This is a fascinating article, as people’s stories of long-term relationships usually are. You don’t have to be into open relationships, I’m not, to understand and relate to much of what Melissa Broder is talking about in this piece, “Thoughts on open marriage and illness” in Literary Hub.
As much as anything it is about familiarity, desire and long-term relationships.
There is something about a long-term relationship that takes away the ability to see the other person. We stop seeing them as their own entity. We stop seeing them as a possibility, rather than a possession. Or we stop seeing the possibility of them not being there. The gap we have to cross to get to them is no longer there: the gap filled with doubt as to whether we are loved or whether he will text or whether he likes me. We stop fucking in that gap, or fucking from across that gap. We start fucking in some new shared space that we feel we own. Or maybe the shared space is still the gap but we fuck there for so long we stop seeing it.
I made conscious choices in the relationship I am in now to protect us against over-familiarity. But reconciling that with acceptance in its various forms, self-acceptance as well as of the messiness of life, things I am also actively pursuing, has been complicated.