the shocking truth about love

Recently, I realized that my marriage is not perfect.

Isn’t that shocking? I’m shocked. I thought it was perfect. I didn’t say this aloud, but I was sure that we were the only perfect couple in the world. And not sure in the “Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty great!” way. Sure in the like “I have found God and there is only one Truth” way.

I’m not sure which is more embarrassing– that I thought our marriage was going to remain unblemished and preternaturally self-possessed, like a child model. Or that it isn’t.

When people fall in love, they’re supposed to go crazy. Their brains release all of these ridiculous chemicals and they start running around, jumping in fountains and throwing things in the air and laughing with their mouths wide open and their heads thrown back. That stage lasts for two years. Which is a lot of fountains.

(I’d go for this one. source)

It’s science. People need to get like that so that they’ll commit to each other and then they can raise babies and stuff. Unless they’re gay, and then science gets all awkward and nods a lot and says, “We’re working on that one.”

I was sure my love for Bear wasn’t science. It was something much better. Something much, much more unpredictable. This was pure, wild luck, and Bear and I were its masterpiece.

I’ve known Bear for close to three years now, we’ve been married for a little over one, and I’m starting to recognize our particular struggles as a couple. The things that get stuck just below the surface for too long, until suddenly they erupt. The ways in which we go gradually in circles. The things that we are each really bad at. I have sorted issues into piles. The pile of stuff that bothers me a little but is really fine. The pile of stuff that bothers me more than a little, and I am not sure I’m fine with. The pile of stuff that bothers him, and I should really do something about.

(the stuff under the surface can be scary when it suddenly breaks through)

 

I am not as dependent on Bear as I was at first. At first, I had to see him all the time. I had to, I had to! Every night was a giddy, giggling slumber party. I wondered how I’d ever make time for friends. I started cooking every evening, experimenting with lamb stews and complicated, clashing salads. I sat up in bed and watched him sleep, stunned by his absurd perfection. How could someone have perfect lips as well as perfect ears as well as a perfect chest as well as perfect arms and perfect nostrils and perfect freckles and perfect knees and perfect hair on his perfect shoulders? How? (I’m still not sure, honestly.)

Now I like to go out a lot more. I spend whole evenings with my friends. I want to break up the weekend sometimes, with couple’s brunches or a little work, or with me going to see a movie with someone else. Not because I don’ t want to see Bear– but because it’s beginning to feel like I have enough time to do all of this, since we’re going to be together, y’know, forever. My need for him has lost its frantic edge. It feels safer. It feels less competitive.

(so relaxed….)

Oh no! I think. This is the death of passion! Comfort is the worst! This is the beginning of the end! Pretty soon it’ll just be us sitting for hours in the same room, reading. And then one of us will say, “Did you remember to take the chicken out of the freezer?” and the other one will say, “No.” And the first one will say, “Well, could you please do that?” and the other one will say, with a long sigh, “Fine. I’ll get it. Don’t feel like you have to get up for anything. We wouldn’t want that to happen.” And the first one will say, “You know what? I work really hard.” and the other one will say, “Doing what? Writing some blog about your boobs? And how’s that novel coming, anyway? It’s been, what, a year? Two?” And the first one will say, “Oh, really? You want to go there? I’m going to be famous one day.” And the other one will say, “Uh huh.”

What if that happens??

It doesn’t help that Bear is nervous, too. He makes these little, totally hilarious jokes about me leaving him and breaking his heart and destroying his life. I’m kidding– they’re not hilarious. I feel like I should reassure him. I should be more attentive, more earnest. I should write him more adorable, adoring emails. I used to do that. It looks bad that I stopped. I should be doing something more.

When we were planning the wedding, I remember hating it when people said that marriage was all about hard work. All about constant compromise. All about getting over things and lowering expectations and just dealing with annoying stuff. We wanted a relationship based on play, instead of work. We even put that in our vows.

It turns out that marriage can’t be all about play. But that doesn’t mean it has to be constant emotional labor. What I’m learning is that it needs room to change. It needs space to shift into the next phase of its gentle evolution. Bear and I are so nervous about losing the first phase that we’re hanging on, wide-eyed, afraid that the first part was true love, and the rest, somehow, won’t be.

It’s strange, but I think the biggest problem that Bear and I have is that we are starting to notice that our relationship isn’t perfect. We’re unprepared and defensive. But…wasn’t that the way love worked?

(weren’t we always smiling?)

