Compare and Contrast: How does your relationship measure up?

“You know, I was thinking I should have stocked your hotel fridge with groceries while I was up there visiting…”

He laughed and jokingly said, “Yeah, you never take care of me. Jeez, I’m so neglected.”

Between the two of us, we know it’s not true. He and I both do our best to always give to each other in little ways, no matter what.

But then he went on to tell me that his male coworkers gave him friendly shit about the fact that their girlfriends/wives do his laundry, iron his shirts, etc. when they come visit. And I didn’t.

My first reaction was WORRY. Ohmygod, his coworkers think I’m a total crap fiance who doesn’t take care of her future husband. Am I a terrible person, that those things didn’t enter into my to-do list? I thought the whole point of my visit was to spend time with him. Is he mad that I didn’t do all that for him?  My love, of course, reassured me that those guys are idiots and that their insensitive ribbing was purely a male way to get on each other’s nerves. We hung up shortly thereafter, but the comment stuck with me.

My second reaction was ANGER. Wait, who are they to judge? Do their wives/girlfriends work full time and plan a wedding from hundreds of miles away from them, too? F*** THEM.  Because, hi. Welcome to the Temper of Peach.

Later that night when I talked to Jersey again, I mentioned that I was still annoyed and upset about it. We talked it out and in doing so, Jersey reminded me that “they” are not “us”. Not every relationship works the same way.  And need he remind me how independent and stubborn we BOTH are? (He’s right on that one. It takes an act of Congress for either of us to ask for help!) And anyway, he swears he’s perfectly happy sending his clothes to the dry cleaners.

I felt way better after our second talk, but it got me thinking a lot about the topic of relationships and comparisons of styles. I know families of SAHMs and SAHDs. I’m friends with families in which the wife is the majority salary earner, or even the sole income, while the male handles the stereotypically “female” roles. Conversely, we know couples where the wife does everything from work full-time to running the household to kid-wrangling AND still manages to dote on the husband every waking minute.  (God bless those women.) Other couples show their love for one another with constant bickering or sarcasm. But we’re also friends with those in which the man and woman are equally independent, yet do not lack in the visible love to each other.

I dislike labels and categorization, because I believe that every relationship is different. But if one must label us, I would say that Jersey and I fall into the category of the independent style.

We love each other fiercely, yet do not constantly need to be touching one another or crave constant affirmations of each other’s affections. We each need our own space, our own alone time and respect each other for it… even when it may not fall in line with our own needs. And he and I both had childhoods in which we were driven to prove our own worth and capabilities – thereby our partnership is built upon a doubled foundation of stubborn ambition and self-reliance. If either of us expected the other to suddenly become the doting partner, shoving our own needs or career to the side for the other, the results would be disastrous. It would be like asking a zebra to lose his stripes. Plus, I think Jersey would pee himself laughing at the image of me trying to iron his shirts. Uhmmm…. not my forte.

Bottom line? Jersey and I love and respect each other for who we are at this very minute. Our relationship works for exactly that reason. We do not hold the other to standards, current or future, that do not fit our innate personalities. And we certainly aren’t together with the intention of trying to change one another. Is our independent style how EVERY couple does it? Not at all. Does it work for us? Absolutely. And to try to compare our relationship with anyone else’s was just silly of me.

Because there is no true definition of the “right” way to be a couple. Everyone has to find the balance that works for those two souls that are unlike any other pairing in the universe. And when you find that sweet spot? Screw what everyone else thinks. 😉

Compare

 

 As always, weigh in with a comment. I’d love to know what works (and doesn’t) for you!

 

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Compare and Contrast: How does your relationship measure up?

6 Responses

  1. You are so right about every relationship being different. In my house, I end up doing most of the stereotypical “female” jobs, like cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. David does every single thing related to taking care of the house, from the little things like choosing backyard furniture and a gardener, to the major things like finding a roofer to handle an emergency roof leak, unclogging pipes, and building anything that needs to be built.

    I’m sure that some people probably judge us for the fact that he never sets foot in the kitchen or that I don’t get involved in home repair, but I don’t really care, because it works for us. In the end, we both do our fair share, and we both get to do the things that we’re good at.

    Sam Merel June 17, 2014 at 2:55 pm #
    • Sam, I remember our talks about this topic and I’m glad you commented! I love that positive attitude and it’s true – you both feel the sense of accomplishment rather than ugly feelings like failure and frustration! Win-win in my book. xox

      50Peach June 17, 2014 at 3:43 pm #
  2. So. Totally. True.

    I tell people stories about how my husband and I function, live, get along – and you better believe!!!! some of our preferences raise eyebrows and make people worry. BUT! These things are what make us, US!

    Example: We sleep (mostly) in separate beds. We both work, we’re both super busy, and even on a full night’s sleep, we’re dead beat tired at the end of the day! He snores, twitches and he’s a BIG GUY. I am a light sleeper, even with Unisom and earplugs and a cal-king bed. Sleeping together = not the best. People swear it’s horrible, a bad sign, etc BUT we love each other for it! We’re strong and secure enough to know it isn’t a bad sign. If it’s a sign at all, it’s a sign of respect and trust for our relationship.

    And what’s more, when one of us wants to sleep in the same bed, the other never disagrees. 😉 Best of all, we could care less what others think. Our relationship is just that, OURS.

    Nette June 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm #
    • Knowing you as well as I do, and learning your Mr. as much as I have, it makes total sense that you sleep apart. Hell, even my sleeping woke you up in London! LOL I still say judge not, as do you. I love your love with your Pookie. And I love my love with Jersey. <3

      50Peach June 17, 2014 at 3:47 pm #
  3. I wouldn’t sweat the laundry comment… You aren’t married yet. You have time to figure out how to fit that into your schedule. Kidding… really… just kidding.

    Sizing up your relationship as it compares to others is natural. I say don’t judge, but always listen. You never know when you might find a new idea. Comparing while attempting to figure out which relationship is “better” isn’t good, but comparing with the thought of noticing and appreciating differences is ok and I think healthy.

    As for the chores… Hire someone for that. Makes things much easier!

    Chris June 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm #
    • Chris, don’t make me kick you. 😉 You raise good points, though. I guess it’s human nature to size everyone else up (and vice versa) but listening with a rational and open mind for new ways of doing things is the better way to go. But yeah… I still ain’t learning to iron. 😛

      50Peach June 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

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