Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Monday, January 12, 2009

Don’t Idealize Romantic Flings

It has probably happened to each and every one of us – a brief romantic encounter that we carry with us for years. Perhaps you met that person on vacation, or may have met him or her while traveling on business in another area. You may have been twenty or you may have been forty. The point is that the memory of a fling can be powerful.

In writing this article, I am reminded of a popular song by Carly Simon entitled “Better Not Tell Her.” She sings the song to a man with whom she had a brief rendez-vous, and this man happened to be involved already. Ms. Simon advises him about how he should handle his return to his wife after the affair affair is over, as she sings “just leave out the white nights, the moon in your window, the break in your whisper, she won’t need to know.”

The problem with such a rendez-vous (independent of the glaring infidelity!) is that this song reminds us how we can all carry fleeting flings into our normal lives. The reality, however, is that these flings shouldn’t be romanticized or idealized because they are completely unreal. In the context of a brief affair, two people don’t truly know each other and the setting is often one of relaxation and abandon.

The goal in love is to learn how to have a vital love life in the context of a fairly normal daily routine. Men and women must learn how to have intimacy within a long-term relationship. Brief flings from the past often interfere with intimacy at home because they provide a false belief that this abandon is real love. No, this is not real love – this is lust. How about trying to reinvigorate that sense of lust ion a long-term relationship? It can happen, though it might take a little bit of effort!

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