The Size And Shape Of Relationships
Relationships come in all different shapes and sizes and styles, like any good department store’s merchandise. Some relationships are only made to fit you for a season before you outgrow them, where as others are cut so versatilely to go from brunch with his mother to the football game with his boys. Some are itchy and uncomfortable and don’t get worn for long before they’re relegated to another home, via consignment shop, while yet others are so luxuriant and sensual that you can’t help but wearing them over and over and over again, even when it’s not an appropriate occasion. Some relationships are made to only fit one couple, while the tradition of dating seems to suit thousands, even millions, and be coveted by still others. The point is, however much we might think we look good in one particular style, no single relationship is the same as another couple’s or looks the same on the people who are in it as it would with any other person in the same equation. They’re all individual, all unique, all a wonderful one-of-a-kind piece of couture. No one can declare any sort of “relationship fashion.”
Some of us need to see the person we’re with everyday. Some people would prefer being single. Some iPhone couples run a constant chat conversation with each other, 24/7, even if they’re just in the other room. Some couples only meet once or twice a month, and still see other people. Some husbands and wives sleep in separate beds, even separate bedrooms (though the idea of sleeping in a separate bed, let alone room, sends my insomniac bed-partner-loving self into a state of panic). Some girls prefer not to call their long-term partner their “boyfriend” because it sounds childish, even though some unmarried 40 year old women love calling theirs that for the sense of nostalgia. Some couples move in together quickly, after only a month or two, while others wait until becoming engaged, or married, to share a lease. One of my friend’s fathers lived in an apartment in New York City for work during the weekdays, commuting to Connecticut from Friday night to Monday morning to live with his wife and children, whereas my mother, used to having my father around for the past 37 years, hates to spend a single night alone without him, feeling odd when he’s not there. And as I previously mentioned, I hate sleeping alone, while I always sleep the best the night AFTER whoever I’m currently sleeping with leaves. Those are just examples of 11 different relationships, and none of them can be considered a “classic.”
I’m currently seeing someone who demonstrates this point perfectly. We live in different towns, and have different circles of friends. I go to college; he works long nights. But I knew he was worth a little bit of impatience and the extra effort to see him when he kept making it a priority to see me, at least once a week, and despite of everything else. We now spend chunks of time with each other when we can; other nights, he can only make it into town for a few hours. The point is to maximize the quality of your time together— if we’re going on day 2 in a weekend of co-existion, I don’t feel bad taking an hour or two here or there to go to my class on campus or do my homework while sitting side by side with him in bed in the morning. If we’ve only got a few hours, things stay focused— we stay home, eat together, catch up, spend time relaxing and talking, and watch a movie. In between visits, we keep in touch electronically, through either text or chatting— though talking on the phone might be a more intimate ideal, I can’t help but preferring the written word mediums; I am such a writer. All in all, we get to spend about a third of every month together— 10 nights in 30, a few more days here and there. But it works perfectly for our needs— while I have time to write so I don’t miss (many) deadlines, he has time to do the things with his guys that he wants to and time to chill at home. I’m more happy seeing him when it’s possible than I ever was seeing someone frequently a few times a week who while only physically 10 minutes away in town, was light years away from me emotionally and in terms of effort and desire. It shows. I look happier. I’m dressing differently.
I’m also learning new things, one of the benchmarks of any good relationship, platonic or otherwise— the perennially Single Girl who struggles with feelings of independence when letting a guy pick up all of the tab, I’m learning how to wear the perfect balance of gratitude and grace when it’s his Amex on the counter and back account digits rolling back; how to adjust to someone else’s quirks and sleeping style and snoring and eating habits; and when to gracefully admit defeat and need of assistance and call someone to be waiting outside the front of the club for me because I am too drink, drank, drunk to get to him. I’m even learning when to take someone’s arm when offered so I can lean on it, because there is someone to lean on. And to my surprise, it’s not even cramping my “single and fabulous” style. In fact, it’s evolving to become part of myself, a newer version, this year’s It model. And it looks damn good on me.
The point is, it is not the title on the relationship or the label that you give it or each other that counts— it’s the time, effort, and emotion that you put into and get from it that really matters. Never let anyone else dictate your style, either. If you’re wearing a casual relationship when nothing but a wedding gown will do for you, you’re always going to be uncomfortable, but as soon as you find the right match and become your own designer, I’m sure you’ll find something that you can make work and will look beautiful wearing it. As Samantha once said in Sex and the City, “…The true test of a relationship is if it makes you feel like this (frowns), or like this (smiles beatifically).” Be with someone who makes you smile, if not all the time, than most of the time, and I promise you that you will always feel like the luckiest and happiest girl in the world.
Other than me, of course.
- From SATCG