Monday, March 8, 2010

Til Death Do Us Part ... or until you hog the remote and piss me off

Relationships are work!  So, you're telling me that I'm going to be bumping along in life, trying to make everything work out and then another person is going to be thrown into the mix and I now have to consider their feelings too?!  Pffffff.  Who made up these silly rules?!

The longer I'm single, the harder it is to share.  I have to work on it.  I'm a pretty selfish person.  I've lived alone for 8 years though.  I can wake up when I want.  Make a bunch of noise.  Walk around the house naked.  Scratch my butt.  Eat cake for breakfast.  Spend all my money on shoes.  There's no one here to tell me I'm doing it all wrong (and none of that stuff is wrong, they'd be wrong for telling me so!!).  

Don't get me wrong (haha!), I apparently know how to be in relationships.  I haven't been single my entire life.  Quite the opposite.  I've been in various relationships for most of my adult life.  I dated someone from age 16 to 23.  I was single for a few years.  Then I dated someone from 27 to 32.  I'm 33 now.  And I've spent the last 7 months with a great guy.  I think I'm called a serial monogamist.  I don't do the whole "dating" thing.  I never have.  I am either single or I'm committed.  If I was playing poker, I'd be "all in."  This also isn't to say I can't be alone.  I actually don't mind it.  I'm pretty content not having to consider anyone else's feelings or schedule.  But maybe that's how I can make relationships work.  I've always felt that a relationship shouldn't complete your life, it should enhance it.  

Like the multi-billion dollar diet industry that continues to make us fat, I wonder if the seemingly successful self-help/psychology book industry is keeping us unhappy in our relationships (successful in the fact that the authors are making lots of money, not successful in the way of making relationships actually work).  

I've seen all of those titles out there (not just helping you out with relationships).  They promise to get you laid, make you happy, help you get married, get you pregnant, make money for you, help you lose weight, get you in shape...pick a topic, any topic, and a book to help you achieve perfection exists somewhere.  They talk about men and women being from different planets.  They talk about man caves.  They talk about how the bitches are the ones who get and keep their men.  How do we all get up and dress ourselves in the morning without someone's book telling us it's okay to do so?! 

I can admit I've bought a few books.  But I realize that the only person those books help are the authors and publishers who are making money off of idiots like me who are wasting it.  But if we have all of this help -- just a click away -- why is our divorce rate at 50%?  

Relationships have no problem failing on their own.  Add a life-changing event like one partner having gastric bypass (or losing a lot weight on their own), and relationships start falling like dominoes.  I can only imagine how difficult it would be to have a serious life-changing event, such as losing a child or dealing with an accident or disability.  I'm sure those relationships have an even higher failure rate. 

When it comes to relationships, I don't play games.  What you see is what you get (as my friends like to say, I wear my crazy on my sleeve -- and I'm okay with that).  While I can understand that a certain amount of mystery needs to remain for the other person (or for you) to stay interested, I don't believe that you have to play games to keep that mystery.  I call when I want to call.  I don't call if I don't feel like calling.  I don't think that you need to sleep with someone by date five.  I don't think your life is over if you slept with someone too fast. 

It's sad to me that half of marriages are ending in divorce (and that people are just avoiding marriage altogether so they never have to face divorce).  But it seems like a lot of people really don't try to work it out anymore either.  And there is less respect for marriage in general (just thinking of all of those celebrities and their 96 hour marriages).  It's like getting married in Vegas is just a common third date occurrence.  Then you wake up with this stranger snoring in your face a week later, after all the alcohol and coke wore off, and you realize you made a huge mistake.  (Duh?)

It seems that, after gastric bypass, a lot of people break up.  Who knows why really?  I have some theories, but please keep in mind:  A.  Not a doctor.  B.  Not a therapist.  These are just theories I've formed from my own experiences.  

Since I am a woman, I am going to write from a woman's perspective.  I'm sure men have their own unique experiences.  Also important:  I'm 33 years old and have never been married.  Until I got into my current relationship, I never really desired it.  

So what happens after someone loses a lot of weight?  I have found that there are generally two types of men who like the big girls.  One type truly does appreciate the voluptuous female shape (he's rare).  And the other type has low self-esteem and thinks a big girl won't ever leave him because her self-esteem is too low -- and he keeps reminding her that no one but him will ever love her so she better not leave.

