How good could it be?

Posted by: “Suburban Guy”

I’m in a long term relationship that’s gone sort of cold, and I recently realized that I’ve lost sight of how good a relationship can feel. So the other day, I asked my self: How good could it be? The following little vignette came to mind, and I think it paints a reasonable answer to that question, at least it does for me.


“The alarm clock goes off on a snowy Tuesday, and my wife leans over to turn it off. When she turns back, I move close and reach over. Lifting her flannel top just a little, I place my hand on her warm, soft stomach. She turns and smiles and then leans in to give me kiss, deep and open, loose and wet. It’s morning, so her breath is a little stale, but I don’t mind. The kiss is really amazing.

She ends the kiss with a little nibble of my lip. “What are you doing this morning with the snow and all? School will probably open late.”

I sigh and roll over on my back. “I have early meetings, so I need to go in regular time.”

Her hand, friendly and gentle, moves up the sleeve of my shirt to rest on my shoulder, her bare leg crosses over mine. “Wish you could stay…”

My whole body is tingling, her touch feels so good, but I know I really do have to get up. I lean in and we kiss again. “You can’t know how much I wish I could.”

I turn to get up, and her hand drops to my stomach and then runs up my shirt to my bare chest. “Maybe tonight, we can find a little time for us?”

I’m glowing inside and hating the fact that I have to leave, but I do. I have to. “That would be really great. I’ll be thinking about it all day now…” Another kiss, and then, “Anything I can do for you before I go, aside from the regular stuff?”

She rolls back, looking disappointed. “If you must go, but sure – can you change the bulb over the sink? It’s out and hard for me to reach.”

“Sure thing,” my feet are off the bed and I stand up. “I love you.”

“Me too.”

All day long, I can’t get the delightful feeling of my wife’s touch off my mind. I keep thinking of how lucky I am to have such an open, loving woman to go home to and I am tingly at the thought of disappearing under the covers with her at night, to laugh and touch and just feel really, really lost in love.

The end (I’m not going to let this get x rated…)


I know the above could never be the case all the time, but if it was just even occasionally this beautiful and simple, my whole outlook on the relationship would change. I know I own half the equation here and that I’m not always the man in that vignette either, but relationships aren’t solos. They are duets, and that means both players must work together to achieve harmony. The challenge is: how do you get back to harmony once discord has settled in?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this?

22 Comments on How good could it be?

  1. The story you have here shows that you do know how to make a relationship work. Was your relationship ever like this? I know that mine was, but circumstances and economic problems clouded it over. What is important for a relationship to work is that both parties have to work at it. If you want your wife to treat you like that, then you have to change some of what you are doing. Paying attention to her is a big part of change. Men sometimes get into their own worlds and forget that women are not always willing and waiting for them. Our lives have stresses and time limits too. We can’t always be there for you. But if you plan to spend some time together it can help. You can rekindle the spark and make it a glowing flame. The key is to ignore the world and concentrate on you. Give her a weekend getaway and both of you enjoy a little R & R. Go to a B&B in the country or at the beach and spend the time with each other. I guarantee that if you do that it will get better. Women need to feel wanted and when you are in the middle of day to day routines you don’t feel special. Children and life take a relationship and push it to the limit. You have to escape sometimes. I should know. I’m married 44 years to the same man and believe me it isn’t roses all the time. But occasionally I see a glimpse of the man I married and know I did the right thing.:)

  2. It’s true that keeping the romance and relationship going is a duet, but I firmly believe that at any given point in time one person is giving 80% and one person is giving 20%. As long as it alternates, I don’t mind that times that I’m giving 80%, but I think that during those times you need to make sure that you’re keeping the day to day part of married life going plus saving some time for the romance.

    Now that my kids are older, we try to reserve some mommy and daddy time when my husband gets home from work. This is our time, and unless there is an emergency, we expect them to give us this time to ourselves. I remember growing up some parents would have a cocktail hour where mom and dad had their time and the kids played, did homework, or found something to do that didn’t involve disturbing mom and dad.

    I think that sometimes we look down on having this “our time” over “family time” but we still have plenty of family time. Now that I have seen so many kids that have very sad lies because their parents are in the middle of ugly divorces, I find it easier to not feel guilty about setting aside time that is just devoted to strengthening my relationship with my husband.

