My husband John walked into the room with a big grin on his face, waving his mobile device at me. "Now, here's a good news story," he exclaims, reading me the headlines of an on-line article, "Ten Celebrities Who Don't Believe In Monogamy."
"Let me guess. Scarlett Johansson is on the list," I ventured.
The thing about being married to someone for as long as me is that you can pretty much anticipate what our partners are about to say. John reads a quote from Scarlett discussing her views on monogamy, "I don't think it's a natural instinct for human beings and I don't think a lot of people can do it."
John is by now giddy as he is convinced that he and Scarlett have a deep philosophical connection. I should disclose that both John and I each have a list of people we are allowed to sleep with if we get the chance. Pathetically, we have only one person on each of our lists. Alexander Skarsgard is my aspirational lover, and Scarlett Johansson is his.
Yes, Scarlett's views could potentially bode well for my husband. And if he was ever lucky enough to find himself the object of Scarlett's affections, I think that could potentially be a pretty good thing for our marriage too. I'm a pretty confident gal, but I'm no Angelina Jolie. Feeling some insecurity may keep me on my toes--after all, do I really make the same romantic effort now as I did years ago, earlier on in our relationship?
It is all too easy to become complacent after many years of marriage. Most couples I know started out as passionate partners. At the start, they rarely took their partners for granted. They didn't make excuses such as being too tired, stressed or busy to give their partner the attention they deserve. But over time their effort waned little by little. Many didn't notice that they had unwittingly wandered into the friend zone, like tourists who end up in the wrong part of town.
Entering the friend zone is like being on a one-way dead-end street. How many couples do you know who have come to think of their partner as a friend, brother or sister rather than their lover? You can move from lover to friend, but it is next to impossible to put the relationship into reverse to become lovers once again. Being in the friend zone is like relationship quicksand.
How does passion turn into pal-ship? Perhaps the very nature of sharing space with someone can breed too much familiarity. It's easy to get comfortable, even sloppy, when we live with each other day in and day out. What message does it send when I leave our house looking polished and revert immediately to comfy cellmate attire when I come home? How about the way I acknowledge his efforts with "Geez thanks," something I would say to a helpful neighbour, rather than taking five seconds to kiss him on the mouth? How many times have I gone to sleep in flannel, burying my nose in a good book -- with the full knowledge that my husband would have preferred I had opted for a different kind of pre-slumber parallel play activity?
It's human nature to want something (or someone) more when someone else wants it (them) too. And if someone as beautiful, intelligent and talented as Scarlett Johansson was interested in my husband as the object of her sexual desire, my guess is that I'd be bringing more of my A-game to our union.
But here's the thing. While the probability of Scarlett sleeping with my husband is about the same as being invaded by Martians, there are many other "Scarlett's" out there who would give their right arm to be with someone like him.
Perhaps I should keep that in mind the next time I am reaching for my flannels and cozy slippers at bedtime.
Originally published in The Good Men Project.
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