Well, yeah. It was. And so is this. That’s part of the adventure. You see where the love goes. But you have to be brave enough.

OK, secret: I’m a little relieved.

Being perfect is too hard. Actually, in the end, ironically, it’s too much work. And marriage isn’t about work. I won’t let it be. What is it about? I don’t know. Getting to know each other better than anyone else in the world? Being committed to each other? Having someone no matter what? Growing together? Laughing at each other’s jokes?

I know a couple (full disclosure, it’s Jess, from the naked post, and her husband) who make sure their jokes get laughed at. If one person says something particularly clever and the other person doesn’t react, the first person says, “Hey! You forgot to laugh!” And then they do it over again. I love that. Marriage is about that.

And when Bear and I both stop being nervous about how imperfect it turns out we are, and realize that we don’t have to be a perfect couple to have an amazing relationship, I am really looking forward to getting to know him better. To living the rest of my life with him. To sitting side by side in a quiet room, reading. One person will say, “Hey, honey, did you remember to take the chicken out of the freezer?” and the other will say, “Nope.” and the first person will say, “I’ll do it, then.” And the other person will say, “I love you.” And the first person will say, “I love you, too.” And then the people will have really hot sex on the couch.

Here’s to being in love for the long haul! Take that, science!*

(I love this man so ridiculously much. Even more than when this picture was taken. Also, when this picture was taken, I was trying not to trip over the front of my wedding gown. Not my best moment)

*  *  *

Married people: how is your marriage doing? Any advice for newlyweds who are realizing their relationship isn’t perfect? Newlyweds of less than a year, any advice you need from me? :-)

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in electric blue. When I’m in a certain mood. Which is now.

*I don’t really think science is the enemy. Science is great!

41 Comments »

Kate on January 25th 2012 in life, marriage, relationships

41 Responses to “the shocking truth about love”

  1. Iris responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 10:39 am #

    It’s good to hear from someone who’s optimistic about love. I’ve had a very pessimism-inducing week myself, with three of my friends splitting up from their long-term, serious partners… including my best friend calling off her engagement. :/

    I’m rooting for you and Bear. You guys might not be perfect, but I think you seem like an awesome couple.

  2. Emmi responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 10:50 am #

    My husband and I have been together 9 years next week (aside: HOLY CRAP I am only newly 28 and somehow that does not seem possible) and married for….uhhh….it’ll be 3 years in May? Somehow the wedding date gets muddled way more easily than our being-together date.

    I am actually really thankful for my marriage, much more than I ever thought I would be. I wasn’t all that keen on getting married, we’d been together so long and my husband sort of spontaneously decided to propose when co-workers were asking him why we weren’t engaged yet. Seriously, they were like, hey you’ve been living together a couple years now, aren’t you going to get engaged? And he was like, ahh I should get on this, and bought a ring and popped the question on Guy Fawkes Day ’07, which I find hysterical (and quite helpful to remember the date). The my mother stepped in and went all WOO I GET ANOTHER WEDDING and I told her she could have whatever she wanted for the wedding if she would pay for it, and the whole thing ended up being a really nice event.

    But marriage has ended up being good for me, I think. I am an action-person. If something is broken, fix it! If something is bad, make it good or make it gone! Don’t sit about whinging about it, I don’t want to hear it. You have the power, blah blah blah. But after I was married, and a fairly serious issue came up between me and my husband (he had gotten some credit cards without telling me, and run up the balances – only a few hundred dollars but I was 90% pissed that he just hadn’t bloody told me he’d gotten the cards to begin with), my usual reaction would have been to kick him the hell out. This might sound harsh, but he’d made some bad financial decisions and lied-by-omission to me about them before and the last time I told him I’d had it and if it happened again then I was done. That was before we were married.

    Suddenly, I realized that my usual reaction needed reassessing. I can’t just kick him out, because we’re legally bound together. And that was probably good. It forced us to really sit down and work on the issue together. We actually almost never fight, and we’ve never yelled at each other or anything. I just expect honesty, and sometimes when he messes something up he tries to keep it to himself until it’s resolved. I told him that for what I need from him, this is not acceptable. We all mess up. I just want to hear about the flubs when they happen. I can take them in stride. I just can’t stand being lied to or kept in the dark.

