I know I was supposed to be publishing Part 2 of 2 of my previous post on “5 Years,” but things got busy and now a more pressing matter is at hand.
Raise your hand if you’re married.
Cool. If you have your hand up, answer me this (these):
— Are you truly in love with your partner?
— Do you think your partner is truly in love with you?
— Do you feel you can say anything in your relationship?
— Do you feel like you are your best self with your partner?
— Do you feel supported?
— Can you really trust them?
I hope you can answer “yes” to all of those questions, or that your partnership is solid in a way that works for you.
I absolutely can say yes to all of those questions.
But I’m not married.
To my dear, darling mother, this is an occasional travesty.
I’ve blogged about my relationship with my mother before, or at least aspects of it. I think it’s a fairly typical mother/daughter relationship. Sometimes — most of the time — she’s one of my best friends. I know she loves me dearly. I know she roots for me. I know she’s proud of me on a macro level, and usually on a micro level, depending on the day, what mood she’s in, what’s going on around her, etc.
Sometimes she’s the fucking worst.
Last night she called me to “catch up,” which typically means she has one or more stories or incidences/gossip she wants to tell me about, and she also wants updates on my life.
I was tired before she even called me. I almost didn’t take her call, but thought, what the hell.
We got to talking about our weekends and some other stuff, and then she sort of delved into this preoccupation she has with the fact that my brother, Eric, and I have been with our partners for multiple years now, live together, yet there are no known concrete marriage plans.
It was mostly about my brother. To my mom, at least as far as Eric is concerned, this may as well be the mystery of the sphinx. She has all kinds of possible explanations and theories about my brother, but she’s “disappointed.” She doesn’t get it.
Then she said this:
“I mean, I sort of get it with you. You’ve been married. But… Luke has never been married. What’s the deal with Luke? Like, I just hope… it’s not that he doesn’t love you enough.”
In some ways, I’ve gotten used to these kinds of jabs from my mom over the years. They come when you least expect it. Sometimes, they come during a fight, and sometimes they come… like that.
THEY ALWAYS SUCK.
We didn’t have some big blowout over it. I sort of stutteringly defended him/myself/our relationship, and then she back pedaled of course. In fact, if I’d called her back this morning to tell her how hurtful it was (and believe me, I thought about it), she would say something like, “Oh, I said that?! Well I didn’t mean it like that, I’m sorry….”
Too late, lady.
It’s an insult to Luke, too, of course. Like, “what’s wrong with him”? I guess he doesn’t love me that much if we haven’t gotten married? What a shitty thing to say! What a stupid thing to say.
As my best friend said, the concept of us not being married because he doesn’t love me enough is flawed logic. Love doesn’t define a marriage and vice versa.
It’s one of those moments where the student becomes the teacher. I want to school her on all the ways my relationship is better than hers. My parents have been married 41 years, and I have seen some shit. Just sayin.
It would be different if I’d come to her crying, saying Luke wouldn’t marry me. It would be different if my relationship were abusive or unhealthy in some way. But it’s not. It’s great! It’s the best relationship I’ve ever had. He’s the love of my life. No relationship is perfect, but I’m the happiest in love that I’ve ever been.
Why isn’t that enough?
You’re probably thinking, “well is it enough for you? Great, then fuck her and society and move on!”
Yeah, I will. But I hate having to take bullets like this from time to time. It just sucks for us, OK?
Comments like that, in the face of our happiness, are like a fucking sneak attack.
It’s uncalled for.
And she’s not the only one to ever do it, and she won’t be the last.
Blogging about something this personal is hard. I kind of feel like I’m throwing my mom under the bus. But this is my blog, and part of the reason I even started it in the first place is because I used to keep diaries all the time. It’s one of the ways I sort things out and deal with my thoughts and feelings. Even though I talk to my readers, I’m really doing this mostly for myself. Readers are a bonus. If my madness can help someone else sort through theirs, great! I think like 5 people maybe read this anyway.
My mom is not even the real point of this post. I’m not really looking for sympathy, or for you to feel anger toward her. But it clearly triggered something. It triggered anger and frustration in me that some people, particularly of her generation, place this fucking emphasis on marriage that is just ridiculous.
Why can’t we just LIVE AND LET LIVE?
I implore you to do that. You can have your thoughts, opinions, beliefs about your life and others. Don’t project that shit onto someone else. Especially if they seem happy. Mind your own fucking business.
So many marriages, my previous one included, do NOT check off all those boxes above.
And I guess, if I’m being honest, I used to be one of those people. Trying to put things in little societal norm boxes. That’s a large part of how I ended up in the wrong marriage in the first place.
It’s just so frustrating, you know? I’ll be OK. But goddamn, fuck. that. noise.
I will end with this poem:
The Meaning Of Love
Published: August 2008
To love is to share life together,
to build special plans just for two,
to work side by side,
and then smile with pride,
as one by one, dreams all come true.
To love is to help and encourage
with smiles and sincere words of praise,
to take time to share,
to listen and care
in tender, affectionate ways.
To love is to have someone special,
one on whom you can always depend
to be there through the years,
sharing laughter and tears,
as a partner, a lover, a friend.
To love is to make special memories
of moments you love to recall,
of all the good things
that sharing life brings.
Love is the greatest of all.
I’ve learned the full meaning
of sharing and caring
and having my dreams all come true;
I’ve learned the full meaning
of being in love
by being and loving with you.
Hmmmmm. That sounds a lot like my relationship… and marriage isn’t mentioned once.