Originally penned/published: April 29, 2013
“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”
I’ll begin with a bit of dialogue between myself and a colleague on Friday:
“Marriage is difficult.”
I nod my head, “So I hear.”
“No, it’s really, REALLY DIFFICULT.”
Nod head some more, “Okay.”
I have never been married. Fair enough. But I have a very close example in my life of two people who are married and who are gloriously happy. Granted, it’s not perfect. Nothing ever is. It is not a dream-sequence. But its good, damnit. REALLY good. And I’m sure it took work. Still TAKES work. But growing takes work. And I definitely know all about that.
My concern here was the tone in his voice and the persistence in his speech. Yeah, I get it. Marriage is hard. So I’ve heard. Yep. But we all know that. You knew that going in! Anyway, he proceeds to tell me about his schedule. How he used to travel twice a month and since he’s been married (which, I believe is somewhere between 9-12 months) he’s only been away twice. I, personally, think that’s striking and I wonder why he hasn’t been away more.
He continues with, “It takes compromise. Sacrifice”
I nod. I know this.
But he says these like they’re REALLY SERIOUS things. Like… like maybe he’s compromising or sacrificing too much. Perhaps he is? I think about the travel. Sure, I imagine when one marries they may need to make changes. You lose a little bit of the freedom you once had. And especially when there’s a child involved. But, generally speaking, I think as individuals we ought to watch HOW MUCH we compromise and what things. There are some things you must maintain for your sanity. Emotional health. For your overall well-being. Those things, I would argue, are not really compromise-able. A healthy and happy Joe Black, single, is better than an unstable, overworked, exhausted, and stressed-beyond-belief Joe Black, married.
I would also argue that we’ve gotta watch out for our people. Our friends, family, and most definitely lovers or partners, to ensure that they’re still healthy post-whatever life changes they’ve made. Sometimes we don’t realize we’re unhappy until we’re already there. But as friends, family members, and yes, even as someone’s lover or partner, we can realize when they’re not happy. And we have to have the confidence and the trust and the better judgement, and damnit, the maturity to share our observations. And then the willingness to RE-compromise, renegotiate really, if things aren’t working well for both parties. And be okay with it. Use it as a growth opportunity.
Growing is good. It hurts. But it’s good.
You cannot compromise the things you love. They must be incorporated.
And sooooooo you all know how I feel about dating. I think it’s f*cking stupid. At least the typical American style of dating.
It’s dumb. Really. No, no really. It’s really, really dumb.
And here’s why. It’s because it has “roles.” And people actually subscribe to that and then become them, own them… I mean, are we in a play now? Is this a movie? You = doorholder/payer (sometimes) and your role is to impress me. Be kind, seem strong, give the impression that you’re financially stable or perhaps “well-off” if you so feel. You should be reasonable and even tempered…
And then here’s me: I’m sweet. Docile. I wear a dress. I let you open doors. I am agreeable, supportive, pretty….
Have you ever heard of anything SO BORING????
Are we supposed to just pretend like we’d be the perfect wife or husband??? Give me a break. No wonder why there’s this “honeymoon period” in so many American relationships. BECAUSE EVERYONE’S PRETENDING!!!
So why am I bringing this up again?
So I recently started “seeing someone” – you could say – orrrrr however you wanna say that. It’s new, there is no title, but we shared that we’re not seeing anyone else… and so yeah. And I kinda don’t want to see anyone else. At least not at this time.
So anyway… so yesterday a friend texted me to see if I wanted to go to brunch. Or, at least I thought he was a friend. I replied that I would love to (I love going to brunch btw) but I was cooking brunch for someone already. Then I followed with the whole I’m-seeing-someone-now-so-any-future-outings-must-be-strictly-platonic…. And honestly… I liked this person. And previous outings hadn’t really been overly non-platonic. I think we kissed once. When we were drunk. Lol. But I was hoping for a strictly platonic future outing. I value this person. And I have many male friends. The male-female friend thing is not impossible at all to me, it’s quite a good reality actually. Most women make me crazy. But anyway, I was surprised to receive a message back saying, “My bad. I won’t bother you anymore.”
You’re not a bother. If you were, I would’ve told you long ago to leave me alone, but more importantly
You really have no interest in being my friend. Geez…. Wow. Thanks. (<— note the sarcasm)
So here’s my sadness to all this. When meeting people, as a single woman, I honestly approach everyone as a potential friend. (if I find out they’re legitimately crazy or just do awful, awful things… Then no. We won’t be friends.) But I approach everyone with the concept of finding out what they’re about: their visions/dreams, their goals, values, their work, integrity, their peace…. I’m always curious to learn something from someone. And so…. Man… I guess I become sad when I find out later that they did not have the same approach as I. They weren’t genuinely interested in knowing me.
I guess, though, there’s really not much of a reason to be sad, there’s just a reason to grow: know that not everyone is or even wants to be your friend. And that the people who really want to be in your life, and the people who belong there, will be present and will stay. Everyone else…..??? They’re probably not the best for you. Have faith in that.
Okay, maybe it’s not typical American dating that I’m so frustrated with but perhaps the typical American…
So in reflection on my colleague – this morning I was thinking about his comments and his conclusion: he whisked off to Costa Rica for 4 days, against the wishes of his wife, to rest, recuperate, rejuvenate… I also wondered why she didn’t want him to go. The man is visibly exhausted. Shoot, I wanted him to go. It’s clear he needed to get away.
And while eating breakfast this morning and listening to my best friend/roommate’s phone conversation with a supervisor, and her subsequent complaints after…. Which were a little irritating to me first thing in the morning but I listened… I thought, “maybe it’s not so difficult at all…. Maybe you’re just doing it wrong.”
I finished my coffee, breathed the irritability out and re-found my peace.
So in reflection:
(finish your coffee)
Re-find your peace.
And keep friendship first.
Be good, good people.