Meeting Someone New (while you still have someone old)


Couple

In addition to writing about love and relationships, I read a fair number of other articles and blogs about them. I’m always open to new ideas, and even if I don’t agree with someone it’s always interesting to read what other people think.

One thing I’ve noticed is that there are a surprising number of women blogging about how they are in a relationship, but they have met someone else and they have either started an affair or they are musing about whether or not they should leave their current relationship for the new one.

I’m not knocking women here, as I’m sure guys find themselves in these situations too. I just haven’t come across articles like that, or the guys just don’t write about it (in fact, I seem to be one of the few guys writing about relationships).

A common theme is that the new person excites them more, or they feel more valued or fulfilled by the new person. Often the person writing is convinced that the new person is a “better match” for them.

Reading the comments section, most readers advise the person to follow their heart, and do whatever it is that makes them happy.

Maybe I’m just jealous because my readers rarely comment (though I suppose I would actually need readers for that), but this stuff drives me crazy!!!

If you’ve read any of my previous entries, you know that I believe people give up on their relationships far too easily, often because they have focused on what they don’t have instead of appreciating what they do. In some ways this post is a bit of a recap of what has come before, but I think it warrants talking about one more time before I move on to different topics.

Purpose of Relationships

Relationships usually start by being all about you. Going into a relationship there are things you are looking for and things you want to get out of it. Why are we in relationships? There’s are all sorts of reasons, and here are a few of the common ones I’ve seen:

  • Loneliness. Don’t want to be alone.
  • Safety and security.
  • Emotional, and sexual fulfillment.
  • Want to have a family, and feel it’s best in a “stable” relationship

Pursuit of your own happiness is important, but the complexity of relationships is that they involve two people. In order to be successful they can’t be just about you, they have to grow into more than that.

They become a partnership where you are sharing your life with someone, so the other persons needs have to become as important as your own. Alright, let’s be honest here – people are inherently selfish so your own needs will always take precedence. But your partners needs have to be pretty high up there. Hopefully it’s fairly balanced, but it’s a pretty safe bet that there will be times where your needs and wants will have to take a backseat to your partners.

Your Favorite Movie

Think of movies (I would say books, but sadly few people seem to read anymore). There are lots of them out there, and everyone has their own tastes. You probably have a movie that you love, and go back to again and again.

When you watch a movie a second or third time you may gain a new appreciation for it as you may pick up on a few things that you didn’t notice the first time around. But after a few times there is nothing new. You still enjoy the story and appreciate it for what it is, but it won’t have the same excitement it did when it was new because you already know everything that’s going to happen.

Relationships are like that too. Part of the excitement in relationships comes from discovery. There comes a point where the mystery of learning the other person is gone, because you already know everything about that other person.

A problem is when this happens it’s very easy to get comfortable, and you tend to take the other person for granted (hopefully unintentionally). You still care for each other and enjoy each others company, but that magic from the early days is gone.

Excitement of “The New”

I opened this with a scenario where someone is in a committed relationship, yet they have either stepped out or are considering stepping out because they feel a connection to someone new.

I think the very nature of long term relationships makes this a risk. The excitement and energy of the early days of a relationship feels great, but it’s unsustainable over the long term. Eventually every relationship settles into certain patterns, or rhythms.

And guess what, as time goes on there is a chance that you will meet new people. They may be new co-workers, or friends of a friend. Being in a committed relationship doesn’t mean you don’t find other people attractive. So you meet someone new, and hey, they’re kind of cute. As you start to learn more about them you may start to feel some sort of connection (especially if your own relationship is in a rut). And depending on the state of your own relationship you may start to imagine what life “could be like”. Maybe life could be better with this other person?

If this happens, it’s important to remember that we are always drawn to the new. Is that person really a better match, or are you just starting to get lost in the discovery state? There is excitement in the unknown, because you can’t see it’s flaws. All you see are the possibilities and the potential. And the reality rarely matches our romanticized view of things. A new movie cannot be new forever.

Is Better Really Better?

Hopefully I’ve established that the new exciting person in your life might not actually be your soul mate (or at least a better match). Hopefully you can agree that maybe, just maybe it’s actually the lure of excitement that is attracting someone to the new person in their life.

Just for the sake of argument, lets say the new person really IS a better fit for you. To that I say, so what?
If you ever find yourself in that situation I would recommend you ask yourself to instead take a look at your existing relationship. Are you actually unhappy, or are you just in a rut? If you are unhappy, take a good look and ask yourself why?

There are a lot of reasons to be unhappy. They may have nothing to do with your current relationship. And if they do, they may be resolvable. For your current relationship there was something that drew you together in the first place. Go back, and explore that.

Depending on where you are at in a relationship, I really believe that the relationship becomes bigger than either individual. Yes, your happiness is very important, and I don’t believe people should ever “settle”.

But another perspective is that walking away from something because something else appears better sets you on a dangerous path. There will always be better. Perfection doesn’t exist. Sometimes it’s alright to say “there may be better, but what I have is enough”.

perfect-marriage

Keeping the Spark Alive

If you go back to my comparison between people and movies there is one big difference that I purposely left out. A movie is always the same (well, until they make a directors cut). But people are always growing, and changing. We aren’t constants. Sometimes we change in small ways, sometimes in larger ones. We are always having new experiences. In long term relationships I think a HUGE mistake couples make is that they fail to recognize that.

