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Dating While Married

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by Shela Dean

Dating While Married

You read or heard that it’s a good idea for married folk to have date night to keep the sparks flying. So you have an occasional (or regular) night out. You do your best to tune out distractions, focus on each other, and spend quality time before returning to reality. That’s a good thing—well, at least it’s better than nothing. But here’s the deal: you can go on 50, 500 or even 5,000 “great dates” that include everything from an intimate home picnic to a Paris junket and still be left wondering what happened to that indescribably delicious feeling you had back when you were 24/7 dating. That’s because an intermittent dinner-and-movie date night isn’t “dating.” Dating isn’t something you do from time to time, it’s a mindset coupled with behavior.

“Dating” is to marriage what “foreplay” is to sex. It is the seduction phase of a relationship, the equivalent of the human mating dance where every move is designed to seduce the object of your adoration into loving and wanting you as a mate. In short, once the sparks begin to fly, you intuitively understand that if you’re going to “seal the deal” and get this amazing person to mate with you, you’d better do everything you can to impress, please, and show your best side—not just occasionally, but all day, everyday, 24/7. That’s emotional seduction through emotional foreplay.

To continue the metaphor, we think (at a subconscious level) that just as sexual foreplay is no longer necessary once sex has taken place, put-your-best-foot-forward emotional foreplay is no longer necessary once we’ve sealed the deal with wedding rings. Courtship was successful, we conclude, and, therefore, there’s no more need for the mating dance. There is a major flaw in that reasoning, however, and it is this: marriage, as divorce statistics readily prove, is not irrevocable. It is a choice, one we make daily and, therefore, if you want your partner to choose every day to be with you, then you must emotionally seduce your partner by engaging in everyday emotional foreplay just as you did when you were dating.

Emotional foreplay is doing those things that resonate with your partner as loving, kind, thoughtful, supportive, positive, and generous. It is those things you do that make your partner feel cherished, appreciated, and special. It’s putting your best foot forward. It’s keeping your promises and agreements. It’s being responsive to your partner’s needs and wishes. In short, everyday emotional foreplay is doing exactly what you did when you were dating.

Are you doing that? Do you hold the door for your sweetheart, fill his or her wine glass, bring home small but meaningful gifts, and are otherwise thoughtful, kind and polite? Do you say thanks for the little things? Are you attentive and a good listener? Do you find ways every day to make your sweetheart’s day a little easier or more pleasant? Do you text, email or call just to say hello? If so, then you’re an ace at emotional foreplay.

Or have you gotten lazy, critical, thoughtless and self-centered? If so, and if you want to keep your relationship, then remember this: just as great foreplay is essential to Wow! sex, great emotional foreplay is essential to a Wow! relationship.

Dating while married isn’t about the occasional “date night.” While it’s good for you and your relationship to get out together, dating while married isn’t so much about dressing up and going out on the town as it is about maintaining the mindset you had when dating, i.e., when you were laser-beam focused on emotionally seducing the person who became your spouse.

Dating after marriage isn’t about date night. It’s about everyday emotional foreplay and the reason it is so important for you to continue dating after marriage is that if you don’t, you may find yourself single.

Tags: courtship dating divorce statistics sexual foreplay wedding rings

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