    Except for these very few situations (maybe 3 big-ish issues in 9 years?), we never fight or bicker. We are disgustingly adorable together. I love spending time with him. I do plenty of other things with friends and family, but my favorite is still being with him. Because of my health, we don’t know how much time we’ll have left together, so we really focus on making every day special. And to go a bit TMI, even after 9 years, we have more sex now than we ever did before. Bah, stereotypes! :)

  3. Shannon responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 11:01 am #

    I’ll be married 5 years in June. We were together only a year and a half before we were married but marriage didn’t seem to change too much since we were already living together. My husband actually seemed to open up more and be more vulnerable after our marriage, like he knew I wasn’t going anywhere now. And I definitely got over that “franticness” you referred to (was SO bad at that). We have a 7 month old daughter now and that has brought a whole new set of challenges. What I’ve learned is that your spouse should be the most important person to you, no matter what, and you should let them know that you are always there for them (even if you are having a craptacular day and snap at him for no reason). Being able to rely on someone else and know they love you pretty much unconditionally has made our marriage strong despite any other challenges or stupid things that happen. Marriage absolutely takes work and is not all honeymoon but it is one of the best things you will ever do.

  4. Melanie responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 11:25 am #

    I love the idea of the piles. I have to sort out the things I don’t like and figure out which ones really don’t matter as well. I never wanted to be with my boyfriend all the time though, that’s just not in my genes. We see each other two or three times a week and that works out perfect for me. Then I get to miss him. He truly loves me for who I am and all my imperfections that I’m really self-conscious about, he makes it a point to tell me he loves each and every one of them because they make up the whole of Melanie. It’s a very new relationship so we’re definitely in the honeymoon phase, and I love it.

    Those pictures are absolutely adorable. Love each and every one of them.

  5. Jennifer responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 11:29 am #

    My husband and I have been married for 6 months (as of this past Monday!). But we were together for 5 years before that: 2 of it was long-distance, with him living in PA and me living in ME. Then he moved up here, and we were together for 3 years after that. THEN we got married.

    We’re very practical people. We wanted to make sure that we weren’t rushing things, that we weren’t getting married while we were still in the “infatuation” stage, only to find that we couldn’t stand each other once we got past it. So we were patient. We didn’t want to rush things while we were long distance, and we didn’t want to jump head first into marriage as soon as he moved. So we took our time.

    For me, the realization that our love wasn’t “perfect” came sometime between when he moved and when we got married. It wasn’t the same as when we were long distance. Then, we’d only see each other about 4 or 5 weeks out of the year, and those weeks were crazy intense and we were just so NEEDY for each other. It was fun, but exhausting, both emotionally and physically.

    Then, it seemed like all of a sudden, we calmed down. We weren’t having sex 4 times a night, 5 nights a week anymore. We could go out and do things with other people. It was, in retrospect, a much more “normal” relationship. But at the time, it panicked me a little. “What if this means we’re not attracted to each other anymore?” I wondered. “If it has changed this much in 4 years, what will it be like in 14?”

    But I think you need to get out of that infatuated stage, that time in the relationship where he/she is like a drug that you can’t live without, otherwise you will exhaust yourself. You’d end up a crazy person. The love we have now is a much more comfortable love. We are thrilled with each other and our marriage, and if everyone is right and “the first year is the hardest”, then the rest is going to be a breeze. :D

  6. Amy responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 11:50 am #

    I will be married ten years this May and it has been wonderful. I think the shocker realization for me was that I spent all this time trying to stay the person I was 10 years ago, but the truth is, as time goes by, we change. We have changed a lot. And neither of us are married to the same people anymore. The hope is that we continue to commit to change together and accept the changes that come.

  7. Lynellekw responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    I’ve been married 10.5 years. And if I’m honest, it’s been pretty easy. It’s not hard to try a bit more to put my shoes away, right? It’s not that hard to accomodate his family a little when I find them infuriating, is it? I think we’re basically both pretty reasonable people, and we’re not inclined to get upset about small things. And not afraid to address things that we’re really not happy about, either. Mostly I tend to ask myself, “is this really a problem? Is this something I need to spend energy on? Am I really being asked for a lot?” and if it really isn’t, then I don’t bother, but if it really is, then I say, “I think this is a problem”. Usually. Most of the time. But I think that’s what makes a perfect marriage – not being flawless, but being able to accommodate flaws when that’s required or correcting them when that’s neccessary, and being wise enough to tell the difference.

  8. Andrew responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Great post. I like it when people deal in reality.

    I am not married, so I have very little to add, except that I’m glad to hear that someone else has shoulder hair. There aren’t many of us out there.

