Alex's life was the darling of social media platforms - she was vibrant and confident, twenties, happily(ish - more on this in a moment) married to her partner Mark, a charming and seemingly devoted who had been with her - and she with him - since their childhood. With each milestone of their lives, their relationship flourished until they inevitably said their "I do's" and made a commitment they thought would be simple to maintain.
Though, as her twenties slipped away, and both of their careers took prominence in their lives - things were....fine. Fine in the sense that they woke up together, still very much loved each other - and told one another as such often. And as much as they both hated to acknowledge such an abstract thing as a "spark" there very much wasn't one anymore, or at least not a very bright one. But it was fine - these ebbs and flows are natural in any long term relationship.
An Unusual Twist:
Time - as it does - went on, and things seemed stable; if not stagnant. But it wasn't anything particularly bothersome. Alex did notice her eyes drifting towards other men while at the grocery store, or at the gym, or wherever she may be - she assumed the same of Mark; it's only natural - nothing would ever come of it.
One morning, however, Alex woke up to a pain in her mouth - a sore. Not thinking anything of it, assuming she had just - finally - picked up herpes from a friend she shared a drink with, or some other unavoidable scenario; because that's how you get herpes....right? (Hint: It's not)
Days went by and the sore - while annoying - was more or less forgotten until unexpectedly – a rash! Not one to take any chances, Alex called her doctor and booked an appointment to make sure there wasn't anything particularly concerning going on.
Alex's heart sank later that week as her doctor told her that the most likely cause for her recent symptoms was Syphilis - but how? Yes - her relationship was...stale. But that stale??? How could she even begin to discuss this with her husband?
No matter yet, there's still blood tests, a physical exam, and some unfortunate waiting before she can be entirely sure that that is what is actually happening.
Alex's test results confirmed her worst fears – she had Syphilis. And while there was still a difficult conversation to be had, there was a certain weight that she felt had been lifted in knowing what she did.
She absolutely didn't approve of her husband's infidelity, or the fact that he felt as though he had to hide it from here. But she also recognized that he had also only acted on the same impulses and feelings that she herself was feeling from the monotony that had become of their relationship. And now knowing what she knew, she could finally - in her mind - fix what had been "broken."
Alex waited for her husband to return home from work with a bottle of wine and takeout from their favorite local taco spot as a way of easing the tension for the conversation they were about to have. Her husband - upon arrival - could sense that something was wrong; and rightfully knew what it was.
He immediately began stammering, backpedaling, and trying to excuse his behavior - only to be reassured by Alex that it was fine. She told him about the experience she had just had, the anxiety, the uncertainty - the fear. She told him about her own feelings and frustrations, her own wandering eyes when at the gym, and how just as likely it could have been her sitting in his seat.
She recognized that, while he was the one who made a mistake, it wasn't something that was either of their faults - and that she was ok if his needs weren't being met; but just wants to know what he's experiencing - and to be able to tell him the same.
Open Up The Relationship
After a long conversation, and calling in an order for another bottle of wine, Alex and her husband made the (not so) difficult decision to open their relationship - but only if they could do so responsibly. There would be ground rules around protection, and regular testing (thankfully Alex discovered knō during this whole ordeal), but were otherwise ok with some extracurricular activities - and of course, the occasional sharing of fun.