I once faked a medical emergency to get a guest to leave my house.
A girlfriend and her husband had arranged to drop around for drinks one night, but the husband had shown up solo.
Three hours of mind-numbing small talk in, my friend called.
"I don't think I'll make it; I'm stuck in a meeting. But please enjoy the night without me," she added, before hanging up.
Not wanting to endure another minute of her husband's dreary company, I announced it was getting late, and started cleaning up around him. He didn't take the hint.
So I feigned a case of food poisoning.
It's not my proudest moment, but let's be honest, there are few things most of us wouldn't do to escape a similarly tedious situation.
Just take a study published in the Journal of Science which found people would rather administer painful shocks to themselves than endure 15 minutes of boredom. When presented with the option, 67 per cent of men and 25 per cent of women chose to stick their fingers in electric sockets to break up the silent sameness of sitting in a quiet room alone.
While these results border on farcical (do these people have no other ideas on ways to entertain themselves that don't involve electrocution?!), they do hint at a universal truth: human beings don't do well with monotony.
And nowhere is that clearer than in our romantic relationships (you knew this segue was eventually going somewhere!)
If I had a dollar for every email I received from a reader complaining they feel "trapped" in their marriage, I wouldn't need to worry about purging items from my ASOS cart ever again. (As an aside, an unexpected job hazard of writing about sex seems to be people mistaking my inbox for a confessional.)
Despite our culture's outward obsession with monogamy, very few of us relish the reality of living out Groundhog Day in our relationships, and attitudes are slowly shifting to reflect this.
The past decade has seen internet searches on polyamory spike, and the emergence of Feeld and PolyFinda – dating apps designed to meet the growing demand for couples exploring alternative relationship models.
Many of the couples who choose to buck monogamy refer to their lifestyles as "consensual non-monogamy" (CSM) – an umbrella term for flexible relationship arrangements that span everything from swinging to polyamory.
These couples acknowledge the fact love and sex can exist independently – something rarely discussed when we talk about monogamy.
Culturally, we still cling to the idea sex is effortless and instinctive in the presence of love. Consequently, when the sex inevitably dries up, we find ourselves lamenting, "the love is gone".
Consensual non-monogamists take a less rigid approach.
"The most successful long-term relationships are the ones with enough flexibility to redefine themselves over and over again through the years," writes Dossie Easton in The Ethical Sl*t, an ahead-of-its-time guide to navigating polyamory, first published in 1997.
Rather than surrendering to the boredom, or resorting to metaphorically electrifying ourselves with vices like workaholism, alcohol and infidelity to escape the monotony, CNM couples pose a third option: consensually inviting someone else into the room.
Many couples claim having sex with someone other than their partner – with the knowledge and permission of their partner – is the impetus for reigniting the spark in their marriage.
"We were on the brink of divorce before we started attending sex parties together. Since then, it's been like we're teenagers again," confesses Jane (not her real name), a married mum of two who goes to adult events once a month with her husband to have sex with other people.
Of course, boundaries have to be discussed before embarking on this journey - will your encounters with people outside the relationship be purely sexual? How often are you comfortable with your partner seeing other people? Can you see the same people more than once? - and it's admittedly not for everyone.
As someone who has already test-driven the conventional model – complete with the obnoxious wedding registry and joint bank accounts – I can confirm traditional monogamy isn't for me.
Does this mean I let my boyfriend sleep with other people?
No. Not yet, anyway. But it's something we've discussed and will regularly revisit throughout our relationship.
We're only three years in right now, but we both know that when the monotony eventually sets in, we're prepared to take the road less travelled. Because, in my experience at least, there are few things worse than being in a relationship that's become the house guest who won't take the hint the party's over.