I don't know why all these contemplative and very philosophic posts spring up now so suddenly... Must be because of the weather, or I don't know. If I come to think of it, there's always a trigger, though.
Recently I was reading Kandee Johnson's post on premarital sex, and then there was the ELLE.com article on marriage. I didn't quite get outraged but as close to it as I ever get. I mean I had that feeling that there's a lot left unsaid and my French coursebook from highschool came to mind: "on ne peut pas generaliser!"
Mine is not a romantic success story, nor is it a "not to" tutorial. I am just your average girl but I feel that if one wants to capture the essence of happiness in love, every story counts. In my opinion happiness is not a result of extremes, giving everything or nothing. Rather, I think, love is a complex phenomenon. But if you listen closely you can hear what your heart is telling you.OK, so I must admit that love and relationships, particularly this one, have played a huge role in my life. Before telling you what I think, though, you must know a couple of things about me. My intercultural psychology teacher called us "hippie kids", and there's some truth to that, I have to admit. A lot of the girls of my generation grew up with mixed role models and I doubt that we would ever fit your traditional image of womanhood. Whether it's my parents, my schooling or just the age I was brought up in, I feel really ill at ease when I'm expected to be responsible for all household chores and am not considered as one of the wage earners. My idea of a relationship is a 50-50% cooperation, where contributions as well as gains are divided equally. Don't get me wrong, it's not about money! But I would never feel comfortable in a relationship where one party was making all the sacrifices.
I feel the same way about sex. Of course, I totally agree that giving in to a highschool boyfriend only in order to feel loved is... uhm... stupid. But I don't think getting married only in order to be able to live together or have sex is any wiser. It's the same kind of sacrifice, just to have something so elusive as feelings or promises. I might earn my share of public outrage here, but I will tell you nonetheless what I think of sex and informal relationships. I consider my perspective perfectly healthy, though, so I would stand up for my views to anyone.
In a lot of ways sex is like going ballroom dancing with the guy. If you don't have that kind of harmony, you can easily end up with sore toes and aching hips (and I mean that totally metaphorically =D). Also, if you're not dancing the same dance, you're not getting your fun. I'm not saying that you need to be head over heels in love to have sex (ooooh, I'm bad! XD), there are people for whom it is as natural a need as to feel hungry or thirsty. However, I do think that your partner should be aware and be willing to dance that dance. Not many are. Because just like dancing, sex presumes a very high level of trust. You don't necessarily want to start dancing with someone who'll leave you halfway through for another or step on your toes out of sheer unawareness of your pain. Good sex is like a good session of dancing, you feel sweaty but content and confident that there's gonna be a class next week, same time. ;)
Once I heard that an unseen cord connects you to every person you've ever had sex with and I feel this to be true. I'm not saying these are very strong ties, maybe stronger for some than others, but they do exist. I'll never forget my teacher who first encouraged me to learn languages (I had you there for a moment, ehh? XD) and I'll certainly never forget anyone who ever taught me anything else in my life. Memory creates ties, however weak they may be. So I'm not the kind of person to go dancing around, going for higher numbers. I don't know what I would do if I was single, maybe I'd go for some no-strings-attached kind of sex, but definitely NOT with as many different partners as I could gather.
Safety is a different matter. For noobies, having sex is not a synonym for family planning. We live in the 21th century, and unplanned pregnancy doesn't really happen to smart people. Of course, nothing gives 100% protection -- besides not having sex -- but using any modern method is as good as any. But to be sure about that you need a partner who you trust and who won't cheat you about this. I've heard stories of girls/guys tempering with condoms to get (the other) pregnant to ensure they would stay together. Not nice.
