A Marriage of Convenience
A couple of weeks ago I took in a Raptors game with Mr. Should-be Right. Since the Raptors weren't doing much and we could only really spend about three minutes marveling at the fact that Juwan Howard is still in the NBA despite being at least 80 years old, we had a lot of time to talk. And, as always, our conversation eventually drifted back to our marriage pact.
We picked a new deadline after which we will marry, discussed the logistics of how it would work, and then we started musing about what our marriage would be like.
What we concluded is that it would probably be pretty fucking great.
The thought process behind this conclusion is pretty meandering, but what it basically boiled down to was the fact that Mr.Should-be Right and I would have a great marriage because we would be more respectful and considerate of one another than other couples we know. We would have lower expectations of each other than most people in relationships do. And the reason all of these things would be true is that we are not in love.
Sounds crazy, right? But think about it for a second. When we’re in romantic relationships, there are expectations that we change to accomodate our partners. Not change who we are necessarily, but at very least, change our behaviour. A certified pussy hound may not have to give up his desire for new coochie when he gets into a relationship, but he damn sure is expected to curb his consumption of it. And that ball-breaking female CEO who kicks ass and takes names at work is likely expected to relax and let her husband call at least some of the shots when she gets home. So yeah – love + committed relationships = change. And changing who we are for the sake of others – especially when we view these changes as being unreciprocated or happening against our will – sometimes leads to resentment. Which leads to shitty behaviour. Which leads to fights and unhappiness.
Now I don’t mean to sound as if I’m idealistic, but the fact of the matter is that, should Mr. SBR and I ever marry, there are certain things we’re just not going to expect of one another. There are certain liberties we’re just not going to feel free to take. Because we’re not in love, I wouldn’t ask more from him than basic respect and consideration; nor would he expect any more than that from me. Without the passion and messiness that comes with love, we’d have a quiet and pleasant life together.
Meanwhile, the Spectacular Asshole and I hit a little bump on the road to reconciliation recently. I’m not going to go into details because a)that’s another post for another day and b)this post is already too long for a Monday but suffice it to say that some shit went down that had each of us wondering whether the other has really changed. We had a fight (during which he administered the most phenomenal hush mama) then a talk, and we seem to be back to our regularly scheduled programming of taking tentative steps back toward one another.
Now what went on between Mr. SA and I was not the worst thing in the world, but if he was a brand-new dude it would have been grounds for immediate dismissal. But for some reason, I’ve been hesitant to let it go. During an epic phone conversation with my girl Nickerz (who has the patience of Job when it comes to all matters max), I realized that the reason I can’t quit Mr. SA just yet has little to do with who he is and much more to do with what he can do for me.
Now before you think that I’ve gone gold-digger on you, let me explain. It may shock you guys to know this given the amazingness that I portray here and across the internets, but there is shit in my life that I need to deal with. The specifics of the shit is basically the only thing in my life I’ve vowed to never ever write about in here, but suffice it to say that it’s seriously serious shit that requires serious attention. And being the lazyass that I am, I put almost no effort into resolving my shit. But it’s starting to catch up to me.
Whatever else we can say about Mr. SA, there is one way in which he stays winning over every man I’ve ever been with: he doesn’t suffer laziness. When I was with him he was on me about fucking everything – from how much of my paycheque I was saving to how often I checked my oil to what time I went to bed last night to when last I had my ends trimmed. The man even offered to grease my scalp because he wasn’t sure I was giving my hair adequate attention. Nothing got past Mr. SA in the past and any attempt to rationalize me not taking care of business was met with strict orders to stop talking and get it done.
In my twenties, this kind of attention to detail was frustrating. I internalized it as control and rebelled against it like the little girl I was. But in my thirties that shit is very appealing. Partly because – now that I’ve become mouthy in my old age – I have very few people in my life who have the balls to tell me to my face that I’m fucking up, but also because I now internalize it not as control, but as care. Because in addition to roughing me into handling my business, he also offers unwavering support. He is the best cheerleader when it comes to handling my business. And I know that if I was with him he wouldn’t allow me to stay complacent about the shit I need to deal with. And that is appealing as hell.
Right now in my life there are men that amuse me. Men that frustrate me and men that baffle me. There are men who elude me and men who give me butterflies. And then there are these two men. Men who I have no real romantic feelings for, but who are good looks for me in practical ways. And since I’ve long since given up on the idea of falling in love again, settling down with someone who makes sense seems like the smart thing to do.
But what do you guys think? Is it okay to be with a man simply because of what he provides for you – be it money, laughter, good sex, inspiration to be better or the ability to just be yourself? Or does the absence of real feelings trump the practicalities? Speak on it in the comments.
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