Being in a long-term relationship is all about sharing. You share your time, your living space, your most intimate secrets, your friends, your life. When you strike a nice balance in the sharing department, it feels easy and natural. When you share too much, your relationship can veer into codependent territory. When you share too little, your connection might feel cold and distant. The stakes are higher now, but basically, your preschool teacher knew what was up when she forced you to let Billy play with the toy truck in the sandbox: sharing is caring. Obviously every couple needs to figure out their own ideal sharing arrangement, but there are definitely some guidelines that apply to most everyone. With that in mind, here are a few things you should share with your partner, and a few things to keep for yourself. Keep reading »
We live in a culture that values coupledom and biological families over anything else. This is especially true for women, who are seen as more relationship-oriented than men. We hold romantic relationships up as the ultimate end goal, the prize, the be-all and end-all. We tend to believe this regardless of whether a particular pairing is healthy or toxic, discounting the possibility that someone might actually be contented and fulfilled while single.
Being single and being in a relationship both have their pros and cons. I was chatting about this recently with a friend who recently lost her mom. She’s single and she said she felt particularly lonely grieving her mom’s death by herself. She wasn’t completely alone, of course; her friends and family were there for her. But she said she had wished she had a partner to lean on during the worst of her grief.
I just listened quietly when I heard this. I wanted to speak up, but I wasn’t sure it was the right time to say what I wanted to say. Personally, I believe that the good things in life — support, respect, happiness, joy — depend a lot more on having close friends and family, not the absence or presence of a partner. A partner is just one person; friends and family are a whole community.
My relationship is without a doubt the most supportive one I’ve ever had. I don’t keep anything from him, because I’m not afraid anything will scare him away. I feel loved and safe with him. But he’s just one person. He’s just human. I’m still a person who is vulnerable and imperfect. And a relationship is not bubble wrap. Keep reading »
“I just assumed that when I met my soulmate and fell in love, all of these annoying day to day things would fall into place.”
I’m on the phone with a friend of mine, who’s a couple years into a relationship that is overflowing with romance. Their pairing has everything: the meet-cute; the deep, spiritual connection; the sizzling sexual chemistry; the stimulating intellectual back and forth; the aligned life goals and values; the mutual belief that the other is the most amazing human to ever grace the Earth.
They’ve committed to a life together, they own a house, they’re very, very happy. There’s just one problem: they can’t for the life of them figure out how to plan their weekends. Her go-with-the-flow attitude clashes with his get-shit-done vibe and all of a sudden their dreamy love connection is imploding into a cranky spat about how long they’re going to spend at Home Depot and who hit the snooze button for the fourth time.
“I know we’re meant to be together,” she says, “so why can’t we figure this out?” Keep reading »
I’m someone who has had a lot of sex with a lot of different people — “a lot,” of course, being subject to interpretation. I have had several relationships throughout my life, but a fair amount of sex has been with hookups, men that I briefly dated, or FWB. I’ve been lucky enough to have some extremely hot sex that I fondly remember. But primarily, there was a lot of largely unremarkable sex that was meh at the time; being kinky, it has not been easy for me to match up well with fulfilling sexual partners.
When I met my husband (a year ago in two weeks, in fact!), I happily settled into monogamy with him. Kale not only satisfies me and loves being satisfied by me, but he loves and appreciates my past experiences. Consistently knowing where my next good sex is coming from makes me relieved to be off the sex-and-dating merry-go-round.
That’s the biggest way that a relationship has changed my sex life. Here are a few more: Keep reading »
A few years ago, I had a Big, Terrible Breakup. I’d been living with a guy, whom I loved, wanted to marry and raise kids with. He wanted those things, too, until he didn’t. I hadn’t seen the split coming and felt completely gobsmacked.
I turned around, reactivated my OKCupid profile, and began dating immediately. That turned out to not be such a good idea. I thought I needed to distract myself (and considering I had moved back in with my parents, part of me did need to distract myself) but what I really needed was to heal. Alas, even though I was not ready to date yet in the grander scheme of things, dipping my toe back in the waters showed me there were lots other guys out there. It took me a couple months to admit that there could be someone out there better for me than Ex-Mr. Jessica. But my acceptance wasn’t necessarily due to anything particularly convincing he said while we were breaking up; it came from meeting other guys online who, in integral ways, seemed like they’d be a better fit.
That’s not to say that I limped off my injury gracefully. Not much at all, in fact. I passed many, many months during 2011 mired in bitterness — hurt, resentful, and very angry. Keep reading »
Today is Nick and my 10-year anniversary. TEN YEARS. A decade. One-twentieth of a lifetime if we both live to be 200, which we plan to. I’m not usually super sentimental about anniversaries, if only because I’m like a doofy sitcom husband when it comes to remembering exact dates, but I couldn’t help but get a little reflective and nostalgic last night when I was thinking back on all we’ve been through and all the fun we’ve had. Here are 10 things I’ve learned — about relationships, life, and myself — in the past 10 years. Keep reading »