  9. Maya responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    My marriage is awesome. It’s the best thing I ever did ever. We’ve been married 8 years and together…. I don’t know how long. How long ago was 1992? 20 years… A long time anyway. People say that marriage is hard work, but that hasn’t been my experience. Being married to DH is easy. He’s my best friend and the greatest guy I know. We have a lot in common and have a great time together too. We’ve gone through bad times together – infertility and cancer – and we have an amazing daughter who is the light of our eyes. It isn’t about being perfect or not having flaws or being some version of yourself. It’s really just about being a family together and all the joys and pain of making a life together. Spending time with your family and friends, working hard to provide for each other, seeing each other grow and knowing true acceptance from the one person who really knows everything there is to know about you.

  10. Hal responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Wait ’til you have kids, then your marriage can get very stressful and unfulfilling.

  11. jheath responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    I think what you’ve described is a very normal part of being married. I don’t know anyone that hasn’t gone through the “our love is perfect stage” and then freak out when the “imperfect but comfortable stage” comes along. I’ve been married 10 years and I totally went through it with my husband. The passionate beginning of love/marriage is great, but I think that when you get into a comfortable groove with your spouse it’s even more awesome. Life is messy, and so is marriage. And don’t even get me started on kids ;) I think of it like this- my family isn’t perfect and I still love, grow, and change with them. Your husband is your new family now, and you get the pleasure of trail blazing through life with him. And it won’t always be perfect. Just roll with it and enjoy.

  12. San D responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    40 years of marriage has taught me that if you don’t marry your best buddy, you are in a heap of trouble. Like with all buddies you will disagree, agree, fight, laugh, blame and cry with. You will also learn that you and your husband might have distinct philosophical and political ideas that might differ, and under loving circumstances, the debates, while heated, are not taken personally. When younger, this wasn’t always true, but now I am able to have his ideas not reflect on me (in my own head). To make a clothing metaphor, if he dresses funny, it has nothing to do with me. I used to feel I had to explain and justify, but I know now, he is who is, and I am who I am, and friends and family know us a such.

  13. Katharine Lilley responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    My husband and I have been married for almost 6 years and together for 7 1/2. I thought we were perfect in the early years too, so much so that I feel guilty now about how flightly and annoying I was about how EASY it was for us and how PERFECT we were for each other. Well, we’ve been through some really hard things and have gone through some periods where our relationship looked pretty bleak. But as you work through hard stuff successfully when more hard stuff comes up it’s easier to work through it. I love this man. He is the love of my life and an amazing husband, father, companion and best friend. I cannot imagine my life without him and I say that YES, marriage IS work. Because it is worth it, right?

    I love this quote:

    “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

  14. Kate responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    @Katharine
    Fantastic quote! Thank you.

  15. Kate responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    @Iris
    That’s depressing! I’m sorry. Last night, Bear found out that someone he knew from high school got divorced. He said, “This is the first one,” and was glum. That stuff can really shake you.

  16. Kate responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    @Lynellekw
    Well said. That’s it– being accepting of flaws, and moving on. I wish I had said that. But thank you for saying it instead of me :-)

  17. Kate responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    @jheath
    Thank you!!! This is so comforting.

  18. Carol Hess responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    I love this post. Love, love, love it. And the photos. Love, love, love them. What can I say? I’m a fan! :)

  19. Kate responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    @Carol
    Thank you for loving the photos! They cracked me up, and I was hoping people would like them :-)

  20. San D responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Oh, and a fountain alert. The fountain you have pictured is the baroque Trevi fountain in Rome which appears in the movie “Three Coins in the Fountain” (1954). Without giving it much thought over the years, I have thrown three coins over my shoulder and then drank the water (double yukkkk), because the saying is that if you do that you will visit Rome many times.

  21. Kate responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    @San D
    I’ve been there!! When I was fourteen. But I remember it pretty clearly. That day was really, really boring, except for the fountain :-)

  22. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    what an excellent post regarding marriage, however…i am not the one to give advice :)

  23. Kate responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    @Kimmy Sue
    Don’t worry– you can give me advice about something else. Like eventually becoming a GILF
    :p

  24. Angela responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    We got married at 20 and 22 respectively. Which was crazy. But it was ok. Marriage is about having someone to grow with. Sometimes that includes growing pains but 14 plus years and two little boys later, I can’t imagine a better match for me. There were and are bumps along the road, but for us, it has only gotten better.

