“I never saw it coming.” An honest account of love after marriage and children.

In the first 18 months of a relationship, love is passionate. It’s exciting, its new, its science.

In 18 months you hear the birds singing, even at 2am when you’ve driven home from making out all night. You lay on your bed and the butterflies dance around your stomach and all in the room.

I’ll never forget the morning after Domenic and I first kissed. The world had a lighter filter on it. (Totally used a new age metaphor, who am I?) Everyone who knew me knew that after 18 months, my relationships struggle. Why do they struggle? Because just like science suggests there’s only 18 months of passionate love, it also suggests passionate love becomes the companionate type of love.

For those of you playing at home, the technical term ‘companionate love’ is a non-passionate type of love that is stronger than friendship because of the element of long-term commitment. This type of love is observed in long-term marriages where passion is no longer present but where a deep affection and commitment remain.

To me, it means your relationship has become B O R I N G.

I’m the type of girl who believes in fairy tales, that love can still have passion 10 years, 20 years later, where companionate love and passionate love can coexist. Give me a mixture of The Notebook and 50 Shades of Grey.

A photo posted by Laura Emm (@mum_onthe_run) on

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I remember I was sitting on a bed with a friend who had been married for seven years while she was reading 50 Shades of Grey (ironically…) and her husband was in the other room watching football. I was childless and single at this stage.

“Are you happy? Don’t you get bored of just doing nothing together?”

She explained that she liked her own time and that they still did things together, and this was as good as it was getting. She was happy!

I swore that I would only marry someone if it was exciting and passionate and I wouldn’t settle for any less.

Domenic gave me the fairytale. He said things I knew he didn’t throw away on just words. He would look at me like he could see into my soul and that he loved me wholeheartedly.

Everyone commented about the way he looked at me. Even if a gorgeous woman walked in the room, he still only had eyes for me.  Why wouldn’t I marry this man? He made me realise something was missing when I didn’t know there was.

So we did, we got married and I wanted babies. It was blissful. Sure we would have fights occasionally. I can be jealous and I can be demanding. He can be nonchalant and but we always worked it out. We had that passionate love.

A photo posted by Laura Emm (@mum_onthe_run) on

Months rolled on, we welcomed little Luca in the world. I tried to keep things passionate but my body wasn’t mine anymore, and it wasn’t the same. I could barely walk and couldn’t keep it on. Other methods didn’t appeal to me.

I was exhausted, and I didn’t want to touch or be touched. We became roommates, passing each other in the hallway and nodding in acknowledgement. Both desperate for sleep, both struggling with parenting. We lost the connection.

I started to resent him. Think about divorcing him. Wondered if I had made a mistake. I was tired, angry and vulnerable.

The days become like roller coasters and your emotions and relationship is all up and down.

No more date nights, no more sex. No more connection. I sat here, putting the blame on him.

“Why doesn’t he ask me out on a date? Organise a babysitter? Why doesn’t he read my mind?”

Every night became mundane. Sitting in front of the TV, both on our phones. He came home and helped me with the kids. He took over and gave me a rest, and he’d talk about work, but he didn’t look at me with that glow in his eyes anymore. Yeah, we loved each other, but it had became companionate love.

Just like that. Fucking companionate love.

I never saw it coming. The fact I couldn’t control it made it worse. Had we become boring?? Had we lost the spark? Is he going to watch footy in one room while I read 50 Shades of Grey, wishing for my husband to be a Christian Grey, and take me into his red room… (which actually just consists of cleaning products and massage oil so he can massage me and clean the house. Sure there can be whips… but when I say whips I mean whipped cream and chocolate fudge and no. I do not want you to lick it off me.) Anyway… totally sidetracked.

And I realised a few things in one moment the other day. I trusted someone else to look after my kids… and we went out. I realised all the other times I had made excuses and me never once initiated going out because I expected him to do it. I realised that every time he came home and looked after the kids apart from me felt lonely and lost because when he used to walk through the door, he would nurture me too. I still wanted to be nurtured. I still wanted to be wanted and needed and needy. (Yeah, I’m needy, so what?)

So we went out, and I got dressed up. I’ve lost the sexy. But I decided to pump Justin Timberlake and bring it back. I was 50 per cent self-conscious, but 50 per cent of me also said, “fuck it; just rock it!”

We had a little to drink and as we were both coming home, I started to think that even though we are parents, we are still the same people. Two party animals at heart. Two pyjama loving, suit loving, jam doughnut pig out session lovers. We had kids but that doesn’t mean it should change. It just means it can be altered a bit. And four hours away from children to spend together shouldn’t be accompanied by guilt! It should be just appreciated that in that moment, we are still two.

Two people in love.

Someone said to me once, “remember why you chose to have children with him in the first place.”

Companionate love isn’t so bad. It means I go to the supermarket and I ask him if he wants me to pick up jam doughnuts, and call him a dickhead if he says I can’t share them with him. But I can also look at him like he’s the sexiest man in the world. The man who I DID decide to have children with, and who I had a great time making them with.

Sure it’s not all the time, but seriously, I couldn’t bite my lip as much as Anastasia does anyway. All that sex, exhausting!

Let’s face it, we aren’t boring. We are in love, and as much as I’d love to control it all,and have it perfected in my mind of how we should be, I realise that even if I did I wouldn’t like it, and there’s really nothing wrong with asking for what I want.

So as that thought came up in my head in the backseat of the car, my eyes lifted and I looked at Domenic in a way that he would always look at me, with a glow in my eyes.

And as I did, I saw him, already glowingly gazing at me. He looked right into my eyes and we both smiled at each other and looked away like you do when you first have eye intercourse with a stranger… (sorry killed it). We looked at each other like we hadn’t in a long time, and it was magical.

Who said passionate love was dead? Science doesn’t know shit!

For more from Laura, check out her blog Mum on the Run. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

What is bird nest parenting? How do you raise a non-homophobe? Help, my kid is a biter. What did your parents do that today would be considered bad parenting? Listen to the latest episode of This Glorious Mess.

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