I grew up blissfully ignorant of gender roles. Growing up in the ‘90s, I never thought I’d one day need a man with a six-figure income to take care of me. But I wasn’t a feminist, either—I didn’t even know what feminism was until my 20s. All I knew was what my mother taught me—that I’d have to work hard to become a self-made woman—and what Hollywood taught me — that eventually I’d meet a Jonathan Taylor Thomas look-a-like and be swept away to my happily ever after.
Though my JTT look-a-like never surfaced, I did find someone to share my happily ever after with. When we first entered couplehood, neither of us had much in the way of disposable income. Date nights included hitting up Applebee’s for happy hour and grabbing a $.99 movie rental. If I had to name one of us as the breadwinner, it was him, but money was such a non-issue in our relationship that we never thought of who earned more. We viewed each other as equals so we split the bills down the middle, paying little attention to who earned what. We were in love and that was all that mattered, right? Keep reading »
You probably know Mr. Snuffleupagus as the heavy-lashed wooly mammoth from “Sesame Street.” He’s the lovable, large, brown creature who swings his trunk to and fro with every step, spends his days hanging out with Big Bird and enjoys nothing more than a bowl of spaghetti. I, however, happen to regard Snuffleupagus as my personal relationship savior.
How could a Muppet be so important to the health of my relationship? Before you go thinking we’re furries or into some kinky Muppet action, let me explain: Snuffleupagus is our safe word. My boyfriend and I use it when we’ve gone too far—not in the bedroom, but in our fights.
The need for a safe word arose while we were temporarily living with his parents and dealing with the stress of the situation. I won’t go into too much detail, but the dysfunction among his family members took its toll on our relationship, and soon we reached a point where we were arguing several times a day. Every comment was an attack and every action was an argument trigger. It brought a whole new meaning to the phrase walking on eggshells. Keep reading »
Halfway through my freshman year of high school, I found myself two states away from my childhood home of Seattle. I was sure my new school would offer an opportunity to shed my former identity as a shy, socially-inept girl and reinvent myself as the outgoing, popular girl that I knew was hiding somewhere inside. Sadly, that girl never surfaced. I was just as shy in California as I was in Washington, and my reinvention wasn’t coming as easily as I’d hoped.
After a few awkward weeks of eating lunch in the library, I met Erica*. We connected instantly and after only a few weeks, we were inseparable. We shared a love of science fiction, which we indulged by penning deliciously awful fan fiction after school. We talked for hours about everything from our Jedi alter egos to our difficult family lives. We drooled over boys together and dished gossip without inhibition. I knew Erica inside and out, as she did me.
In short, our bond was everything a friendship should be.
Two years later, I dumped her. Keep reading »
You truly don’t know your man until you perform the ultimate test of compatibility. No, it does not involve signing up on eHarmony.com to see if you’re meant to be. To know if your love will last until the end of your days, you must do the inevitable: Move in together.
When my boyfriend of a year and I considered signing a lease together at the beginning of this year, the prospect of living together was a dream come true. I, like many other women, naively thought shacking up was the natural first step to happily-ever-after. Through my rose-colored glasses, I envisioned our bond strengthening and our relationship evolving. Best of all, we’d be together all the time.
Keep reading »