Diary of a Marriage: No More Butterflies

I always wanted a relationship free of nerves and jitters. Now that I have it, I wonder: Where did the butterflies go?

I recently had lunch with a friend, during which she declared, as almost everyone does at some point in his or her life, that she was so over dating. She was over the stilted first-date conversations, over trying to maintain normal conversation while dealing with the niggling worry that a piece of broccoli had set up shop between her front teeth, over the panicky I’m-gonna-puke feeling she got right before a date picked her up.

“You’re so lucky,” she said. “You never have to date again.”

Lucky. I rolled this word around in my mouth for a bit. I am, in fact, lucky. I know this.  I have what I’ve always wanted: a wonderful husband whom I adore. I can eat anything when we go out to dinner, without worrying about whether it will make me look fat or end up on my face or between my teeth. I can unabashedly proclaim my love for trashy reality TV without worrying that J. will judge me for it (he does, and I don’t care). I don’t have to worry about whether or not J.’s going to kiss me at the end of the night (he does), or if my hand is sweaty when he goes to hold it (it’s usually not). I have a calm, steady, adult relationship with absolutely none of those rollercoaster ups-and-downs I thrived on in high school. Hoorah!

Only, sometimes — and even then, the nostalgia’s so slight it barely even registers — I actually kind of miss the jitters that precede milestones like first dates and first kisses. And it’s not a grass-is-always-greener thing, either. I know my grass is pretty darn green. But the grass on the other side, well, it just doesn’t look quite as bad as it did when I was over there.

I tried to pinpoint what it was, but it wasn’t until my sister called to dish the gory details of her last semi-successful date that I realized what I was missing: The butterflies. That fluttery feeling that is at once unsettling and exhilarating, and which you hate while you have it but, apparently, miss when you don’t.

After a few years of marriage, the flutters that J. and I had at the beginning of our relationship have mostly all flown the coop, and in their place is that warm, safe, contented feeling where you know what you’re going to get, day after day after day after day. And while that is irreplaceable and wonderful and comforting, it still leaves me wishing I’d appreciated those jitters a bit more when I had them.

I continue to listen to my single friends kvetch about their singledom, and every once in a while, I gently urge them to try to get excited about the fact that they still have a first kiss and a first “I love you” to look forward to. And me? I came home yesterday to flowers, pretty wildflowers that J. arranged in vases around the house.

And I felt a little flutter, deep, deep down. I guess some of those butterflies stuck around. And why wouldn’t they? After all, my grass is pretty green.

What about you — do you still get butterflies when your husband or fiance comes around? If no, what is that feeling replaced with? Are there certain times when they come back?

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