I've been thinking about this lately. I recently talked to a pregnant friend who got mad at her boyfriend for getting drunk on his birthday and ogling teenage girls with his guy friends - it really hurt her feelings and made her feel bad about herself. I on the other hand couldn't care less who my boyfriend ogles. He's in a band and is constantly surrounded by hordes of squealing Japanese girls who are younger and way thinner than I am. Sometimes he and his bandmates go out to eat or drink with their "groupies" and I just don't care at all. I figure he's gonna do what he's gonna do and I trust that he won't cheat, since we are exclusive and have been for four years.
We're not on any specific path toward marriage, moving in or starting a family. Just hanging out, living on our own, keeping bank accounts totally separate, etc. We're both really independent people who only need to see each other a couple times a month while talking daily or almost daily via phone.
A few people, friends and family, have suggested that this is not a sustainable relationship if we aren't "going somewhere" with it. My parents swear we are eventually going to cave and marry. But I like to think we've grown beyond the capacity of thinking only in terms of a hetero nuclear family unit, and there are tons more ways to go about living. Many of my friends are getting married and starting families and while I'm very happy for them I also feel sad because it's like they're all moving to new territory I cannot relate to, and I will miss them. The thought of someone bringing babies to girls' night out makes me nauseated.
Just curious to hear your thoughts on this!
12-20-2010, 10:44 PM
Life is WAY too short to adhere to anyone else's standards for "normal" relationship behavior. For those who want to settle down and have babies, that is wonderful--but it doesn't mean that people who don't have that kind of future in mind are somehow doing it wrong.
I used to feel kind of weird about the fact that my husband and I have separate bank accounts. I felt even weirder about the fact that we have separate bedrooms. I mean, who does that in a loving relationship, right? Turns out, I do! Gawd, it is awesome, I get to keep all the blankets, the only snorer that I'm aware of is my cat (and he has an itty bitty snore), and it keeps the "my place or yours?" question interesting even after many years of marriage.
I now wonder who wouldn't want her own bedroom. :D
People are surprisingly hidebound in their thinking sometimes. Not even just parents--who can reasonably be expected to have some traditional thought processes--but peers, too. A relationship is "sustainable" as long as it fulfills the needs and wants of the people inside it--and unless it's a very unusual relationship indeed, chances are that friends and family are outside it.
You don't have to be jealous, you don't have to be progressing toward marriage, you don't have to do anything that chick flicks and Cosmo articles assume you (and every other woman) must do to live a happy life. It's entirely understandable that your friend would get upset at her BF for checking out other women--but it should be just as understandable that you would not.
As for babies, I firmly believe that they are adorable heaven-sent little bundles of joy--when they belong to someone else and are seen only on holidays. Girls' nights out with babies? Not just no, but **** no. That is not a girls' night out, it is a play-date.
Like your friend, I'd be pretty upset
if my fiancÚ was ogling some other girl.
Even though he wasn't causing harm,
I'd still feel... er... unattractive,
hurt, cheated on?, and feeling
it was very rude of him to do so.
I would never do that to him and I know
it'd hurt him just like it would hurt me.
We're very close, only wanting each other
that we both have no desire or interest
in anyone else. We truly are each others'
best friends and something like that would
be out of character for the both of us.
We're also opposite in many ways.
I'm independent, he's dependent.
I'm frantic, he's chilled out.
I'm a planner, he's more spontaneous.
I'm a workaholic, he's family-oriented.
He keeps me balanced and focus when
I lose sight on the big picture. I believe
that's one of the things that have kept
our teenage, long-distance relationship
going for so long and has deepened our
love for each other. Everyone thought we
were going to break up within a matter
of weeks, but now we have plans on
getting married at 17 and 18!
I think it's fantastic that you and your
boyfriend are comfortable with each other
and in no hurry to rush into things. :)
I think it's good you're doing what you want to do - from my experience, I've seen people get married just because it's "what you're supposed to do," or just because they just want to be with someone, and it's always a disaster (not that it has to be, but for those I know it is).
Some of my friends are starting to get married, too. I'm happy for them, but when I think about getting married right now I want to run for the hills. I'm having a blast dating different guys and just being 21. For some reason people think this is weird, like I should be getting ready to settle down. Um, no - not for like 9 years at least.
