Momentum is everything.
Most of my readers know how much I love football. During the recent playoffs, I don’t know how many times I said/texted/tweeted the word “momentum”, but it was a lot. That sense that the team with the momentum is unstoppable, fueled by the roars from the fans in the stands. With positive momentum, the magic happens.
Momentum is a term from physics. It refers to the quantity of motion that an object has. Objects at rest do not have momentum.
Momentum runs high at the start of a romantic relationship. It is fun, playful and carefree. Both of you are reflecting over-idealized versions of each other so powerful that instincts of hunger and thirst are ignored. You believe you could live with this person in a tent until the end of time. Spending glorious days in bed in a delirious state makes it easy to ignore the tedious responsibilities of reality.
While society prioritizes this phase, the challenges of long-term relationships leave us wondering: is that all there is? The little quirks you loved at the start are now the most annoying. The two of you need to make grown-up decisions, face health and financial concerns, and cope with the drudgery of everyday life. Staying in bed all day is no longer an option and, if given the choice, many would rather be in bed alone.
Has longevity made long-term relationships a mathematical impossibility? Are relationships designed for planned obsolescence?
Don’t think I’m down on long-term relationships. They have great value. We just need to learn how to make them more fun.
Think about it: What made it so compelling in the beginning?
The criteria that made you an attractive mate remain the same 20, 30, and 40 years later. We do not lose our desire for adventure, spontaneity and passion. Within the context of a decades-old relationship these seem impossible. So we either accept this as is, or blame our partner or complain.
Why bother with this challenge if you have a partner and no plans to leave?
Why bother? Because not only can it save a marriage, it can enhance your life journey and lead to happier aging.
For this to happen, focus needs to shift to ourselves. It’s not about fixing the relationship. Paradoxically, stronger individuality is the catalyst for momentum.
With a long term relationship, you have the basics down. Food, protection, sleep, sex, security. As a team you navigate the tasks of raising a family, aging parents, health scares and mortgages. It feels cosy, like an old shoe.
Once the basics are stable, humans have the remarkable adaptive ability to move beyond to create music, art and literature. The key to momentum is keeping things moving.
This means men and women must be comfortable with changing it up, even in mini ways. Try out a new exercise and talk about it. I find just listening to music changes me. Recognize culinary ruts. Spend time on your own. Talk to wise elders and share stories. Consider role playing in bed. Bring more to the table. Keep the focus on yourself, not your partner.
With positive momentum we are unstoppable. At any age.
Imagine all the benefits of the stable relationship with a sprinkling of fantasy dust!