the thrill of the chase

Way back in 2010 when we were adorably awkward and not yet married.
Way back in 2010 when we were adorably awkward and not yet married.

We really like watching TV. I love mainlining a series, getting completely lost in the fictional trials and tribulations of people who do not exist (but I wish they did). Lately, it has been The Mindy Project, and it has been making me feel so many feelings.

It’s all about the chase.

That’s the exciting part, right? The newness, the thrill, the tension, the unknown – will they, won’t they, have they? A sea of firsts and acres upon acres of unexplored psychological terrain to hike through. So many caves to dive into, full of treasure like the story of how they lost their virginity, the first time they flew on a plane, their first epic heartbreak.

Things are fun. Things are intense. Things are a discovery. The uncertainty is painfully intoxicating; will we make it? Does this path lead to happily ever after?

But the thing is that, though we’ve been conditioned to want happily ever after, we’ve also been taught to crave the high of getting there. Every “will they, won’t they” relationship portrayed on television and in movies is based on the assumption that no one wants to see a happily committed couple. The story cuts off as soon as the chase is over. Like happily committed couples are boring.

And I guess we kind of are.

Bryan and I have been together for five and a half years now. There’s not a whole lot of mystery in our relationship anymore (how can there be when one partner no longer feels the need to ever close the bathroom door?). There aren’t a whole ton of firsts waiting to be checked off. We couldn’t come up with too many answers for the entreaty, “Tell me something I don’t know about you.”

Sometimes, I hate that. Sometimes, I look at our life and our relationship and I think, “Sigh. I will probably never experience the rush of falling in love again.” I will never lay alone in my bed and wonder if he’s thinking of me, I’ll never hold my breath in heart-stopping anticipation of him accidentally touching me, I’ll never bore my friends to tears because I can’t talk about anything besides him.

It makes me sad. It makes me feel a little cheated.

Which is, of course, the dumbest thing, because I have exactly what those fictional characters (and so many real people, too) are searching for so desperately: happily ever after. I have the person that I’m going to spend my life with, who loves me for every flawed, abrasive piece of me. I have the person who knows every weird habit I have and has seen me in many unfortunate and embarrassing situations and still wants to share my bed. I have an equal and supportive partner in every aspect of life.

I watch TV and I feel a twinge. I watch the tension build to a fever pitch between Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano, and I feel a sharp pang of loss. I look at Bryan, on the couch next to me, and think, “We are already in love, we’re never going to do that again.”

And then I remember that that is a good thing. No more awkward firsts. No more worrying about how his opinion of me will change when he finds out how seldom I shower. No more wondering if I will be alone forever.

We slid through the dizzying wonder of falling in love so that we could achieve this deep, easy, real intimacy, so that we could know each other fully and experience true acceptance. This is our reward. I wouldn’t trade it for all the heart-stopping drama and romance in the world.

Then I sit back and wonder if things are going to be boring now that (season 2 spoiler alert) Mindy and Danny are together.

the thrill of the chase