After a long, long winter, leaning into the brightness of the sun can be tempting. That Vitamin D, that Vitamin C, oh how I’ve longed for you after these dry, dark, and lonely months!
You feel confident as you enter the warmth. You strip down to the bare essentials and embrace your vulnerability, that side of you that’s now courageously opted to expose itself.
But be cautious. Much like the sun, the threat of overexposure in relationships can be very damaging. Slowly reintroduce yourself and acclimatise. You don’t want to end up with third-degree heart burn. That’s not the kind Enos can fix.
Not all couples are made equal. It’s all about knowing your own exposure limit. Much like skin, some of us can stay in the sun, umbrella-less for hours, while others get moon burns hiking up Lion’s Head at 6 a.m. in the morning.
Some are able to bask in the bright, beautiful glory that is each other’s company for days - weeks, even! - without as much as a flush of temperature change. They grow stronger together as they stare into the sun like two sun-thirsty geckos. Let’s toast to our toastiness!
They move seamlessly with smiling faces and cool-as-cucumber dispositions. Then, on a whim, they decide to do AfrikaBurn in couples costumes in their first month of dating. Oh, the humidity.
Other personalities, like mine, need slight exposure - slow and steady releases to ensure as little damage as possible is done. To avoid relationship blisters, I apply relationship SPF during every new relationship. The formula is simple: slow periodic facetime. Re-apply as needed.
This usually saves me from hating people in life and works just as well when it comes to my romantic entanglements. It is a wonder cure that will see you looking and feeling 27 for life, guaranteed.
And it’s not really that I find others annoying, or difficult to be with. I just know myself. And if I see you for too long, I might not be good for you. I might not like myself in that situation, as I know I’m better with a bit of SPF.
I need breathing space and quiet. Because multitasking within my own brain is hard. I need switch-off time to feel re-energised. That old introvert way.
I often wonder whether it’s okay to be like this. Why do I want to get out of the shining sun that is my lovely relationship and retreat to the shade where it’s just me? Is something amiss? It makes sense that if I follow this formula with friends and family, and it works for me, it should also work for me in other relationships.
Luckily, many others believe in the powers of relationship SPF. Living separately without any plans of ever moving in together after a 10-plus-year relationship. Why the hell not? I know a married couple who alternate 3 months together and one month apart when he works in Denmark. They’ve done this for their entire 15-year marriage. It refreshes the relationship.
I really love this quotation by Steven Furtick (a pastor, nogals): "The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else's highlight reel."
Choose what feels right to you. It’s your skin, after all. You might have to mix and match a few options, like a bit of slow periodic facetime blended with see people freely and a dash of see people fortnightly to ensure your formula is spot-on. But this is mine, and I like its positive effects.
Will repurchase.(Image from @ultravioletteau)