It's Kurt's birthday today.
I liked your comments about relationships yesterday. As far as I'm concerned, I'm part of a perfect relationship.
Before you roll your eyes or barf, or something, I don't feel that way because everything about our relationship is perfect.
There are plenty of times that I get snippy with him and sometimes he gets mad at me and stops talking and turns into an emotional version of one of those little potato bugs, or whatever they are. ...Wait, I just mean that he shuts up and rolls into a protective ball, emotionally when he's mad. Not that he suddenly somehow becomes an overly emotional insect.
There are plenty of times that I criticize his driving. One time, we were scream-whispering swear words at each other at 6:30 in the morning because I told him to take our safer car out into the snow and he wanted to leave me with it. Another time, I was pregnant with Scouty and trying to sleep, and he got into bed and started singing an annoying song with his nose pressed against mine and I called him a NOT SO NICE name that I won't repeat because you'll only be convinced that we don't have a perfect relationship at all.
Sometimes we have those talks where, the kids are in bed and all he wanted was to watch some television, but I've suddenly decided that watching television every night means that we've lost our spark. I start to wonder when was the last time we felt passionately about each other, and then I get all into pouring out all of my feeling, and end up crying because being a mom is hard and nobody appreciates me and my own husband doesn't even know how I feel and I want to run away to the coast.
What? You don't have those talks? I bet you do, you're just not saying.
The thing about the best partnerships is that, they aren't perfect. They're not an easy, passive thing. Things happen that you wouldn't want your friends and family seeing.
None of that matters, though.
My relationship is perfect because my husband and I are both people who know the sorts of things we wouldn't be able to live with, and we don't live with them. We know and understand each other's fragile spots. We know that certain behaviors couldn't be tolerated.
I think there was a Dear Sugar about this. It's impossible to say, "A perfect relationship means no fighting, no lying, no cheating, no whatever," because everybody has different things they can and can't live with.
It IS totally okay to say, "A perfect relationship revolves around respect, honesty and love."
There are people who can work past infidelity, who can grow up together and end up at a place just as perfect as anybody else. It's none of our business what anybody else is doing.
I am not one of those people who could work past an affair. I had practice with being cheated on, as a younger person. I'm not somebody who could live with my husband flirting with other women. I'm not really even somebody who could accept having a partner who doesn't actively and assertively praise and revere me, often and abundantly.
But, I understand that different people have different ways they choose to live.
I grew up being disrespected by a man. As a teenager and a young adult, I acted out all the ways my father didn't love me with boys. Boys lied to me and yelled at me and cheated on me and threatened to leave me. They fucked with me and made me cry. Sometimes they shoved me around. I knew it wasn't right, but only sort of. I didn't really get that there was another way to be with somebody. I thought that behind closed doors, everybody was blowing everything up.
It probably took me a long time to understand that, in a grown up relationship, you don't ever have to guess whether your partner loves you. You don't have to guess whether or not your partner is trustworthy. In a real, grown up relationship, your partner cares about your happiness more than they care about their own. It's okay, when you're a grown up in a relationship, because you can also trust that the person you're putting ahead of yourself isn't ever going to hurt you in a way that you can't handle.
It just isn't going to happen.
My husband might roll his eyes at me or snap at me or grind his teeth when I'm talking, but he'll never do one of the things that I couldn't live with.
It's up to you, as a person, to understand yourself well enough to know what you can't live with, and then not to live with it. Any of it. When you try to go on living with something that you can't abide, you're half-dead. You're half-given over to anger and anxiety and dissonance that dissolves you. Living with an unlivable thing is like being doused in acid. Someday there won't be anything left but a bloody mess.
It's true that what you can live with might not all be up to you, even. Maybe you can't abide the thought of an affair because you're insecure and have trust issues. Own it. That's you, right? If you can't abide the thought of an affair, don't. An affair is one of your unlivable things, okay? That doesn't mean it has to be one of those things for everybody. That doesn't mean you have the right to judge somebody else's relationship, just because it's something YOU couldn't live with without getting boiled alive and being left half dead. There are lots of reasons you are who you are. Be you, even if you're insecure and have daddy issues and let everybody else be who they are.
You get to decide what's perfect for you, and they get to decide what's perfect for them. And also... there are lots of people who lie about having something perfect so they look better than they are. Don't be one of those people.
There are lots of people in the world living with things I couldn't live with. Maybe they used to feel like somebody who couldn't live with these things, but then learned that they actually could.
I wouldn't ever learn that I could.
I wouldn't even try.
I don't feel the need to change that about myself.
But, you know... maybe there are some men who have an inescapable ego based in years of societal and emotional trauma who feel like they couldn't live with a wife like me. Maybe my fits and depressive episodes, how I have to be alone so much of the time, how I swear and decide I can't have sex for months at a time because I'm just too used up and exhausted and disgusted with humanity. Maybe there are men who, based on their personal history, would find me totally unlivable. I don't really give a fuck, because my husband isn't one of those men.
So, I got off track. It's my husband's birthday and I'm feeling self-satisfied because I took these BEAUTIFUL pictures of myself and wrapped them up in brown paper and gave them to him, knowing that they would make him feel lucky to be a part of our marriage. I didn't do it because I wanted to be like... racy. I just wanted to remind him that I've still got it in me, and that I'm still his girl.