Here in America our mores dictate that we must “own” the other person in order to enjoy them. By enjoy them I mean, enjoy their company, their wit, their laughter, the thing that makes them unique; possibly a giggle or some other affectation that you find appealing.
We choose our friends, we choose our mates; where is that line drawn between social intercourse and sexual intercourse?
While sexual intercourse “should be” one of the most intimate acts that we share as a people, somehow we have mixed that up with social intercourse. While one might lead to the other, I contend that we can enjoy many people on a social level, while maintaining that line between friend and sexual partner. I would also proffer that socially, we can enjoy the company of anyone, man or women in a social setting without setting off alarm bells that we are making a move on them, much like you can love someone and not be “in love” with them.
Clint Eastwood or “Dirty Harry” coined the phrase, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” As we traverse our day to day activities with others, we must be ever mindful of our limitations. Can we be with someone else socially and squelch our feelings or not develop them, in the first place? Much like spending time with your brother and or sister, can you keep it on that level?
MySpace and it’ successor Facebook; added a whole new complexity to social intercourse. Now we look for and find those that we lost contact with many years ago. We wonder what became of them, who they married, are they bald or fat and were they, successful or not. We also conjure up old memories of previous encounters. We speak with them often with a note or a “like” and we look at the pictures that they post, and maybe we wonder “what if?”
I would hazard a guess that Facebook is singularly responsible for more people seeking marital counseling today, than ever before. It may also be responsible for more marital issues than we know about as well. Is it ok to look up past boyfriends or girlfriends?
That answer is unique to you. There is no hard and fast rule on this and here is why. If you were a recovering alcoholic, the last thing that you would do is put yourself into a situation where alcohol is served. You would avoid situations where social drinking was the norm. If alcohol is not an issue for you, than socially drinking most probably will not be an issue. But how do you know? Drink enough and you may develop a problem.
Social intercourse with old friends works the same way. If there is a fear that you might be tempted to want to take it further, than by all means keep that sort of relationship at a distance.
I should point out that Facebook is simply a tool, if the issues that cause marital problems are there, Facebook simply makes it easier, just like people who have an addiction to pornography, the internet simply makes it easier.
I am reminded of the saying, “the grass is always greener.” Folks, men are men and women are women and other than the packaging; we are all pretty much the same. It is certainly ok to meet for dinner or what have you as couples, but just remember that the grass is not greener; and you should go home with the one that you came with. I would offer that you may not want to even do this, if your feelings for that person who you just found again were very strong. “To thine own self be true.”
Seeking a marriage tune-up every now and then is a good idea. In this day of social media, it may even be more germane as we are tempted even more. Most people are too proud to admit that they are growing apart. A lot of people will not even think about this as it is too “touchy feely” for them. Here is the truth about that, a relationship is all about “touchy feely,” and you were most certainly touchy feely at the onset of the relationship. Is it not worth exploring who you are at this point in your life to keep your marriage alive?
The rigors of everyday life wear you down. The routine becomes dull and boring and let’s face it a “rut.” Those who don’t seek help will eventually be easily distracted by an old flame, or perhaps a new one from work or some other place that you frequent, perhaps the gym or the golf course. Mid-life crisis is not only a theme for a movie but, a very real phenomenon.
You are with the person that you are with for a reason. Take some time to remember what attracted you to them, chances are whatever it was, is still there; simply buried under years of “routine.” Shaking the dust off a marriage by a special vacation, bringing home flowers for no reason, or making his favorite meal even though it is a lot of trouble, could be the start of dusting things off. It takes forgiveness, a willingness to save what you have, and the ability to look in the mirror and work on your own issues; and of course effort to try. Sounds a lot like love.. The counselor is simply a mediator to make your time and effort on this journey successful.
The sad truth is that even if you end up rupturing the nuptials, without repairing what is wrong in your life, you will sabotage a new relationship as well.
-Best to you and those that you care about!