So, if you're with a guy who really does love a curvy girl, what happens if she loses her curves?  Well, if your relationship isn't strong and the attraction is gone, that can cause problems.

And that neanderthal who is trying to keep his big girl from leaving him?  He can become jealous and sometimes verbally abusive to keep her self-esteem low.  As she loses weight and gains confidence, she starts standing up to him more and more, and (hopefully) she eventually leaves. 

I was with someone for six years when I was in my late teens and early 20's (I went from being 180 pounds to being 300+ pounds in that timeframe).  We fought every single day, but dammit, we were working it out.  We lived together for a year and a half -- in a war zone.  It was so miserable.  I remember my cousin telling me once that she thought it was awesome that we had that kind of passion.  It wasn't passion.  It was pure stupidity and misery.  I cannot tell you why we stuck it out for so long -- being miserable and doing miserable things to each other, which only compounded the misery.  I just know that the day we split was probably the best day of my life (I even got a tattoo to commemorate that day -- a butterfly as a reminder that relationships can be beautiful but are also painful). 

I got into my next long term relationship two months after gastric bypass surgery and it lasted four and a half years (and I went from weighing 280 pounds to weighing 180 pounds).  We almost never fought.  I believed that, since I had spent so much time fighting in my first relationship, no fighting clearly meant we were made for each other.  Not so.  And that was a hard lesson to learn.  I wasted his time and mine.  There was NO passion.  I felt like I was hanging out with my brother.  And it took me way too much time to figure that out.  

I definitely take marriage seriously and, for the first time in my life, can see myself being married.  Kids are still a "maybe," but I can see wedding bells in my future (not my NEAR future, but someday).  "He" feels the same way.  He's only going to do this once so it better be with the right person.  We don't fight a lot, but we have had a few disagreements (like I said, it has only been seven months).  He said it best when he said that those arguments prove that you care enough TO argue your point.  I have to agree.  And I appreciate that when we do get to the point of needing to talk things out, he listens to me and takes my feelings into consideration.  I've never had that before either.  So this brings me to MY must-haves in my partner.

1.  He needs to make me laugh.  I don't need to date a comedian, but we need to be able to laugh together.  Life is too short to be serious all the time.

2.  There needs to be physical attraction.  I dated outside of my normal "type" before and there was no physical attraction.  Again, I thought because we didn't fight, that meant we were "good," but we weren't.  Now, the intense animal attraction that usually draws you to someone can fade...and I get that.  I realize that a person's looks will also fade.  But I think it's still important to feel like the guy you are with is the hottest guy on earth.  

3.  There needs to be a mutual respect.  If you think you're dating an idiot, then you probably are.  Get out of that relationship.  If you have no respect for your partner, then he most likely doesn't respect you.  And there's nothing worse than being out with the couple who is constantly cutting each other down and making everyone else uncomfortable.  It's normal to have vent-fests with your girlfriends, but this shouldn't be a daily occurrence.  And I feel like, if I marry him, I'm married to him every day, not just on the days he isn't pissing me off. 

4.  You need to have good communication.  If you are constantly fighting and never working things out, this is bad.  It's not passion.  It's pure madness.  If you argue, there needs to be resolution.  There can be no resolution if there is no communication. 

5.  He should be the first person you think of when you get good news.  I'm sure there are a few things best shared with your girlfriends (no, he doesn't give a shit that the next Sex and the City is coming out), but for the most part, as soon as I get something newsworthy, he's the first person I'm dialing. 

Even if you have a hard time saying the "L-word," if you're with someone you should most definitely have genuine "overwhelming feelings of concern" for them (thank you Vinnie from Radio Alice for that lovely term of endearment).  I don't believe in "fake it 'til you make it."  If the thought of spending your life without them makes you sad (and this means, you'll shed a tear, not that you'll stalk them obsessively if they leave), then you are probably with the right person.  

I've been planning this blog out in my mind for the last week or so, however, I wrote it today partially in honor of my friends Andrew and Misti, who just got engaged (I write in honor of the love part; they aren't part of my gastric bypass community).  They seem to have a great relationship -- and are so perfect for each other.  I love watching them laugh together.  It's like they have a secret and the rest of the world doesn't get to be privy to it.  I wish them a lifetime of love and happiness together!  

Until next time, keeping loving (yourself, your friends, your family and your significant other) and keep twirling!   