  3. This is a great post, I love your writing & it makes me want to get romantic with my GUY. Thanks for reminding us all to keep the romance alive.
    As for the advice you are searching, you are already on the right track. Thinking of ways to return to when times were better. Now to put those thoughts into action. You may get pushed away, but the squeaky wheel usually gets the oil. And I’m not talking about the sex part – keep an open dialog – give that 80% as Tina says, over & over & hopefully her 20% will eventually turn into 30%, then 40% and so on. Good luck Suburban GUY!

  4. I have to say that I have this with my Guy every day, and it only gets more intense with time and experience. Granted, it’s been just seven months and it’s early yet, but time seems accelerated by having six children between us and ex-spouses and a myriad of other compressed-stress and emotional issues, so I think we’ve seen each other pretty low and pretty high. We’ll tell each other, “This is as bad as I get” and the other will be like “Really? You’re kidding. This is nothing compared to…” Our experience so far is something I can only described as exponential—not merely fast-tracked—because we know exactly what we have to have and what we cannot tolerate, and we fit. We are equally damaged and imperfect and comfortable together. 🙂

  5. BTW, I believe each partner has to give 200%, so that there is plenty of excess to pick up the slack. 50% is almost guaranteed to fall short on a regular basis.

  6. Oh to live in a world of absolute touches, kisses and lust. Oh to live in a perfect world 😉

    It really is not possible nor would it benefit us in any way as we would never truly feel that inner want and longing for our partner.

    It is the ‘you & me’…breaks that we can catch that keep the long term relationships continually finding their spark.

    Just what you have shared with us in your post is exactly what it should be like. It should be many so close ..yet so far situations because without them…things would become predictable and routine.

    So we continue to take the good with the bad so that we can reap the benefits one hundred percent when we are in the good 🙂

  7. I think you are one LUCKY guy!

  8. This was wonderful. We really do need to keep that spark of romance going, especially with some come-hither comments here and there. I seldom walk past my husband without, um, hugging (yes, that’s the word) just a bit and he ‘hugs’ me a lot too. It is warm-up for the game, you see.

  9. Romance is a spontaneous moment, not a planned evening of expectations.

    Keeping our connections close and intimate is up to us – would it really be so bad to have called in to work and say you’re going to be late?

    We make time for whats important and connecting to each other is in our own control. Partners should be giving each other quality, not quantity so bite the bullet and live a little! Lifes too short to stick to routine all the time.

    Enjoy your partner thoroughly, as much as you can, as often as you can! Enjoy them. That’s what partnership is all about.


  10. Wow. What a really great set of comments about this post. I’m struck buy how many people think things are essentially off balance in relationships — “you need to give 200%, one person is doing 80% of the work, etc.” I’m not disagreeing. I think that’s probably the reason so many relationships don’t last. Achieving that ever illusive harmony is really freakin’ tricky. New love is so beautiful this way. Both people are awash in the sense the they are always going to get what they need, so giving is totally free and spontaneous. Wish I had a magic pill that would wash away decades of slowly accumulated resentment and other baggage. I’d become a millionaire, and make a lot of people who were once really happy about their relationship happy again. Thanks!

  11. @Lola – Yeah, sometime I’m going to rewrite this, have the guy forget about work, and let it get a little X rated. It’ll be one for the private reserves though, sorry /8-). What an idiot that guy is! Stay! Grab the moment!

    @Barbara – doesn’t sound like you’ve found an answer either? You only get to see glimpses of the man you married? Is this enough? I couldn’t tell whether or not you were upset about the situation or feeling good. Thanks for commenting. I appreciate that I need to “win her back” and that is my plan going forward. Hope you are happy and I am reading wrong!

    @GoGo – sounds like you have it right.

    @DorothyL – yes, this can’t be like this every day. I agree. We also can’t live for the love of another. We need to be self sufficient about enjoying all aspects of our lives. That said, one of the great joys in life is sharing love, so living in a discordant relationship can be very tough.

    @meleah – I wish. The guy in the vignette is a future perfect state. Current reality would stop short of the first kiss, perhaps a peck instead and then off to our “jobs.” Nights have me alone writing posts for blogs. See?

  12. I’m no expert in long-term relationships (just the short-term dating stuff)…but I have to say I agree that relationships are a “duet” and both sides have to reach out to each other when things get rough. If you retreat and pull away, it only makes things worse. As a wise man once told me, “what is the courageous conversation you’re NOT having right now?”