So, I think that if you're good with how things are going and so is your boyfriend, it's sustainable. Please, like marriage itself is always sustainable? It can be, but it's not a guarantee.
Honestly, the relationship you have with your boyfriend is kind of my dream one - I'm very independent and feel closed in if my guys want to spend too much time with me (hanging out all day everyday? Ha, no...). Not that it can never change for me, but right now, this is what works. And I'm also fine with my guy checking out or even flirting with other girls when I'm not there - just flirt with her and then come back and do me. ;)
Cool thread! Got me thinking...
12-21-2010, 12:05 AM
I've been with my wife for 10 years. We didn't get married for a long time (though some legal issues played a part in that...), and we're really sort of anti-jealous. We sometimes even ogle together! And I know who she's going home with, you know?
A sustainable relationship is one that sustains the people within it...not their friends, not their families. So don't worry about "normal" and timetables and all of that.
12-21-2010, 12:06 AM
Krampus, I have a lot of respect towards your living style. Though, to be honest, I'm very pessimistic about the whole marriage thing in general. :lol:
My boyfriend and I have been dating for... I don't know. 3 years? 4? We've lived together for the last two years... (Or three?) I'm a VERY clingy person, so living together... for me, is pretty ideal. But marriage? Yeeeahno. No thanks. And children? Noooooo way!
I know how you feel though. My best friend now has a little 1 year old running around... and I feel a huge disconnect from her because she chose a very different path of life than myself. I'm 22, in college, trying to get a degree, rooming with my boyfriend (in my father's house) who is trying to get into the nursing program at college. I feel like I'm in a very childish position than she is (but I'm very proud regardless). She, on the other hand, same age as me, has been married for two years, has a one year old kid, is in the process of getting a divorce, unemployed, and lives on her own.
I can't relate to her. She can't relate to me. I feel like she's made some unfortunate decisions and has set herself up for a very difficult life. She feels like I put too much emphasis on money and my future career and has to remind me that money (unlike a family) doesn't cause happiness. I love her to pieces, and we've always been very different people... but I've lost touch with her for the most part. I know that I can ALWAYS call her, I know we'll ALWAYS be friends. But people do grow apart, and it's very unfortunate.
12-21-2010, 12:37 AM
I'm loving all the input from different backgrounds here! It is incredibly difficult to find common ground/common free time with "domesticated" friends, but I suppose that separation (coupled with the fact that I have skipped the country for three years, can't be helped) gives me the push needed for me to realize that it's okay not to feel guilty about moving away from my hometown and starting a new life somewhere new. My parents, love them but they're tough old people and won't need urgent round the clock care for a while (I hope). I'm ready to turn a new page when it's time to repatriate.
12-21-2010, 11:33 AM
Your relationship sounds SO familiar to me--- I'm in a very similar situation
except, full disclosure....I'm married.
So, just from the other side of that "choice".... it is possible to maintain all this independence and choose marriage if you'd like to.
Hubby and I lived long-distance for the first 2 years of our relationship. LOVED the independence and seeing him on weekends. Then we moved to the same town but kept up many similar behaviors. He has his job, I have mine, he hangs out with his friends, I don't always go along, etc.
We got married as a symbol of our commitment to one another, and because we may want to have children-- but we've not sacrificed our independence, in my opinion.
We take separate vacations sometimes, visit family separately-- and sometimes together, have our own interests, and, though we live together, both travel often for work and come and go as we please.
I love him to bits, and vice versa, but we were our own "person" before we met, and see no reason to be defined simply as a couple.
I think maintaining a healthy sense of yourself outside of your mate is the best way to ensure the relationship stays fresh... and lasts.
Sounds like you're in a great place overall!
12-22-2010, 09:18 AM
The problem with most people who get into relationships is they lose their independants because they think if they continue to keep it the man will walk away and leave them for someone else when in reality that's what a guy wants and vice versa. I learned a lot from past relationships especially the last one I had and for one keeping your own life at bay will help keep you from turning into one of those completely "psychotic chicks" as guys would call us.
As for getting jealous over small stuff because your man checks out another girl or other girls...it all has to do with the security of yourself. You can't stop someone from cheating, if it happens its going to happen no matter what. Lets face it we all check out other men too we just hide it a lot better then guys do. ;)
12-22-2010, 10:01 AM
We've been married for over 20 years. Even though my husband frequently asks me to come back to our old "shared" bedroom, I know he would be disappointed if I really did. We love having our own bedrooms and bathrooms. His is a dark little cave, mine is a bright, light space. It's been wonderful.
