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There comes a time in a relationship, when, with the pressure of kids and work, that you have to be honest and accept, however reluctantly, that you and your respective partner just don’t have the same levels of dedication and stamina to do things together quite like you used to. One of you has more time, more energy, maybe more of an appetite for it, the other still enjoys it, but with distractions, or tiredness, just can’t commit to seeing things through like they used to.
It’s happened to us. After several years of guilt, frustration, and finally, an open and honest talk, my husband has owned up to seeing other series behind my back.
It was a natural progression. He can pop a series on in the background whilst he’s working, whereas my days are now mostly either with the kids (who a) are too young for GoT et al, and b) never let me choose what to watch anyway, even on Cbeebies), or reading/writing, which I prefer to do in a near vacuum of silence for productivity’s sake. He has more energy in the evenings (a combination of less physically/emotionally tiring work days, and natural body clock tendencies), and the times when I’d drag myself down after a soporific hour or so breastfeeding and winding down in a dark room, I’m often not in the mood for something intellectually or emotionally demanding, or anything that lasts too long and therefore keeps me up too late. Though better value for money, and great if you have all the time in the world to enjoy them, starting one of the big American series with six seasons of twenty plus episodes feels like a big commitment of time when we only get one or two evenings a week together. The days of hammering through four or five episodes in an evening have gone, with evenings typically starting at 9, and ending at 11 (when I’m pretty much falling asleep on the sofa. Maybe I’ve just got old and boring…). We occasionally go wild and rebelliously stay up until 12 (usually under the influence of wine), but any later and it’s asking for pain and torment when the kids wake us up at the crack of dawn.
Things were getting stressful for both of us. We’d started Breaking Bad back in October, and got a good run through series one, then stalled. We’ve watched the first episode of Lost (he saw it first time round, I never have). Gentle questioning turned into lists of all the unwatched box sets cluttering up our shelves. Things escalated when we got Amazon Prime, until I mentioned one day that I’d like watch Mr Robot, and my husband ‘fessed up that he already had.
It’s a relief actually. He’s since ploughed through more series than I can count, and I don’t feel the oppressive guilt when asked “what shall we do tonight” and wanting to re-watch old comedy shows.
A friend of mine has found the same, despite them “watching box sets together before it was cool,” with a 9 month old and a 5 year old, it takes a hell of a lot of determination and energy to keep up the viewing standards we set for ourselves when we’re younger.
We’ll get round to watching them together one day, and in the meantime, I feel happier being able to watch what I feel like, rather than what I feel I should. We’ve been enjoying American Gods, despite going back to the old-fashioned approach of waiting for each new episode to air (I haven’t done that since Heroes, when we’d rush to Hotmail chat about it afterwards on our non-portable computers. Ahhh, back in the day!), and he has, very sweetly, saved Breaking Bad for us to finish together. I always knew he was a secret romantic!