  25. teegan responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Together 2 1/2 years, married 1 1/2, and I definitely know what you’re talking about, the needing more space, although we came it at a different way. It wasn’t that we started being okay with being separate so much as it was that we weren’t okay with the fact that we WEREN’T taking enough time for ourselves – for yoga or writing poetry or biking or whatever. Moving just before the wedding meant that we didn’t have a lot of close friends sitting around, inviting us to rejoin our old lives.
    I love hubby to pieces still, but it’s quieter. It’s that constant, trusting, forever and ever and then some love.
    Of course, now that we’re trying to get pregnant, who knows how our relationship will evolve? I guess we’ll see.

  26. Caroline responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    I’ve been married for over 11 years (with two kids) and was recently thinking about how we’ve made it work and remained happy and I’ve come to a couple of conclusions.

    The first is that our relationship is (and always has been) all about having fun together. Sure, there is a lot of other obligatory business in there too (life insurance, termite inspections, dental appointments…). Probably more “business” than “fun” if you added it all up. But, the fun is where we keep our focus: weekends, travel, baseball, swimming – this is where our minds and hearts are, even if we are arguing about schedules and folding laundry.

    The other think is that there comes a point in every discussion, argument, disagreement or negotiation where you can decide how things are going to go. Many of us rush right past it, angry or indignant, and wonder how we ended up so far down the line. I’m just getting to the point in my life where I can recognize that point, stop and decide how to proceed. Many times I decide it’s not really important and leave it there, other times I decide to see it through to the end carefully and respectfully. It’s kind of like a muscle that needs to be developed and I’m just now getting strong enough to do it right.

    Good luck to you and your husband!

  27. Spelling responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    Looking at the photos of you & Bear, it makes me happy :) You’re so cute together! You ooze happiness.

    P.S. (not really related): You look like a couple in a photobooth (except without a kissing photo)… you should get some props and take photos like that!

  28. Kate responded on 25 Jan 2012 at 11:32 pm #

    @Spelling
    There’s definitely a kissing picture! I just didn’t include it here :-)
    And thank you!

  29. Jess responded on 26 Jan 2012 at 8:43 am #

    The Husband wants me to point out that we’re much more aggressive with our laugh demands–it’s more along the lines of, “hey! Jerk! That was funny!!”
    But, yeah, as you know, I’m a big fan of “companionate” love (which is also literally the only thing I remember from the class I took with Steven Pinker…sigh…). It’s an adjustment, sure, but it’s a net gain :)

  30. Cyndie responded on 26 Jan 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Married 7 months. My marriage is perfect, PERFECT. Don’t tell me otherwise ;)

    (but really, when does it get more difficult? When does it start to feel like work? I know it’s probably different for everyone, but I want to prepare myself)

  31. Javi responded on 26 Jan 2012 at 10:50 am #

    We’re going to be hitting the seven year mark this July *eep*
    and boy do i know about the getting too comfortable stage. We’ve hit it. We’ve hit it badly and we have a 15 month old.

    Most days we’re so exhausted from our respective days that by the time we get our daughter to bed (8:30), we cook/eat our food, clean the kitchen and any other disaster area around the house and collapse on the couch and then eventually make it to the bed by around 11pm. We’ve seen the toll its taking on our marriage and have been trying VERY hard to take 5 minutes here and there and check in with each other.

    We seriously miss the days when it was just us and oodles of time on the weekends to spend together. Enjoy the time now :)

  32. Rebecca responded on 26 Jan 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    Love this.

    And those pictures of you and your Bear.
    Go on with yer cuteness now!

  33. Anne responded on 26 Jan 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Loved the post and all the comments. I’m only 24 and already divorced, but I like hearing from people with happy marriages because it gives me hope that it will work out for me and someone else someday :)

  34. Zellie responded on 27 Jan 2012 at 11:15 am #

    If you know the kind of person you want to be you can try to act the way that person would as much as possible. You will grow so much as individuals over the years and your relationship has to survive while you do it- while you’re learning how to accept each other and life’s disappontments.

    My recommendation is to ask for what you need and to say yes whenever possible. Do what you know the other person would like. Like taking the chicken out or sex. If he asks you, think how you would feel if you were the one asking. You don’t ever have to be rude or inconsiderate of each other if that’s not the kind of person you want to be.

