We, as a culture, live in this dichotomy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and “out with the old and in with the new.”
I struggle between the two daily.
I am a successful thirty-something lesbian living in Philadelphia who’s knee deep in a six-year relationship. In the beginning, like most relationships, things were passionate, heated and filled with moments of bliss. The mere sound of a text notification from my girlfriend on my phone would send chills down my spine with anticipation of what she wrote. Our sex was (is?) unbelievable. We would be in bed for hours discovering and rediscovering our bodies. We also share laughs, long dinners and talk about the possibility of a long-term commitment.
Our time together was like our own personal inside joke that we would keep amongst ourselves – and giggle about – but dare not share with the outside world. And we like it that way – or at least we did. But soon, there seemed to be nothing new to discover.
I was living each day with this familiar person. There were no more secrets to share because I had already learned about what seemed like everything – her hopes, her past and even her quirks. Soon, even our sharing of the day’s news became smaller and smaller.
And those hours spent in bed, laughing and lovemaking? Well, they became replaced with more “logical” things like errands and family obligations. And sex, although still good, lacks that added oomph that can leave a person breathless, searching for air and navigating the butterflies in the pit of one’s stomach. Sex, dare I say today, seems more like – maintenance.
It’s something many lesbians in long-term relationships struggle with after years of building a life together. Hello, lesbian bed death? And for some, this familiarity might have a woman heading for the hills – or at least the nearest club looking for a one-night stand. I’d be lying to myself if I said that the thought never crossed my mind. Hell, I’d be lying to myself if I believed the thought never crossed her mind.
But if comfort in a partner is what we really crave, why do we get scared of it when it actually happens? Why do we begin to throw around words like “stale” or “settling” when maybe the bells and whistles begin to fall on deaf ears? Are bells and whistles just smoke and mirrors? Can they ever realistically be maintained between two people who know each other well?
We all love new, shiny toys. But as a lesbian in a long-term relationship (my six years might be considered a dozen by hetero standards) I am faced with an important realization – everything new, one day, becomes, well, old.
This is the first installment in an ongoing series of essays by a thirty-something lesbian living in Philly.