Rob and me
 

Dave and Rita
  

Bel and Doug
 

Heather and Jason

And the couple that shaves together, stays together!  Andrew and Misti are amazing photographers.  Check them out at www.liquidpulp.com.  I love you, Andrew and Misti (LOVE those mustaches; and holy eff, can you ever take a photo together so I can use it?!  LOL!):


 

10 comments:

  1. Great blog entry! You're a great writer . . .

    So my relationship trials and tribulations . . . *sigh* You really want to hear this? Here is goes.

    I grew up an ultra-uptight Jehovah's Witness, but also highly sexualized. So it was a constant conflict; being good with all kinds of taboo thoughts in my head all the time.

    First kiss at age 20 with my first boyfriend. Things got hot and heavy real fast. But we were both trying to be good JW's, so never went "all the way." The relationship itself was a mess. He came from a really messed up family and had a history of abuse. I was physically attracted, but quickly realized I didn't respect him at all. He couldn't keep a job. He would use my atm card while I worked. He crashed my car. I dumped him after about 7 months.

    BF2: I met him 2-3 months after the demise of relationship #1. I was 21. I had to escape the JW's, so I moved out with him 6 weeks after meeting him; my virginity already a distant memory, lol. He was five years older. Had lived in SF on his own, seemed worldly and deep and troubled. Boy was he troubled. We were off and on for 5 years and lived together for much of it. He was a binge drinker and had intimacy issues because of abuse he'd suffered as a child. It wasn't pretty. I finally kicked him out after 4.5 years and then encouraged him to spend time with a girl in his new apt building. It finally ended when he hooked with her, thank goodness!

    BF3: I was almost 27 when we got together. He was "The One." Tall, handsome, good job, social, sporty. Yum. But he also had psychological issues. Trouble childhood. Would shut down, stay in bed, skip work, check out on our relationship, avoid my family and friends. It lasted an intense 18 months and ended in a great big ball of fire. During that time I loaned him a large sum of money (which he is actually paying back finally), helped him raise his daughter two summers in a row, and generally took care of him, addressing his every whim. That ended July 2004. I was crushed, destroyed. Took me 3 years to really get over it.

    BF4: Then I met my last BF at karaoke in the spring of 2008 (I was 32). He was goofy, older, wicked smart, completely in love with his children, and a few years removed from a bad divorce. Unfortunately the family court drama was still going strong and taking a toll. He had limited time and energy for me, but treated me really well when we were together. We never fought about anything, mostly because we just weren't that close. It was fun while it lasted, but I wasn't surprised when he broke up with me last year (this day a year ago).

    So, I've been single for most of the last 5.5 years.

    I worry I'm "Too much". To complex, too strong, too weird. I'm nearly 34; as a child I always pictured married life and children. Where is my happy ending? Or just some good intimacy with a man that makes me laugh, tingle, and think?

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  2. I wrote this regarding what I'm looking for 2 years ago or so . . . Thought you'd like it:

    WHO/HOW do I want to BE in a relationship? I think that's the real question or issue.

    1. I want to be whole unto myself (I don't need the other person to feel whole)

    2. I want to be open (I don't hide any part of myself)

    3. I want to be secure with or without the other person

    4. I want to accept the other person as completely as possible (complete unconditional love is for saints and martyrs, but I can come close)

    5. I want to be true to myself (be authentic)

    6. I want to be okay with letting the other person go if they choose to go (not clingy, desperate, or needy)

    7. I want to love completely (not hold back my feelings and also push myself to the outer limits of what I can feel)

    8. I want to grow as a person because of the relationship

    9. I want to keep my balance, between myself, the other person, and the relationship itself, honoring and nurturing all three aspects and seeing them as unique (though inter-related) and important.

    10. I want to fully enjoy being with the other person physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

    That's all I have for now, but it feels pretty good and complete. None of this is about what the other person is, or does, or feels, it is all about who or how I will be, what my dream is for me in a relationship. Maybe the wording isn't perfect. Maybe "want" is the wrong word. This is rough, a work in progress, but I'm pretty happy with it and wanted to share it.

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  3. That's a GREAT list, Rachel. And you reminded me that I have a new requirement. He needs to be smart. I didn't realize how important that was until recently (your comment about wanting him to make you think reminded me). I also am waiting for my happy ending!!!

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  4. Forgot to mention . . .

    BF1 - made really wrong comments when I put on 20 lbs (I was still a healthy weight, as I'd started out on the low side for my height of 5'9" with curves).