    If you’re both in agreement on this idea it will make the way much smoother. Don’t wait for crisis and tragedy of life to teach you not to sweat the small stuff.

    married 22 years

  35. romantic love ideas responded on 29 Jan 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    “It turns out that marriage can’t be all about play. But that doesn’t mean it has to be constant emotional labor. What I’m learning is that it needs room to change. It needs space to shift into the next phase of its gentle evolution. Bear and I are so nervous about losing the first phase that we’re hanging on, wide-eyed, afraid that the first part was true love, and the rest, somehow, won’t be.”
    Loved everything but this was just..so.. honest.. takes guts to admit what really goes on and what you’re afraid of and why..but it’s the only way to move forward. Really sounds like you and bear did and I have to say that you guys give me hope! Thank you for that and wish you both the best of luck on your gentle journey, with all the jokes you can laugh at together! :)

  36. Rachel responded on 03 Feb 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Hi! Long time lurker (love your honesty and quirkiness!) but I think this is the first time I commented. I’ve been with my honey for 12 years, and married for over 8 and we are still head over heels in love. My best friend gave me a wonderful piece of advice when I got married that I try to practice – Never intentionally hurt your partner through words or actions. If both of you know you have each other’s best interests at heart and work hard at not saying hurtful or vengeful things in the heat of an arguement, it goes a LONG way in creating a peaceful relationship with very little drama and even less bitterness. We’ve had major bumps along the road, but the more we unconditionally accept each other and our quirks, the more we appreciate the habits that we used to find annoying. So I guess my advice would be to be relentless in looking for the good in each other!

  37. Megan responded on 07 Feb 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Hi Kate-

    It’s nice to hear how happy and optimistic you are about your marriage. Unfortunately, that optimism has left the building as far as I’m concerned, since a few years back my former fiancé cheated on me and subsequently left me two months before our wedding. Advice on how to become trusting and optimistic again? (Disclaimer- I don’t actually expect you to fix this problem for me, so don’t worry!)

  38. Kate responded on 07 Feb 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    @Megan
    I’m so, so sorry that happened to you! That’s beyond terrible. And I think that after something like that happens, it naturally takes a long time to recover. I’m not sure what advice to give– I think trust and optimism are sometimes just a leap of faith. You might have to really throw yourself outside your comfort zone. Are you dating again? I think to move forward you have to really believe that what happened was not about you– it was about this guy, and his issues. And you have to know that there are so many people out there who would never treat you like that. I swear.

    I have a friend who was also engaged to someone who cheated on her. He was also an alcoholic, which for some reason took a long time to come out. She is now married to an amazing, gentle guy who is exactly her match in intellect and humor.

    Don’t let one shitty guy drag you down!

  39. Megan responded on 09 Feb 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Yeah, it is pretty terrible. It’s been over 3 and a half years though, and I’m still pretty damaged by it. I mean, not actively furious or sobbing or anything. Just extremely guarded, and alone.

    I have dated a bit, probably too early, and found it to be pointless. I was never a very trusting person when it came to relationships, and now I’m terrified of people. At the same time though, I know I want it. I’m going to be 29 in a few months, and nearly all of my friends are in great, long-term relationships. I feel like I missed the boat, and now it’s just not going to happen for me.

    I know logically that it was about him, and his issues, but it still really hurts. I recently heard he’s still with the girl with whom he cheated on me- they’ve been together now about as long as he and I had been together. It just weirds me out, and makes my stomach hurt.

  40. Kelli responded on 07 Mar 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    I’m late to the conversation, but I can really relate to what you are saying! I met my husband when I was 16 & it was love at first sight. We got married when I was 25, & I remember sitting on his lap on our first wedding anniversary sobbing because I just knew the honeymoon phase was over. He laughed at me (good naturedly) & said the next phase would be great too. He was right, it is really good, just different! Sometimes we sit in the same room all night & hardly talk, but it isn’t uncomfortable or bad. Neither of us are super talkative so it is just a really comfortable time together in quiet. Our relationship is no longer all about being together 24/7, but I know for sure that I love him even more now than I did when we got married.
    I agree with the commenter above who said to never be spiteful or purposefully hurtful. The longer I’ve been married the easier it is for my DH & I to trust one another b/c we’ve made a big point to live our lives that way. We have our issues, but we always know that the other was not trying to do the hurtful thing that might come up occasionally. It makes such a huge difference!

  41. Eat the Damn Cake » a wife, a husband, and a roommate responded on 31 May 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    [...] learned them better, even before they are married. And then sometimes it occurs to me that really, marriage is just as much about Bear and me as it is about itself. When I asked Bear if my friend could stay, I knew he wouldn’t say no, because when someone [...]

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