First, I read this article (In case you're looking for context).
I'll try to sum up the story in a paragraph if you don't have time, but it's a really great read. Guy asks wife if he can research cheating by signing up for cheating site, wife agrees. Guy goes on nice random dates and gets along great with a few girls who he connects with on site. Guys succeeds in getting date to go to a hotel with him. Before anything happens, he confesses. Drink thrown in face; names called. Guy meets with his wife right away, who confronts him about alcohol smell and is upset only because he never takes HER on dates like that anymore. Guy learns important lesson about why some women cheat.
This article was really eye-opening to me, as a gentleman who has recently gotten engaged and has fallen into a regular (read: boring) pattern in my relationship. I have always fancied myself something of a romantic, and I KNOW that relationships can't keep their early pace forever. To me, this basically seems like a lack of awareness in a relationship, and more importantly, a lack of communication. These kinds of problems are actually extremely common in relationships, not just those of a romantic nature.
In the article, the issue between the author and his wife arose because of a perceived lack of effort in their relationship IN COMPARISON to the amount of effort he was putting in to cheating (his career) at the time. The author describes himself as a reformed lothario who is completely committed to his marriage, but he is nevertheless taken aback by his newfound realization of how easy it would be for him to engage in stimulating affairs. Trysts of this nature, while not physical, are still emotionally and morally objectionable.
It is sometimes difficult to see from within how some of our actions might be perceived from others inside or around our social circles. I have been pouring a TON of energy into extra-occupational endeavours lately, trying to make my way into the media business through blogging, webcasting, filmmaking, web design, amateur music production, etc.. However, I have always told myself that since I started doing this, I am 100% committed to the girl I am going to marry. If any of this work, no matter how fulfilling or satisfying I found it, came between her and I in a serious way, I would put it on the backburner, or abandon it if need be. Ditto for arrival/departure at events: if we were going to be late for something because she (somewhat stereotypically at times) needed more time to declare herself presentable to the world (I will never understand this because she always looks lovely), I always take a deep breath and acknowledge to myself that worrying about running late, or missing some deadline, probably isn't worth worrying about in comparison to the continued happiness and mental well-being of my betrothed.
That being said, I am not perfect, and I am never going to be (I don't even aim for perfection, at least not in ALL aspects of my life). There will be times when I will make errors in judgment, and when I will upset the people I care about most. I probably do need to spend a little more time considering the thoughts and feelings of those closest to me in the world, because nothing is more important to me than those people. I am well aware that I'm not the greatest when it comes to asking or knowing what is going on in people's lives.
If I could add one more thing I've learned over the course of my many romantic and platonic relationships over the years, it's that life is FAR too short to take things seriously. There is obviously a time and a place for real talk and keeping a straight face, and every once in a while things WILL happen that will need dealing with. But at least 99% of life is much better spent laughing. Or loving. Or reading a good book. Cuddling. Soaking up the sun by the ocean. Doing whatever you want without a care in the world. Cry (if you feel like it).
So today, do me a favour. Laugh unironically at a bad joke. Smile at a stranger. Hug somebody close to you just a few seconds longer. Compliment or acknowledge somebody near you. Tell that special someone you love them.
Relationships aren't always about big, grand romantic gestures. Sometimes, they are about compromise and mutual respect, or admitting fault, guilt or jealousy. But most important is making sure that the people in your life know you care about them, and what you mean to them. That's the big lesson here: keep the best people in your life the closest, and you'll always be happy.