a wedding announcement/story in the Vows section. Here is a part of the couple’s story that I enjoyed:

Mr. Buckner was entranced. It was his first glimpse of her sharp sense of humor.

Ms. Barnes was smitten, too, by the easy-going banter of the stylish, thoughtful, bespectacled man she had known for years. “Literally, the world just kind of shifted,” she said.

I recommend reading the entire article about the couple’s friendship, courtship and wedding (NYT registration, as of this writing, is still free) but this particular line grabbed me. Many of us know what it’s like to suddenly notice someone you work with, are friends with, or have passed on the street in a startling way. And in that moment, the world does seem to shift. You cannot look at that person the same way again, and there is an attraction.

We talk about this “the world stopped” or “the world shifted” moment fairly often when we talk about initial attraction. But what we don’t talk about enough, in my opinion, is how this moment recurs in couples’ lives, if they are fortunate, and how even after periods of boredom or agitation, the world can shift again.

One of the magical possibilities of being with someone for years is that there is hope for a re-awakening. Couples in long term relationships often fall into routines, it’s true. Also, life just gets hard. Friends and family member get sick – sometimes very sick – or die. Work and children of all ages demand attention, time, feeding and care. Older parents demand attention, too, as may health problems. Often we have little energy left to give to our relationship partners and we may feel drained, easily irritated or no longer attracted to them.

Then, something may happen. The world may shift again with a glance across the room, a hand on yours, or support from your partner when you really need it. During different times in my life, and with different people, this has been my experience and I hope that your world shifts in good ways, too. It’s worth thinking how, if you sometimes feel disconnected from your partner, you can promote a shift in a good way. Rather than wait for a kiss or a touch, perhaps you can offer one yourself.

Related MSP posts:
- Stephen Hawking teaches me about love
- Sex, Love and Stalking on Facebook and Twitter
- Foreplay Tops to Arouse Her: Women and Sex
- Q&A: How can we spice up our sex life?

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • O.

    I will get married soon and my biggest fear is that it won’t be that much love between us in 10 years as it is now. I am absolutely sure that routine will step in and that at one point we’ll start getting on each other’s nerves.
    But then again, as you said, “something may happen”.

  • O.

    I will get married soon and my biggest fear is that it won’t be that much love between us in 10 years as it is now. I am absolutely sure that routine will step in and that at one point we’ll start getting on each other’s nerves.
    But then again, as you said, “something may happen”.