I was speaking with my mother’s friend recently and she told me a tale of how a woman who had been married for twenty years had left what she described as a nice husband in pursuit of the elusive spark, the fireworks that she felt was missing from her life. They’d been married for about twenty years and she felt it was now or never when she left him. It was a startling and frightening realisation that she was confronted with when she realised that it’s not that easy out there and if she thought dating was hard in her twenties, it’s nothing on trying in your forties or fifties. She is more miserable than she has ever been and has serious regrets.
“Well she’ll be waiting a long time on those ‘fireworks’. I’m not even sure they exist.” I wisecracked.
“Jaysus you’re right” my mum’s friend replied. “I know what I have and I make the most of it and enjoy it. She’s bloomin’ miserable now the poor thing.”
We should want something solid and long lasting. Fireworks when it comes to relationships are not dissimilar to the ones we see at displays. You get a burst of excitement, passion, a beautiful display that makes you ooh and aah, but they burn out and then it’s over. It can’t maintain momentum. For there to be the excitement of fireworks, there has got to be some normality, even some mundane moments in between.
Love is not about having mad, passionate sex where fireworks are practically shooting out of you. It’s not about cymbals clashing and the parting of the sea. It’s not like the movies where you meet someone, it’s amazing, a little obstacle turns up and you break up but then he turns up at some point, whether that’s days, weeks, months or even years, climbs up the trellis and rescues his princess a la Pretty Woman and whisks you away in a limo to happily ever after.
We are not living in a romcom. There are some people that have a whirlwind romance that echoes a movie plot, but for the majority of us, it’s a bit of romcom, a bit of horror, a bit of thriller, and plenty of drama. When we watch a movie, we just get to see the happy ending after 90 or 120 minutes, but I bet if they did a sequel to each of these beautiful unions, plenty of them would no longer exist, have turned ugly, or just slipped into the ‘mundane’, normal life that the rest of us have to live.
Everything loses its initial excitement eventually which is why that period is referred to as the honeymoon phase. Things should settle into a much deeper, calmer with respect to the fireworks, yet deeply fulfilling relationship. The fireworks display needs to be worked at and when you have one, it feels great. The initial fireworks in a relationship are caused by lust, sexual frisson, but subsequent sparks fly because of a deep connection between two people based on various different levels that go beyond physical attraction.
When it comes to the search for fireworks, I’m not saying that we should turn into cynical, bitter hags and not dream a little, but lets keep things in perspective and not raise our expectations so high that they can’t be met and you spend your life being disappointed and disillusioned. Dream a little but pay attention to what’s in front of you