Expert Blog Compelling advice, stories, and thought-provoking perspectives straight from YourTango's lineup of Experts to you

The Dating Game

The Dating Game
Buzz, Heartbreak

Kendra and Allen had been married for six years and by her account the seven year itch was knocking at the door loudly and persistently.  It wasn't that she was interested in anyone else in particular.  It was more like she just wasn't interested in Allen.  Kendra wanted to feel some excitement about her marriage, but admitted that she just didn't.  Even worse she was beginning to feel turned off by Allen.  A lot of things about Allen were irritating her a lot of the time.

Should I stay or should I go?  That's a big question, especially after six years of marriage.  Even though they didn't have children, they did have a house, two dogs, two cars, and a life together.  Leaving wasn't looking like an easy option, but staying was beginning to feel smothering.  Kendra didn't want to spend the rest of her life not being able to breath.  Kendra had talked to Allen about how she was feeling.  However, she felt like her words were falling dead in the room before they got to his ears.  Allen had actually suggested they might need counseling, but honestly Kendra didn't see the point.  She didn't see how counseling was going to get her to fall back in love with her husband.

When she called me she was looking for a reason that was solid enough to call it quits and walk.  Usually I am the first person to suggest divorce.  Typically I see people hang on to nothing way too long.  However, before you end a marriage I believe it's critical to make sure you've tried every imaginable thing to save it.  You want to make sure you walk out, able to look yourself in the eye, with no questions or regrets - and then get out.

To that end, Kendra agreed half halfheartedly to a plan she initially believed was "idiotic".  She agreed to go stay with her sister for a month, and date her husband.  This wasn't framed as a separation.  This was framed as a respite, with the sole intention of reconnecting.  Here's the thing about dating, it's fun.  Everyone is on their best behavior.  Men open doors and women put on their makeup.  At first both Kendra and Allen felt strained.  However, after the third "date" they were both beginning to recognize traits in the other they had fallen madly in love with many years ago.  Allen was actually quite witty.  Kendra was in incurable flirt.  Now, I am going to be honest.  Kendra and Allen did not madly rush back to living under one roof.  Both of them really appreciated the obvious advantages of living apart.  The fighting had all together stopped and they were once again seeing the better sides of each other. 

That said, five weeks later Kendra did come home and was happy to start getting help saving their marriage instead of looking for the quickest exit strategy.  Allen was the man she fell in love with again and she was starting to feel like someone she actually liked also.  Where was the magic?  The magic is in the essence of dating.  Is it possible to date your spouse or significant other without living under separate roofs?  Yes, but it takes a very specific kind of discipline.  You have to make the time.  You have to put on your best dress and your best face and put your best foot forward - often.  You have to be willing to sell yourself, over and over again.  Some might think it sounds like work.  If it's work, you're probably not doing it right.  Dating was fun when you met - dating should still be fun one year, ten years, or one hundred years later.  So, if you want a marriage that lasts a year, ten years, or even one hundred, whatever energy or effort it takes to date is most certainly worth it. 


Expert advice

Save your breath because you only need two words to make him commit.
Are you REALLY thinking about their happiness?
If you keep finding yourself in heartbreaking, dead end relationships, listen up.
It seems like you can't do anything right.