The late actor Robin Williams once said that ‘Spring is Nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party”!’ Alfred, Lord Tennyson put it more poetically: ‘In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.’
Whether men’s – or women’s – libidos get a boost during Spring has not been scientifically proven, I don’t think, but certainly the animal world gets frisky at this time of the year. As February turned into March, I happened to start reading a novel by Ian McEwan, The Children Act, which begins with a 59-year-old husband announcing to his wife of 30 years that ‘before I drop dead, I want one big passionate affair’. What’s more, he wants his wife – whom he claims still to love – to sanction his proposed infidelity so that their lives together can carry on more or less as before.
Unsurprisingly, the wife is horrified and upset, and stupefied by the idea that her erstwhile kind and thoughtful partner could put their longstanding marriage at risk for the short-lived thrill of an affair.
As divorce specialists, we have heard every reason under the Sun for the breakdown of marriages, but middle-aged men having flings with younger women is a common theme. All too often, extra-marital relationships are simply that – flings. Sadly, many such liaisons last long enough to destroy a lengthy, largely happy marriage.
For those of you who might be on the cusp of such a dalliance, I urge you to consider that however exciting it may seem, an affair is rarely worth the misery it causes: unless your settled relationship really is on the rocks, trying to rejuvenate your marriage is more likely to bring long-term contentment that a few passionate encounters with a younger model.
On the other hand, this is also the time of year traditionally set aside for ‘spring cleaning’, and if your marriage has felt stale and unsatisfactory for some while, the onset of Spring could be the ideal opportunity to inject new life into it. One way to achieve this is to start doing new things together, ideally outdoor-based in order to take advantage of the improving weather. A couple I know recently joined the National Trust, specifically to give them a shared interest and a focus for days out and weekends away à deux.
Sometimes, of course, the blossoming of Spring can make you realise that the ‘winter of discontent’ you’ve been living in is not going to blow over with the appearance of daffodils. If seeing Nature bloom anew confirms that your relationship has shrivelled and died, then think about your embarking on your most radical spring-cleaning spree yet – and see a divorce lawyer.