(Don't ask about that title. Well, ask if you like, but don't expect a sensible story.)
I have some thoughts on relationships...
I wish we could abandon this idea that a couple is "one". You know, "we are one" "2 become 1". (I know, I use credible references.) You and your boyfriend/girlfriend are not a single entity. Neither are you the same person.
I have become increasingly irritated at being treated as if I am a couple. I am in a couple. We are a couple, but that isn't all there is to know about either of us.
It's the same as when I hear people refer to their boyfriend/girlfriend as their "other half" it bothers me a little. It suggests that neither of you are a whole person on your own. Is that really how you view yourself?
To me, it reeks of the outdated, pre-feminist attitude of a time when a woman wasn't considered a real citizen until she had a husband.
I know, I'm taking a throwaway phrase, that most people probably don't even think about when they use, a little too seriously. I also know that some people might use it to hint at the status of their relationship: to say it's a little more serious. Nevertheless it's just not a label that suits my mentality at all. (Don't even get me started on "better half".)
It seems linked to a notion I've long discarded, that everyone has a "soul-mate". That there is one perfect person out there, and that once you find them you are complete, and you will never have eyes for another. I've said it before (here) (shameless plug), but I think if we dropped the fairytale romance notion entirely we'd all be happier. It puts so much pressure on you, and your other half (lel) to be perfect, superhuman. It also says that you can't be happy on your own, which is a potentially dangerous message, and entirely false.
In two days, Jake and I will have been together six years, and we both agree that our relationship is in the best, most secure, place it has ever been. We have realistic expectations of each other. We're, perhaps unconventionally, open and honest. We don't expect perfection. It's inevitable that as humans, we will fancy other people (and get a bit jealous about it too), but as long as we fancy each other the most, it's cool. It's also inevitable that as humans, we won't always look attractive, remember to pick our socks up, feel like talking, come home sober, be happy (the list goes on) and that's okay.
Furthermore, and to go to back my first point, we function as two individuals. We recognise that we don't live the same life. We live together, spend most of our time together, and share almost everything, but we give each other the space to be ourselves and do our own things too. We like each other because have so much in common, but Jake also has interests that I know nothing about, and vice versa.
I never want him to feel like he has to "get home to his girlfriend" when he's out enjoying himself, unless he actually wants to see me. He is a 25 year old man, who is free to make his own choices. He doesn't need my permission to do anything. Y'know?
I am very independent, and really like doing my own thing, and being alone sometimes. The thought of anyone taking that away from me is unimaginable. My own personal hell would be to utter the sentence "I can't, my boyfriend won't let me", and luckily I don't have to. (I just wouldn't anyway.)
Our relationship wasn't always this way, but over the years we've naturally made our own rules about how to do things, and they work for us.
People ask me when we're getting married and my answer usually goes "We've been engaged two years and the longer it's been, the less bothered I am about it. I like how things are more all the time, and I don't feel like changing it. Plus, I want him to feel free to leave me if he wants to." This seems to shock people a little bit. Think about it though. Isn't that love? Knowing you could easily leave, but making the choice to stay together every day?
I'm not saying that marriage takes this away, honestly, I'm just suggesting that it adds a level of obligation. Or at least, I worry that it does.
Of course, I'm a hypocrite really, because I still wear an engagement ring, and say "fiance" when I want to show off a wee bit. Also because I know we actually will get married some day, and I'll think calling him my husband is the cutest thing. I also know that once we have babies I'll probably scream down the phone and tell him to get him home to his girlfriend all the time.
I never really used to believe that love lasted. I've seen a lot of break ups. My parents loved each other intensely, and still couldn't make it work. I just thought it inevitable that everything ends eventually, but I can honestly say that I'm closer to having faith in it lasting than I have ever been. (That's because of you, Jake.)
I try to take things one day at a time now. If we still like each other tomorrow, amazing.
Here's a cheesy wee quote that I really like, and that really made me try and do things differently.
"If you love a flower, don't pick it up, because if you pick it up, it dies and ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession, love is about appreciation." - Osho.
Also, whilst doing a bit of v.srs research for this post, I found this list of better ways to refer to your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/bloody whatever. Numbers 17 and 33 being my favourites.