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Last week, I was in Dubai with my husband.
We used cabs multiple times a day, but one cab in particular caught my attention.
As we sat in the back seat, safety instructions started playing. We were told to fasten our seat belts because it can save our lives in the event of a crash, refrain from smoking, and wear our masks. It ended by saying, “We hope you enjoy your journey and have a safe ride.”
Have a safe ride? It can save my life in the event of a crash? Crash?
Let me begin by saying that it was the first time ever I use a cab with safety announcements. And although I know 100 percent that a seat belt can save my life in the event of a crash and that my ride might not be safe, I was terrified.
Okay, that was weird. I drive a car, I use cabs, and you’ll find me in the front or back seat of a car almost every day. Why on Earth was I terrified of cars at that moment?
I started thinking that safety instructions usually creep me out on airplanes. I mean, that’s understandable since I’m not on an airplane every single day (or week, or month). So why am I scared of something I use on a daily basis?
Then it hit me, “F*ck, I got too comfortable in cars!” It’s wrong; it’s dangerous; it’s not okay!
I looked online and it turned out that flying is safer than driving:
“It is estimated that the odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 9,821. For a better perspective, that is 1 fatal accident per 16 million flights. Whereas the odds of dying in a car crash are approximately 1 in 114.”
Although cars are more dangerous than aircrafts, they feel safe to me because I use them daily. I’m too comfortable in cars, so I don’t assess the risks anymore.
While I was in that cab, I started thinking about the dangers of comfort and how it can oftentimes blind us.
I reflected on our careers, friendships, and—of course—relationships.
More than eight years ago and months after our breakup, my ex-boyfriend told me, “Elyane, I felt you got too comfortable with me. You no longer dressed up for me and stopped doing the activities you had loved. You became a different person.”
I hated him for years for saying that. And although change is not an excuse to fall out of love, that guy had a point. Change is okay—comfort is not.
He was right. I did get too comfortable. In the back of my mind, I thought it was okay to relinquish the things I had loved and stop taking care of myself, because hey, I have him, he’s staying—there’s no way I’m losing him.
That was exactly what I thought about being in a car. Hey, I use this machine every day—what’s the worst that could happen, right?
Don’t get me wrong, though. Feeling comfortable with our partner is a necessity, and it’s damn beautiful. But getting too comfortable is hazardous and signals the beginning of a stagnant phase.
A comfortable relationship is like a comfortable car: we stop assessing the risks.
When we stop having real dates with each other, we forget that the relationship might become typical.
When we stop dressing up for each other, we forget that we are only human and someone else might spark our interest.
When we stop communicating, we forget that we stop being present.
When we stop doing the activities we enjoy, we forget what made us good (and maybe perfect) for each other.
That said, be comfortable, but please, don’t get too comfortable.
Show appreciation for each other, always communicate, compliment each other, go out on dates, don’t make assumptions, text each other, cuddle, kiss, say “I love you”…do anything that breaks the routine.
Maybe even play in your head safety instructions, just as a reminder that comfort is not okay and you never know when the relationship might “crash.”