love out loud: taking your relationship (status) for granted
One week ago tonight, I sat down to watch the Australian Open final with my mum (my dad gave it a miss because of his high blood pressure), reverting to my old habits of getting things done with my Mac on my lap and a glass of red in hand. As I was cracking open the bottle, Mum said to me, ‘Nole hasn’t won yet’ (Nole is what we call Novak Djokovic because that’s what Serbs call Novak Djokovic and we are Serbs. My personal trainer is part Croatian so that should give you some idea of how well assimilated I am). I responded, ‘my boyfriend is still alive; I’ve had a win today.’
Julio doesn’t like me writing about him, and because I want to preserve the relationship, I refrain from giving out too many details of our blessed common-law union. So I won’t tell you what was going on. But I will tell you that he was in hospital, and he is fine now. He is playing guitar as I write this, and the only discernible difference between his pre-hospital self and his current self is that his pants are hanging off his derriere as he’s apparently forgotten how to use a belt (or possibly has just lost a lot of weight).
Anyway, a week ago, I wasn’t afraid for his life, but something that should’ve been simple got complicated. Other things in my life got put on hold. I felt scattered and exhausted and I just wanted him home. I learned so much about how different it is for me to love someone now as opposed to how I loved a few years ago (‘I can’t differentiate your pain from my pain’ versus ‘zomg, ur a babe … WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME???!!??!’).
But more than anything else, while Julio was in hospital and I was sadly and slowly trudging through everything else, I was reminded how awesome our relationship is.
/cue eye roll.
I know how disgusting this is sounding so I want to make something really clear before we go on; I’m not just talking about how much we forget to appreciate our partners and relationships. I’m also talking about how much we forget to appreciate not being in relationships.
It often seems that no matter what our relationship status is (or isn’t), many of us are dissatisfied. If you’re in a shit relationship, you wish the person was just a bit different. If you’re not in a relationship, you wish you were. If you’re in a long-term, stable relationship, you wish it was a bit less predictable and a bit more exciting. If you miss the feeling of not knowing if you’re going home alone or not, you wish you were single. And I know that these are simplistic and stupid generalisations, but I also know that these are the ways I’ve felt at various times, when I’ve been in varying stages of relationships or singledom. No one thing is better than another, but the grass often does seem greener.
I love Julio. But our relationship is a non-event. When people ask me how things with him are going, I have nothing to report because things are good and there’s nothing to talk about. Occasionally (or possibly, often), I get drunk and rave about how much I love him and want to one day having one million of his babies and people are rather assured that I’m still mental for him. But for the most (read: sober) part, not too much is going on. This is comfortable and awesome and has enabled me to do so much more with myself because I’m not obsessing over cretins, but as much as I hate to admit it, it does make me take him for granted.
You can’t live in a state of tension, as is often required by exciting (read: tumultuous) relationships, forever. But nor should you just live in comfort, whatever your situation. I fucking loved being single; I knew that at some point, statistically, I would probably pair off and be non-single for the rest of my life, and I wanted to make the most of being single for as long as that was indeed my relationship status. And in retrospect, I’m really glad that I had as much fun as I did (that doesn’t just mean casual sex, though that was awesome too) and didn’t just wish for a boyfriend the entire time.
Whatever you do or don’t have, I can pretty much promise you it will change. So in the meantime, try to love it, because all the options (besides having a d-bag partner) are pretty awesome in their own ways.