I've also heard of babies conceived despite proper use of protection. Now that's another matter. I'm a strong believer of fate. Some things will just happen to you whatever you do. But you can't evade them, so perhaps the child would be trusted to you in some way even if you refrain from sex altogether in fear of getting pregnant. Actually, much as I'm postponing the Family Growth Action (c.f. Agricola) I can do nothing but give in to such events. I would sooner suspect fate there than the failure of our rigorous safety procedures. =)
But once the issue of sex is clear, once you feel you can tick the question of trust off, there comes the reality of relationships. In some way I have more experience here that others, in other ways significantly less. As we got married on our 10 year anniversary, it's not difficult to guess that I haven't gone through a lot of different partners. =D But who's to say? =D No, seriously, I haven't. However, it hasn't always been plain sailing, and sometimes I seriously feel compelled to start writing some book on how to manage your relationSHIP to be make it work. Not an easy task. In my opinion, honesty, trust and communication are key. Presuming that neither of you would voluntarily harm the other, talking through issues and being willing to improve on anything helps a lot. Whether it's about how often you should see each other to who should feed the dog, there are always some issues to sort out. But that's just what life is like! Why would relationships be different? Although I seriously believe that in some way we were destined or made for each other, there have been -- and I'm sure there will be -- such problems in the course of our relationship too. But your ties become stronger with every one you solve! ;)
As I said before, I can only function where there's equality. It's not necessarily an equal distribution of responsibilities, though I generally like that. But what's really important is to feel equal partners in a relationship. I could not endure the strains of a relationship where one partner feels inferior or superior or more or less handsome/smart/strong than the other (of course we might slightly idolize the other but we still feel up to meeting his/her expectations). For me, equality is key in any relationship.
Marriage is even trickier. But I disagree with the ELLE.com article. I don't believe marriage is like friendship gone official. Ours is totally based on love and other really nice emotions, and I can't see it going off the rails.
There's some truth to the friendship part, though. If you need an element of trust for good sex and successful relationships, you need loads of it in any marriage. That, and honesty. I'm not saying you can't have secrets. I guess you even need some small ones to feel intriguing. But none bigger than childhood embarrassments and harmless flirts. You can hold on to those for decades, and when I finally get one out of my husband after years of prying, I feel that I've got to know him even better. Bigger lies and secrets, though, can easily ruin your happiness. I don't know where I stand with cheating, the nastiest of all, and I don't wish to find out. I think I'm a fairly understanding partner and most of the time I think I'd overlook it. Other times I just feel I'm worth more than being treated like that... My advice: don't do it. In my opinion all cheating is like an easy solution to some underlying problem in your relationship. Maybe your partner's not caring enough or cares less about what he/she looks like. In these cases cheating is a cheap alternative. Why not spend more time together, take up some sport together, or just indulge your sweetheart in a massage session, a giftbag of beauty goodies or a beauty class? If you simply want a way out of the relationship or you've fallen for someone else: is this really the way to treat your unsuspecting partner? Well, I don't know what I'd do if my partner told me he no longer loves me and wants to be with someone else. I'd certainly be devastated but I wouldn't blame him for that. Even Axle Rose admitted long ago that "hearts can change", and I was young enough to make it a pillar of my socialization. If he didn't tell me ,though, and I was to find out, I'd feel free to go to as far as the criminal code allows in terms of corporal punishment. "No, sir, that vase fell off the bookstand!"
Being married for two months now, I can share a ton of experience with you. =D But I won't, this post being long enough for anyone to read in one sitting. What I do know, though, is that it hasn't changed much about our relationship. It's a bit like a membership to some club, with lots of insider jokes and little secrets. But it shouldn't change your feelings for one another. If anything, it has strengthened them. I've long been more of a rational thinker when it comes to love. Ten years is too long for the fever and mist to last, and I'm old enough to be free of the teenage tendencies to oh, suffer. But I can coolheadedly say that I love my husband dearly, as dearly as I could love anyone. And I do feel that, when every other reason's long gone, I do owe it to our being the best of cronies, your Bonnie and Clyde if you will. I don't know what would happen if our "traditional" love for each other was gone... But I imagine we would be doing just the same things, as it's been so much fun to do them for the last decade. My marriage advice? I guess that. If you feel that even if you peel off all the reasons why you want to get/got married, there remains some unspeakable tie between you that will never diminish, marriage is a good decision. In that case you can rest assured that whatever comes you can survive it, and however hard it seems sometimes, that special bond will help you through.
Sorry guys, for going on so long.
But I felt I owe it to those
who are wondering what to do.
Please comment or ask
if in doubt.
I'm more than happy to help anyone,
because I believe that we all deserve
Hugs & kisses