If you've been following me for a while, you know I am ridiculously terrified of marriage , attempting to date in a city that really doesn't cater to women who enjoy the romantic companionship of straight men, and have lifelong trust and commitment issues thanks to the three & 1/2 years of my life I wasted dating and co-habiting with the World's Biggest Asshole. To be quite honest, as much as I hope to one day find someone who's presence doesn't repulse me and that I can have meaningful conversations and amazing sex with, I am staunchly terrified of having an actual relationship. But between all the fights and breakups and cheating and failed marriages that you see amongst your friends, colleagues and stars of the Silver Screen, is it any wonder that I'm having trouble finding faith in the success and stability of human relationships?
I read an article in a recent issue of Philadelphia Magazine which attributed having kids early on in your marriage as one of the major causes of divorce. Now, I don't want children to begin with, but could they honestly be serious about this?? Almost everyone that I knew and grew up with, their parents either got married because they got pregnant or waited a few years before they had kids. And there really wasn't any difference in the amount of couples who got divorced in my eyes. From the "getting married to make an honest woman out of her" to the "college sweethearts who got married and then had their first kid a few years after getting their Masters degrees" - both of these types of couplings led to divorce. So why would anyone use their children as a scapegoat for their own relationship problems? Clearly there are people out there in all kinds of situations who have married and had children at all stages of life and not divorced. Is this type of behavior somehow becoming more prevalent due to the decade and the state of economy that we're in? Perhaps.
I wrote my Senior thesis in college about the societal constraints that are put on women in order to get married, have kids and be successful - all in one shot; The whole "Superwoman" persona - saving your company's largest accounts by day and still having dinner on the table by 6 and tucking the kids into bed at night. But surely, more men are also playing the "mom" role these days too? Is this perhaps emasculating men who were raised to believe that the husband should be the breadwinner? Maybe it is that men can't swallow their pride in these situations that is creating a rift between husbands and wives. But what about stay-at home mothers who still find themselves on the outs with their supposedly doting 'heads of the household'? Ok, yes, things change dramatically when you incorporate kids into your marriage. It is no longer "You and Me" but "and Baby makes 3"; Maybe sometimes people are having children and aren't completely ready to accept this as a fact of life yet. But again, that in no way dictates that children are causing divorces - it just means that people are having kids before they are emotionally ready, because they think that is what society expects of them. That once you are married and settled into your new home, the next thing to come should be the pitter-patter of tiny feet. (and not of the four-legged variety)
Obviously, there is no dictating how relationships will turn out. There is no road map to life that can be purchased and help you learn the lay of the land. Unexpected things can happen around every turn; cheating, unemployment, death. No one truly gets that Fairy Tale ending. And I guess that's what scares me so much - that there is no way to tell how things will turn out. No one expects to be in a relationship for 10 years that never goes anywhere, or to live with someone who lies, cheats and steals (or even, to be that person who lies, cheats and steals). No one gets married with the anticipation of one day getting divorced. No one expects to have to figure out what they will do with their lives when their partner dies and because, since the State does not recognize their Union, they are not entitled to the benefits their partner has left behind.
And so, as much as I would love to be in a relationship, this fear still haunts me. We all have expectations and hopes for future romantic couplings. We want our mates to be these perfect matches, these puzzle pieces that fit perfectly into our lives. We hope for unending sophisticated conversation and superb sexual compatibility. You hate to think that you will ever get mad at one another, fight with the other, break that person's trust. You do not want to be betrayed by someone that you let into your life, your heart, your soul - that you give all your love to. And also, you do not want to commit the same atrocities to that other person who becomes your other half. What if I just can't do it? What if I just can't learn how to compromise my own stubborn sensibilities and I drive this person out of my life because I am too thick-headed to learn that a relationship is a two way street? What if I am too clingy or jealous or cumbersome? The thought of failure consumes me.
This is why my pseudo-relationship with Emmett has worked so well so far. We have never lived within close proximity of each other for anything to be considered remotely serious. Every encounter between us has always been light, fun and breezy, almost as if we are just test driving it before we commit to signing the lease. There are no strings or promises to each other - as much as I wish at the end of the day that there were - and maybe in a way, that is also scary as well. Here I am, pining over this man like a pair of expensive pants in a store window that I keep going in to try on, but don't know that I can ever bring myself to purchase. Even though they fit like a glove and make my ass look amazing and would go with everything in my wardrobe, they are always just out of reach. Maybe I will see them again one day on clearance and consider them a little bit longer.
But what happens when I finally buy them and bring them home? Will they have the same allure in my bedroom as they did in the dressing room? Was it all just lights and trickery in those store mirrors, as I try to replicate the same tantalizing appearance in my cheap $10.99 IKEA wall mirror at home? And after trying those pants on with an insurmountable number of tank tops, button downs and cardigans, will they just wind up in the back of my closet with the tags still on, never to be seen again? If this relationship ever really becomes real, will I be as ready and emotionally available as I make myself out to be in my head? Or will I struggle to find the receipt in my bag to take it back to the store?
Such foolish desires. Damn these wild young hearts.