12-22-2010, 10:10 AM
Lol @ "domesticated" friends. I say do what works. I am in a similar sort of situation, no kids. When your friends' kids get older, you will reconnect a bit. I have a number of close friends whose kids have left home and I now have much in common with them. You're probably not thinking that far ahead, but...people do need their friends. It sort of goes in cycles.
12-22-2010, 12:17 PM
I think it all depends on how you define independence. My husband and I have been married for 4 years now (I'm 24) and I don't feel like I traded in any of my independence to do so. Sure, there are some limitations on my bank account because we share our finances, but the limitations on his as well seem to make it a fair trade off. I admittedly spend a lot of my time with my husband, but it has nothing to do with beign clingy or needy. Simply put, we're best friends, we like to spend time together. We laugh a lot, share a lto of similar interests, etc. With that said, he has lots of guys nights. I have lots of girls nights. We all spend plenty of time alone. Surrendering independence isn't necessary to get married. And, marriage isn't really a necessity for a good relationship either, as long as you're both on the same page about it.
DH and I aren't jealous people. He looks at women, I look at men. Both of us can be very friendly. Both of us understand where the boundaries of that are, and are careful not to cross it. I have confronted a few women about hitting on my husband before, but not out of jealousy. More of the "you are knowingly, aggressively, hitting on a married man and that is both tacky and inappropriate"
Kids... different story. We don't have any kids, and probably won't for a few more years. It's hard to relate to a lot of my friends that have small children because they don't understand that, no, I don't like babies, and no, that's not going to change just because they're yours. (When it comes time for DH and I to have children, we are adopting "older" children, 4 will probably be the youngest) I'm okay with spending time with my friends and their children, as long as they also understand that there are times that children just aren't appropriate. Girls night = hells no to babies. Unfortunately, I have actually lost several close friendships over this very issue. Especially because most of them seemed to think that as a friend, I was to help change diapers, etc. because, hey, we're hanging out!, right?
12-22-2010, 02:19 PM
Krampus, your poor friend has to contend with feeling fat and unattractive, PLUS pregnancy hormones. I don’t blame her for feeling sad or for wanting her bf to be more sensitive. That’s a delicate situation to be in and it’s hard to gauge how I’d feel about that. probably not great.
However, I have been dating my boyfriend for 6 years (almost), and in that time I have watched friends meet people and get married. Those same friends have then insisted that I’m next, that my lovely boyfriend is bound to propose at any second, that *i’ve talked to him and he thinks he wants to propose in the next yr os so*, that (at various weddings we’ve attended together) I should get to the front of the bouquet toss group so I can be next, etc... only to turn around 3 months later and ask me how, oh how are you 2 so close, so respectful, so loving? what is your secret for a happy relationship and for being SOO in love???
Because guess what? They thought things in their relationship would change once they were married. They thought they were the lucky ones to have found a dude who wanted to pop the question. They thought being a bride and a wife was eeeverything. And they mistakenly thought that I must be feeling something that they got there before me.
Marriage is not for everyone, and while my boyfriend and I have been talking more about making it official for tax and insurance purposes, and I think I might want to eventually marry him, I’m in no hurry. AND I am going to make sure we are on the same page if it happens. :D
:hug: I think you’re brave and unique, which is something to be celebrated.
12-22-2010, 02:35 PM
I would feel absolutely terrible, if I was pregnant and present while my SO was checking out other people. I think her boyfriend was very insensitive and rude. I hope he can tune more into her feelings. Is she's like that all the time where she doesn't like him checking people out, then they need to address those issues. Some people don't mind, others do.
12-24-2010, 01:09 AM
I think that the question of whether or not he's looking at other women (well you said teenage girls and that's a whole other discussion depending on how old he is) isn't really the issue. The question is has his reaction to her changed since she's been pregnant. If he's stopped telling her that he's attracted to her, won't sleep with her, and is checking out other women, then I can definitely see why she would be upset. Look but don't touch if you want as long as you make sure you give your partner your best game.
02-01-2011, 07:02 PM
Honestly, Krampus, you have my ideal relationship. :)