I’ll start by saying a few words about Dan NJ’s post: I agree.
That was a very few words. In fact, I have no more words because he used up all the good ones on the topic in his treatise. So. Moving on. Now I’m going to say a few words about amy a’s post, maybe more than a few, because she used all kinds of good words in hers, but I have feelings about her thesis. So many feelings.
The premise of the post is that amy a is not necessarily/is not as-yet/might never be “happiest and a better person“ when in a relationship. And I will go ahead and say that neither have I been “happiest” in a relationship, except when I was 15 but it was the 15-year-old kind of happiness: equal parts giddy lust and petrifying insecurity.
The fact is, I have been in precious few relationships since then. Some fourth dates, a couple of six-month stints, and that’s about it. I keep friends around for decades, but I’ve never found anybody who I wanted to sleep in the same bed with for years. Who also wanted to sleep in the same bed with me. For years.
But I’ve always assumed that, should I find that multi-year-bed-sharing person, I would be happier. Maybe even happiest.
Not that every day would be wine and roses, and not that being in a relationship solves all your life’s problems, but there’s got to be something comforting/contenting about knowing that through those problems, you’ll have at least that one person on your team.
As far as the second part goes, I think I have been a better person whilst in my (albeit limited) relationships. I’m a really good girlfriend.
- I’m really nice to my partner;
- I’m considerate—I think about his needs, provide for them when possible, and encourage him to seek fulfillment of other needs with his bros or whatever;
- I’m employed/financially independent;
- I’m responsible;
- I’m GGG; and
- I’m fucking fun to have around.
In short, I’m good to my guy. So yes, if being a better person means thinking more of others, sacrificing, compromising, pulling your weight, etc., then I’m a better person in a relationship.
A couple other lines of the post jumped out at me.
“The pressure as each year has passed in my 30’s to Find Him has been at times not at all fun, but exhausting, humiliating, and unhealthy.”
Truer words were never written.
“It can be kind of lonely, not because I don’t have those types of relationships [spouse & children], but because I find myself being unable to relate firsthand to my siblings and some of my friends on those levels.”
My version of this would be: It can be kind of lonely. Period. Both for the reasons amy a mentioned but also because I’m alone. I wouldn’t consider myself an extrovert. But I like the people I like. Everywhere I lived in New York (Prospect Heights, Hell’s Kitchen, and two different places in Astoria), I could look up and see a window to the apartment from the street. And coming home, I always did look up, because if there was a light on, that meant at least one of my roommates was home, and I’d think, “Yay!”
I’ve lived by myself for six years now, and I can’t imagine having a roommate. I don’t want a roommate. Unless that roommate is sharing my bed. (Or that roommate is canine, in which case I’ll take 15 kthxbye.) But I imagine that, if I had a bed-sharing roommate, I would pull into the driveway and, seeing his car, think, “Yay!”
And finally, the big’n:
“I may never have that Great Relationship, but it never happening is no longer a fear of mine. If it happens, I welcome the addition of it, but I am truly happy in the relationship I’m in already.”
Would that it were so for me.
Now, I’m pretty proud of who I’ve become in the last ten years.
- I need a job, I get a job;
- I get a job, I work my ass off to get good at the job;
- I want a house, I buy the house;
- I buy a house, I fix it up;
- I want a different house, I sell the first house and buy a different one;
- I find dog, I do my damnedest to help the dog;
- I make and keep a lot of friends;
- I deadlift 250;
- I throw bitchin parties;
- I host the Monti StorySLAM;
- I actively work on overcoming my character flaws;
- I post on this blog four times a week (and have for three years).
I’m doing all right. There’s a lot I like about my life. But a relationship is a big Missing for me. I wish I could be like amy a—I really do—but I just can’t say I am truly happy alone.
“Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.” -Joanne Woodward, on being married to Paul Newman