"The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand? "

-Captain Jack Sparrow


Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Anniversary

So, as I was typing up my post about homeschooling and how it felt to explain my decision to other parents, I realized that it was a similar experience to when I explain to married people why Jeff and I aren't married.

Which we aren't.

I guess I haven't mentioned that here. In fact, today is the 10 year anniversary of when we first realized that we really were in love. When you don't have a wedding anniversary, you need to think a bit more about when your commitment to each other began.

I love Jeff. He loves me. I feel most like myself when I'm around him. Basically, he makes me more me.

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We plan to be together until one of us kicks it. (But then again, doesn't everybody?)

When I got pregnant and Jeff and I weren't married, my dad was concerned that Jeff might leave me. The funny thing is that my dad and my mom split up after they had been married for many years and had 4 children. Well, that's not actually funny, but the fact that he thought a wedding would secure Jeff to me is.

There is nothing at all that you can do to guarantee that your relationship will last. You can try to be nice to each other, grow with each other, give the other person acceptance and unconditional love. But a signed contract won't protect you from a failed relationship. In fact, it seems that a lot of times, people rely way too much on that paper. They don't think they have to work at it because, well... they're married. What else is there to do?

And besides, what's the other person gonna do? Leave?

So, back to my original point. The similarity between our non-marriage and homeschooling is this… When I list all the reasons for my choices (and believe me, there are many more of them than I'll bore you with here), I worry that I'm offending people that choose differently. When I tell happily married women, with rings on their fingers, that I have no desire to be a wife I feel somewhat uncomfortable. Especially when I'm telling it to women whose identity is heavily wrapped up in being a wife. Those, especially, are the ones that just look at me with a complete lack of understanding.

But, honestly, do you want to know the only difficult thing about our non-marriage, besides making sure the legal stuff is taken care of? (for anyone interested, we are actually married in the common-law sense)

It's the problem of what to call each other.

'Boyfriend' sounds like we're in high school.
'Lover' implies that it's all about sex. (If only)
'Partner' sounds like we're gay.
And when I call him my 'Old Man' people think I'm referring to my dad. (This last one bums me out because I like the relaxed, hippie vibe of Old Man.)

Before a work party, Jeff once claimed that he was going to introduce me in the following manner, "And this is Wendy; she's my 'you know'." He would accompany the 'you know' with a suggestive eye roll in my direction, maybe even a little hip action. But, he never actually did it, which is disappointing because it would have been amusing.

So, Happy Anniversary to you, my boyfriend/old man/lesbian (trapped in a man's body) lover. Thank you for the last 10 years. Here's to many more (she says with wine glass raised high, at 9:30 in the morning).

I love you.

Mwah!

Added note- Here are Joey's thoughts on how great her daddy is... He's nice, cool, intelligent, funny, a good father, did I say cool?

10 comments:

Jeff said...

Drinking wine in the morning? While I'm stuck in retail-support, Black Friday hell? Slaving away at my RSS feeds and other *cough* work-related internet surfing?

Ya know?

Happy anniversary. I love you.

Geo said...

You remind me of this song. Happy anniversary to you.

filambulle said...

It is not better in french. What should I say?
Alain?
mon companion?
mon amoureux?
mon homme?
mon chéri?
mon copain?

he is all of those and much more (sometimes less)

So sometimes I am lame and I say mon mari. Yes, it is a lie. We are not married either. But what if I don't really want to explain my way of life/of thinking to complete strangers?
Anyway sometimes I wish we would marry. I really don't know why, aside for the real simplification for our administrative life!
There is a really beautiful song in french, written by Georges Brassens. It's title is "la non-demande en mariage". I wonder if you could find the text (maybe with english translation) somewhere on the net?
Happy anniversary

Wendy said...

Geo, thanks so much for that link. What a great song.

Filambulle, I think I know most of your options (I knew companion, amoureux and homme from high school french and had to look up copain), but I don’t know chéri. And I’m intrigued. It sounds dirty.

And, yes, I lie too. I call Jeff my husband way too often and for exactly the reason you give... the explanation. I don’t mind explaining to strangers; it’s just that it takes too long and isn’t really worth the time.

It looks like you’re in Switzerland, and, I have to say, I’m totally disappointed that you guys haven’t come up with a better term for our non-married status. You were my last hope. I thought that non-married, but committed partnerships were more common in Europe than in America. I figured you’d have figured out what to call it by now. I guess we’ll struggle on.

Oh, and I did find that song, and the English translation is pretty funny. I got the gist of it, though.

Wendy said...

Ah, mon cheri. Got it. The text came through weird on the email.

Am'n2deep said...

I linked to you from a comment on Geo's blog, and read a few posts. Regardless of what I believe, I admire someone who makes their choices based on what they believe in rather than on what other's might think or do. I am happily married to a public school teacher, and I'm certainly not offended. I would love it if we could all respect each other's choices.

Happy Belated Anniversary!

medea said...

spouse? concubine? There isn´t an option in Spanish either. maybe "compañero sentimental". Which is basically sentimental partner. Not quite romantic...

filambulle said...

I find concubin very amusing, because it contains two dirty words (in french).
Cheri - means darling!
The accent did not work in the mail!

"Companion" is probably one of the best choice. It is derived from the latin and means "the one with whom I share the bread". But I do not find the word quite musical enough for my ears.

And for you cultural background, "mon homme" is the one with the most dirty undertone. And maybe the one I like the most. It is funny to realize that it's exact feminine companion is "ma femme", wich is the word used currently by the men to say "my wife".
I love to study all those contrasts and variations in the vocabulary. I wish I was able to explain them well in english.

I had to look for "gist". :)
And yes, I am in Switzerland. Which means that I could add some italian and german words to this discussion.

Green Kitchen said...

There are so many funny options, but I'd probably just lie a lot, just for simplicity. I didn't want to get married when my peer group started asking me when I was going to get married. They assumed I would because I was pregnant. I wanted to make one last punk rock statement by not getting married, but in the end did it out of laziness. I wanted some sort of legal contract to make things cool if the birth didn't turn out well, and I didn't have the energy to go to a lawyer. It was much easier just to sign a marriage license. The weird thing is that people treat you much more seriously when you are married. I think it also gave my husband a feeling of security. I guess I was a high flight risk before. ;) I say stick with Old Man.

TheModernGoddess said...

Happy Anniversary! Each to their own I say and no explanation needed. It's similar when I say we don't want babies, even though we're married.