Updated: Jan 19, 2021
In a recent Facebook post asking people to express views and opinions on marriage and relationships, my friend Christopher Frary recently said: “I think it's harder in this day and age to have that long term life marriage for a lot of reasons. Fortunately, it's also more acceptable for people to define their marriages the way they want to by defining the foundations of their own relationships—what's acceptable, what you're comfortable with, what your hard lines are, etc. You need communication and respect, and let's throw in some lust and trust too, but I'm not convinced there is one true kind of love or that there is one soulmate out there for everyone.” You have no fucking idea how refreshing it is to hear this from a man. To know—even if he is only my friend—that at least one of them understands this liberating idea, and that there may be hope for the other men out there that haven't gotten it yet, is comforting. I have tried to explain this exact concept to numerous now exes who continually tried to fit me into some kind of 'wife' Jell-o mold that I will just never fit into. Point of fact I make a great lasagna, but I cannot for the life of me make Jell-O, so right there my 'wife' credentials are totally shot.
Far too many of the men I have dated seemed to think that 'settling down' with me had to mean a white picket fence and 2.5 kids. A lot of my male and female friends seem to live under the same delusions, and their relationships also seem to suffer because of that. Personally, I don't even like picket fences, but it seems like this ideal is imposed on me and people in general from so many sides of society that it can be overwhelming and make you not want to date at all. Thankfully I was not raised with this ideal by my parents as many people are. My parents don't even share the same last name, but they are still happy together after forty-one years because they have defined their relationship together, the way they wanted to a long time ago.
Would I like to wake up to the same person every day? I like routine, so honestly: yes. Do I want kids? I'm not sure anymore. Kids are a lot of fun, and generally don't try to decide who you are within the first three minutes of meeting you, but after looking up at the apocalyptical skies over Prince George this summer I'm not sure it is wise for anyone to bring more life to this planet. That is a whole other blog post again, but it makes me fairly certain that the traditional outline of a relationship will be a structure that I am not made for, no matter how many people—men in particular—seem to want to believe otherwise.
I think that by this time in the long history of the world there are so many examples of what a relationship can look like that are available to us through media or in our communities. Just this summer I actually met a very cool couple who make up a band called 'The Grid Pickers' (https://thegridpickers.com/). They are extremely talented and fun to listen to, and you should check them out btw. They travel the festival circuit in the summer on a bus with their five kids playing music. In winter they settle into life on their family farm where they also spend time cutting their albums. If I have to pick a cookie cutter by which to outline my relationship with, then I pick that one, but wouldn't it be nice if everyone could define their own relationship by whatever guidelines fit them and their partner best? Like my parents, I'm pretty sure that's what the Grid Pickers did, and they all seem pretty happy with their decisions. I can't say that for a lot of my friends who are busy trying to groom themselves and their partners for their future unaffordable suburban mansions and minivans, or is it an SUV now?
The real downside to this imposition of the ridiculous 'relationship rules' is that all of these people running around trying to find the kind of relationships that they think society wants them to have is making it hard for those of us who are actually looking for a real-life partner to have a real-life relationship with. If I ever do find someone that I think I really want to settle down with, I'm going to listen to people like Chris Frary, and follow the examples set by people like my parents and the Grid Pickers. In the meantime, I'll continue road tripping with my way-too-adventurous-to-be-17-years-old cat, and writing poetry, because that's a lot more fun than being defined by someone who doesn't even know how to define relationships or themselves.