So if your relationship is in a rut and you are thinking of moving on to something new, take another look at what you have. Don’t assume that because you already know everything about someone there is nothing else to learn. Rediscover them. Grow with them. Learn each other, and continue to learn each other as your relationship grows. Allow yourself to continue falling in love with the same person over and over again as time goes by.

For any readers in long term relationships (I would define that as more than 2 years), I would love to hear from you. What are the things that have worked for you in “keeping the spark alive”? What do you do to continue to show your partner that you love them? What does your partner do for you that makes you feel loved?
You can either comment below or email me at thezombieshuffle@outlook.com. With any feedback, I would love to hear how long you’ve been together.

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59 thoughts on “Meeting Someone New (while you still have someone old)

  1. Fantastic arguments. May I add that these women need to take the time to analyze themselves. Perhaps they are not emotionally and mentally ready for a committed relationship. Like you said, new is always attractive but being committed to what you have now shows maturity.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ah Miriam, it sounds like you and I speak the same language.

      As I mentioned at the top, I normally see this with women but I suspect that is because most relationship blogs seem to be written by women. Men do the same stuff too.

      As for emotional and mental maturity…
      … there are definitely elements of that. But part of it also is natural. I think a midlife crisis is just a time in anyones life where they take stock of where they are and question the choices they have made. I think everyone goes through this eventually, to varying degrees. The ones you hear about are the ones where someone blows up everything and starts a new life (and often regrets it 2 years later). But I believe most people have a crisis of confidence at some point in time.

      Personally, I’ve questioned things. But when I did, I found I was happy with the choices I had made. Could things have been different? Sure. But what I had was enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I totally agree! I had to think about my marriage ten years into it . Weighing everything made me see how incredibly lucky I am to be with my husband. It is normal to question yourself about your current relationship. As an aside, male relationship blogs I have read seem to focus on sex a lot. I love yours!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Don’t worry, the sex entry is coming (it’s partially written, and may actually have to be two parts). But I suspect it will be a bit different from the other ones you’ve seen.

        Thanks again for reading.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Another good post, looks like you did your homework before writing this. I agree that the purpose of your relationship may dictate it’s long term viability. While loneliness, family, shared interests are all good reasons to get in a relationship. The longevity of the relationship isn’t dependent on any one attribute. In many cases it’s a combination, and the relationship must be mutually beneficial. I think I may have touched on a few of these points already when I first read one of your older posts, but I’ll say it again. I wrote a post asking if it’s “Really better on the Other side” while I focused more on moving on after a break-up. The implications are the same for if you’re currently in a relationship, and you’re contemplating leaving, as it is for wondering about other people’s lives.
    I had a conversation with a close friend about his last relationship, and complacency seems to be a big factor. Your partner asks you a question, and your answer is “well you know me!” Generally when someone asks you a question it’s because they don’t know the answer. I always fascinates me how we miss those little opportunities to understand people better. A friend of my said something that has since stuck with me. You don’t want to “Know yourself” that implies that you know all there is to know. Rather you want to understand yourself, that is more of an evolutionary process, as you grow your understanding also grows.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Thanks for reading, and I’m glad you liked the post. In a long term relationship it’s very easy to stop doing the little things to show each other you appreciate each other, and start to take each other for granted.

      Not all relationships make it, and while I think more can (and should) than do, that’s alright. But I don’t think a relationship should ever end because another has started or is waiting in the wings.

      You can always improve upon what you have and make it better.

      I saw a great quote recently – “If what you currently have isn’t enough, what makes you thinks more will make things better”?

      Liked by 1 person

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    • Glad you enjoyed the post. I would like to think that a lot of my posts are just common sense. But sometimes in the emotion of relationships we can lose sight of things that can at other times seem obvious.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, I appreciate it.

      Like

      • Hmm, not quite sure how to respond to this. I mean, I definitely write largely on relationships – however I also write a lot about identity and accountability.

        I can’t really give any practical advice on the dating world, as it’s one I haven’t been in for a long time. The dating world scares the hell out of me actually – I read other blogs and I don’t think the modern dating world is one I would do well in. I’m a bit too old fashioned I suppose.

        If I knew what you meant by “advice on the lives of single people” I may have a better idea on what to say, but here’s something to leave you with…

        Your most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. I TRULY believe that first and foremost, you need to love yourself for who you are – flaws and all. In order to do that, you need to be able to face the mirror honestly, and understand yourself. I feel many people spend their lives hiding from themselves, and trying to be something they are not. People can actually change, but:

        1) if they change it should be to be what they want to be and not what they believe others want them to be, and

        2) You can’t actually change until you face who you are.

        3) once you’ve done that, you may realize “hey, I love myself as who I am”.

        Anyhow, as I said, your most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Once that is healthy, other stuff will follow. And until it is, the type of relationships people attract are likely to also be unhealthy.

        Beyond that, my only real advice is to live with integrity. To me that goes hand in hand with self love. I need to be able to look in the mirror, and be happy (or at least content) with the choices I have made. I need to be able to live with myself.

        Will I make bad decisions? Sure. Will I make mistakes? Sure. But that’s how we learn.

        To me the key to happiness is living a life of integrity, acknowledging that we will all screw up some times, and committing to learn from our mistakes when we do.

        Thanks for the comment

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lots of navel gazing I suppose 🙂

        Actually I’m not sure if I really have much clarity on things. But I do spend a lot of time thinking about things and trying understand the world around me. What I say is what makes sense or resonates with me at a given time, but I’m open to the idea that I can and have been wrong about many things. My personal goal is to try to keep growing and evolving, and hopefully continue to be a better person tomorrow than I am today.

        Liked by 2 people

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