I called my mom last night to tell her about the play I’m going to be in. We talked about some other stuff, and eventually she asked me how TM was doing, and whether he liked his job or not.
It was kind of a useless question, cuz we’d just talked about how most people don’t like their jobs, and I kind of felt like it was a trick.
I told her he didn’t, and that he had to stay late last week to fix something with a report (I did not, however, tell her how upset I got – basically that was the event which incited the creation of this blog in the first place).
Anyhoo, in the
annoying way that all moms do, she put on her I-told-you-so voice and said, “This is what I was saying.”
She says that people give up good opportunities all the time to go be with their sweethearts, thinking they’ll finally get a chance to be together, but thenthey have to get 9-to-5 jobs that come with their own commitments and end up spending more time apart than together.
Mom was concerned that, because I don’t want the normal 9-to-5 job, that I would judge the person I’m with for somehow being “lesser” than.
I didn’t disagree; just a few months ago I was frustrated with TM because I saw potential in him to take charge of a project, and he just wouldn’t do it. He said he had more important things he wanted to do with his time, like enjoy his last semester of college and spend time with his girlfriend (a.k.a. me! :3). Both noble endeavours. But I knew what it could do for his career if he’d step up and take charge, and it frustrated me and caused me to criticize and devalue him.
Still, even at the time I knew the way I was thinking and acting was wrong, and I hated myself for it. So I took the time out to look up how to respect your partner, and I told myself that I wasn’t going to criticize his decisions any more. He has just as much of a right to choose how he wants to live as I do. Besides, he had a plan in place, one that required him working a 9-to-5 job, and he was supporting himself and he could support me if needed. So, really, who was I to complain?
an ungrateful bitch that’s who
Anyway, all of that was brought to mind again when my mother asked me this question.
“What are you going to do when you start getting out and meeting people?”
Meaning, giving my potential for unbridled “ambition” (which isn’t really so I just don’t like being told what to do lol), would I not grow to resent my partner for not having that same drive as I continued to go out and do things in the world, meeting people who are obvious go-getters such as I might become?
My answer was simple: “Make a bunch of new friends :D”
“Yeah, you gon make ‘friends’ alright…”
This is a question I’ve always taken issue with. My grandfather asked me the same thing right before I came to Japan. “What are you going to do when you meet Japanese boys?” Uh, say hi? Like, am I just supposed to drop TM because some shiny new object flashed before my eyes?
So I asked her this in return: “So wait, why wouldn’t any married person just up and divorce their spouse whenever someone they think might be ‘better’ crosses their paths?”
She said because those people have had enough time to know what they want in their life.
I disagree. I don’t think that “married” people necessarily know what they want in their life anymore than us mere “long-term-relationshippers” do. The number people having affairs and getting divorced alone should be proof of that.
Besides, who’s to say that that other person would even be ‘better’?
“I could feel unsatisfied and go for someone who was a go-getter, and then feel great about finding someone seemingly more ‘suitable’ for me,” I told her, “but, that go-getter might be emotionally unavailable, so now I might end up losing something I really value by trying to get something I think I want.”
I asked if it wasn’t sufficient enough to surround myself with friends who are doing those kinds of things so I have someone to share them with, instead of expecting my spouse to be the whole package.
“Yeah,” she said, “but if your spouse is insecure then that won’t be happening.”
Which is true. This is why I’m a huge believer in pre-marital counseling, and I won’t be getting married until future-husband and I have taken our classes.
Mom isn’t advocating I run off at the next pretty sight; in fact, she believes that I’m hardwired for commitment. “It’s something that we learned from your grandmother,” she said. And it’s true; my grandparents have only ever dated each other, and have been married their whole lives, even through all the rough patches. Mom says that I share that tendency with my grandmother, and with her.
“If we decide something, we’re gonna stick to it no matter what,” she told me. “Like, if it wasn’t for his mental state, I would still be with your father to this day.”
I thought back on my own abusive relationship, and how I narrowly escaped a similar situation.
On the bright side, this means that when I do publicly commit to my husband-to-be, in the face of all our families and friends, there will be no doubts as to the longevity of our relationship.
In the meantime, I hope that we will work hard to grow and change together, to move towards each other instead of away from each other, so that each of us continues to respect the other such that there will be no need to look anywhere else for fulfillment.
As for TM and I, I think we’re doing a pretty good job of that already.
“You seem really happy right now,” mom told me at the end of our conversation.
She’s right. I am.