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