  13. Well, I have just GOT to put my two cents in here…

    Duh, right?

    So, here goes… I lost 50lbs since October, I currently weigh 122lbs (I love saying it, so piss off!) I feel SEXY and hot and I want to be pushed up against a wall and screwed until I can’t breathe.

    My husband doesn’t even look at me! No matter what I do, no matter what I say, I get nothing…

    I have no good advice, all I have is a fucking pity party you can join darlin’. Saturday at 7pm, see you there!

  14. I totally agree with you that relationship is a duet show; it takes two hands to clap. Ideally, both parties should be giving the relationship 100% but realistically that may happen some times but not all the time. Usually one side would be giving more at one time than the other. It is a lot of give without expectation and a whole lot of appreciation. A lot of give and take. But end of the day, both parties need to earnestly want to make the relationship works; whether they are putting 100% or less than that, they have to have the inner wish to make the relationship work out.

  15. @ashley – you deserve to feel really, really amazing about how you look and who you are! Awesome! It’s really hard to keep it up when you aren’t getting the right response, but you’ve just got to do it anyway. It’s your happiness, so don’t let a numb husband spoil it. Love yourself and rock on. For me, I can’t IMAGINE behaving like your husband, but who knows what is going on there — issues with intimacy can run really, really, really deep (some say back to infancy).

    @BK – well said. I think you hit the nail on the head: both sides have to want to make it work, then the rest will happen. I’ll add one thing: both sides have to not have “issues” with intimacy that are from outside the relationship. Some people don’t go there easily, know what I mean?

  16. Paradoxically, I think most people these days work so hard on relationships they can’t possibly work. So many unrealistic demands and expectations especially in the department of romance and sex. I don’t know what your particular situation is, but when you say it’s gone cold are you referring exclusively to the physical side or the emotional, spiritual, intellectual parts as well. Do you ever have a good talk, see a concert, go for a walk together, have mutual friends you enjoy seeing? There’s so much more than just a good roll in the hay that holds a couple together, at least in my way of thinking. I’m not trying to minimize the role sex and touching play in a relationship, but sometimes they suffer because those other pieces are missing.

  17. Hello and thank you for stopping at my blog !

    Loved your article about relationship; in today’s society, it is good to hear about relationship that works. It takes “TWO TO TANGO”~~ both people shall understand their role in a committed relationship and put 50/50. That will always make both people happy and content. In addition, communication is the key to successful marriage.
    I found that life wisdom and maturity is the key to successful relationship. Thank you again, Zuzanna

  18. I was hoping for a really “juicy” sex scenario kind of story. Damn it, I had the lube all ready. Oh well. We can’t have everything. 🙂

    Anyway, I know exactly how Suburban Guy feels. there will be that doubt until real communication is engaged. Hope you can rekindle the relationship to it’s fullest potential. Take care!

  19. You will probably get all kinds of advice on How To, and there are a million books out there on it. The problem is, it takes work to keep that excitement alive. When the relationship is new, it’s easy , no work at all. And we want it to be easy forever and we don’t want to work at it. And we don’t want to change anything to create more newness to keep it exciting because we don’t like change but we want what that change would provide. Sounds more complicated that it needs to be, right? In any event the first thing to do, first and foremost, is to talk to each other about it. And then DO something about it.

    Wishing you the best!

  20. Ashley, I’m no slouch and my ex wasn’t the least bit interested in me. Maybe once a year at the end. It’s not you!

  21. Again, more great advice out there. I think we all agree that it “takes two to tango.” Interestingly, I wrote this piece not as a means of getting advice (not that I don’t appreciate it) but because of something I had lost after so many years of not having it — a sense of what I even wanted. I’d turned away from desire out of hopelessness. Frankly, I think the moment of authorship took to a bit of an extreme since I hadn’t really dared enter that space for a while. You know, it’s hard to fully accept how much you want something you feel hopeless about getting. It’s much easier to stay distracted and fooled. Thing is, now that I know what it is I would like — more love and closeness that is simple and fun — I think I can see ways of bringing that back, if I can get her to accept that it’s something we BOTH want. Thanks for all the great advice, and I hope all those other lopsided relationships out there find their balance and start gliding through the water swift and strong soon. Life is too short to escape into distractions. Maybe my next post will be “How good it is now.”

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