The Middle Bit

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We’re familiar with the intrigue, romance and passion we associate with the beginning of a love affair; Romeo & Juliet, movies like “The Notebook,” classic novels like Carol Shield’s “The Republic of Love.” These draw us into the exciting whirlwind and heady and intoxicating first delights of love. If married, recall for a moment something of this memory. Easy. We were nuts about each other. Rich memories. Great stories. Bodies and souls aching to touch.

We’re equally familiar with the happy or sad, and of course the sometimes tragic end of the love story. “Cleopatra and Mark Antony” (pretty sad), or any of Jane Austen’s stories (“Oh look! A happy ending!”)

What about the middle bit?

If we posted a survey (see this week’s to the right) asking where you currently are at, I suspect most of us would check “middle of a relationship.” Likely not in the first throws of romance, nor in the final bit either. Just flowing along; the middle part.

We’re now “post-Valentine’s day.” Jeff wrote to me this past week…

“For Valentine’s everyone goes to town with all the cards, flowers, chocolates, special dinners, and romance for that one day but what about the day AFTER Valentine’s day, and the day after that, and so on? What do couples do about their relationship the rest of the year to keep the spark alive?”

“A Private Affair” was designed especially for the middle bit. The months and years that can seem flat and unchanging. We respond with enthusiasm to the new and the novel, but this middle phase can quickly become numbing and stale “same old” routine.

In particular, our conversation can become functional, dry, and superficial. “Any mail?” “Nope.” “Good day at work?” “Alright.” “Do you know where the remote is?” “Uh… no…”

What’s the number one complaint couples make to their marriage therapist? “We can’t communicate!” Or, maybe we can, but don’t. Silence is the way we end up dealing with each other. It sort of avoids conflict, but of course kills the heart, body and soul. We eventually become sensually dulled, perhaps incompetent, and… we watch TV, check our email, and wonder if anything will ever change.

I know. It’s not a very sexy sounding problem, but for so many it absolutely defines this middle stretch. We remain hungry for the heady pleasure of intimacy, and enjoy seeing couples entangle passionately with each other in our TV programs, but gradually believe this to be unrealistic, and settle for less, often at such a great cost.

We had this in mind when we developed “A Private Affair.”  The cards are point-blank challenges to the status-quo, and dare couples to flirt dangerously with going deeper right now, to return to their first love, and in a sense, to “go all in,” risking getting very personal and up-close once again.

The middle years absolutely need not be dull, unremarkable and listless! The game draws us quickly into conversations, ideas and planning that we once explored ‘till the wee hours of the morning… but that we may not have enjoyed for years. The Olympics may be over, but your own lively and very sexy games can begin once again!

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