This is my first Valentine’s Day as a married person. However, Scott and I aren’t doing anything because 1) I’m about to get on a plane from Oakland to Houston for a business trip and 2) I normally don’t make a fuss about Valentine’s Day anyway, regardless of if I’m in a relationship or not. I know that I’m loved, and while I appreciate gifts and gestures from the many loved ones in my life, I find this holiday to be contrived and tacky. [Insert grumpy rant here]
However, on this day commemorating
unrealistic expectations based on outdated gender roles romantic love, it does have me thinking a lot about the new committed relationship I’ve entered into and how my life has changed because of it. The thing is–and many people who are close to me already know this–I used to love being single. Not in the classic “boy-crazy” way that some people are, but I liked talking about guys, texting them, flirting, going on dates, meeting people at bars and parties, etc. I never had many serious relationships, though, and the few that I did were disasters, which only solidified my position on romance. While some people balk at the idea of being “alone” and crave constant affection and companionship, I was quite the opposite. I enjoyed my freedom and independence and relished my solo status.
Scott was very much the same way, and we met during a perfect storm in both of our lives. We had both reached a point where we started to consider settling down–after I had had my fill of adventure (and a whole lot of other crap–no pun intended) in the Peace Corps and he graduated from law school and got a full-time job as an attorney–and that’s obviously exactly what happened. It happened quickly by almost any standard, and friends will often ask me, “Isn’t it crazy that you’re married now?!” But my honest answer is, “No, not really.” The progression of our relationship, to me, felt totally natural, which I guess is an indication that it’s a good relationship. But there are some moments, like when a friend and I are reminiscing about people we used to date, that I’m like: “Wait…that part of my life is over now.”
Sometimes I contemplate whether or not I “miss” being single. And the answer is about 25% yes and 75% no. Yes, being in a long-term relationship doesn’t always include the butterflies in the pit of your stomach, the “rush” of pursuing someone you like, the exciting possibilities when you enter a crowded room on a Saturday night. There’s a lot of arguments over stupid things, conversations that go like: “Where do you wanna eat tonight?” “I dunno,” and spending time with one another’s farts.
But at the same time, I look back on my years spent reveling in the dating world and remember all the things that TOTALLY SUCKED about dating. I hated not knowing how the guy felt about me. I hated not getting my texts returned, and I hated getting texts from people I didn’t like and brainstorming how to go about turning them down. I hated the process of opening up, being vulnerable, and running the risk of being rejected because he didn’t like what I had to share. Dating, while it can be fun, is also doubly miserable.
When I first started dating Scott, I was shocked by how forward he was. He asked me on pre-planned, specific dates. He texted me every day, and it wasn’t after midnight when he was drunk. He sat by me in public and wasn’t embarrassed to be seen with me. In fact, he even seemed to be proud to be dating me. And he had a future with me in mind. It’s pretty sad that this behavior was surprising to me, but that’s the world we live in. It’s remarkable how much shoddy treatment I put up with as a single person. I wish I had had higher standards for myself, but it’s so easy to say that in hindsight.
I like being in a relationship, and I never thought I’d say that. I like having a husband, or as I call him, a “life buddy.” He’s someone that I can go through everything with together. When I was single I was always afraid of losing my freedom, but it doesn’t really feel that way at all. I feel perfectly free when I’m with my husband. I guess you just have to meet the right person to make it all worth it.
But in case you were wondering, single people, Valentine’s Day doesn’t suck any less as a married person.