    BF2 - Was a feeder, but also picked on me as I gained weight. I was up to 240 lbs within just a couple years of moving out with him. He would then make it very clear that he preferred underweight, ultrathin girls, while at the same time giving me plates heaped high with pasta and acting hurt and angry when I didn't want to eat it all.

    BF3 - Said I had to weigh less than 150 lbs and wear a single digit size in order to be a good example for his daughter and our future children. What an asshole.

    BF4 - Liked me just as I was and still does. I'm currently about 180 lbs and was 190-210 while we were together.

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  5. Its amazing how other people's comments can affect us. I hope that you find happiness with someone who likes you just the way you are. :-)

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  6. Very well written my friend. Coming from the other side, as I will be married fifteen years this year, your list is spot on. He has loved me at my thinnest and at my heaviest and doesn't care if I am either. (He just asked me to try not to lose my budunkadunk.. lol) We have three special needs children and he is active duty. To some, it is not the "typical" relationship, and is VERY hard, especially with him being gone for 6-7 months right now, but you know what... it is worth it on more than one level. I am proud of him and love him like I thought I could love no other. Was it always this way? Nope... well it was in the beginning, then actually we separated for a year and a half in 2004, then realized how retarded we were and got back together. Now, we are closer than ever, and when he leaves, there is an actual pain knowing I wont see him for a while.
    Ok, I just realized I rambled my butt off, but there really was a point. Had a moment.. LOL..

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  7. Jessica, I love stories like yours! I hate when people are like, yeah we met, fell in love and lived happily ever after! That doesn't happen!! I'm so glad you guys worked it out! You sound like an awesome couple. I'd love to meet him if you ever get back to California!

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  8. Another great article Lori!

    Jason & I will have been together for 5 years this July :) It's been quite a ride, lol.

    It was love @ 1st sight for me, but for him I was just a convenience at the time. Scarred from past relationships he had built up quite a 'wall' & wasn't letting anyone in. He continually pushed me away, but I knew deep down, if he would open up and allow himself to love & be loved, we would hopelessly fall in love with each other. This is just something I knew ;)

    When we met I was about 20 lbs. heavier than I am now, unemployed and a completely lazy slob. So needless to say I wasn't the 'typical package' a guy would fall head over heels for and it took me a very long time to figure that out, lol. I didn't have much going for myself and new it was something I needed to work on in order for our relationship to work.

    We've had our share of stages; ups & downs. We've gone through our 'booty call stage', our 'drunken fighting' stage. For a period of time we went through that awkward "brother/sister" stage. There was a stage where he felt more like a father figure than a boyfriend, constantly telling me what to do and getting on my shit for not doing it. I hated it, but it really motivated me to get my shit together. I knew I needed to transform myself and in the process he made a transformation as well. I needed to become someone that I could love in order for him to love me.

    Finally it happened. For us, I think we needed to go through all of those phases in order to learn who we were and to grow together, even though it was painful at times.

    We have both come soooo far. Now we are best friends and so in love; finally on the same page :) We could never imagine our lives without each other.

    Just the other night I was joking around as I was rubbing his back and said "The more I rub, the more you love me right?" (He goes ape shit for back rubs, lol.) and replied: "That's not possible. I could never love you more than I do now." It brought frickin tears to my eyes!!

    Over the years we have become an unstoppable unit :) As long as we're together we know that everything will be ok. It was all worth it and he thanks me over & over again for not giving up on him.

    Don't get me wrong we have our occasional fight. It's usually a fight that one of us starts on purpose, just for the sake of fighting, because we do so rarely. I think from time to time we just fuck with each other to get it out of our systems, so that we don't bicker from day to day. 95% of the time we're laughing until we cry :)

    They say you can't change your partner. Typically one has to want to change on their own, but I can honestly say that without Jason I'm not sure where or who I would be today and I'm sure the same goes for him. Maybe that's why we're meant to be :)

    All I know is that it has been 5 years and I still get butterflies when I see him <3

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  9. That is so touching, Heather! It inspires me to know that there are people out there who can make it work. My friends Dave and Rita have been together for 20 plus years. So I KNOW it happens!! Thank you so much for sharing your story!!!

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  10. Thank you for sharing your inside thought process and allowing others to contemplate theirs. Yep relationships are work. But worth it in the long run. Never easy, always changing. Be honest, with each other and yourself, laugh when you can. 20 years, dam I am old.

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