Thursday, September 3, 2009


When I was in Richmond, I watched The Hills every day. Despite the vapid personalities and scripted fashionista drama, I found it comforting to join the cast as they cavorted around the streets of Hollywood. It was sunny in their world when it was raining in mine.

I tend to turn to TV shows for comfort like that. When I was single, it was Sex and the City. When Mr. Wonderful was away, it was Entourage (and Adrian’s hair).

The thing I realized since being back, though, is that the low-grade depression I channeled into boob tube watching while he was gone, and again when I was abroad, is still here. It hasn’t reached real fever pitch, but it’s enough to keep me not feeling well. We’re going on 9 months, here. This isn’t good.

When I look inside and yank dusty sheets off the mirrors and furniture, I can see the problem pretty clearly. It was here last year, too, but somehow I covered everything up and was able to forget about it.

However, when you brew daydreams and expectations together for half a year, I guess the steam makes shrouds fall away. Realizing the meal you’ve been craving needs to simmer for a year or 5 more before you can eat makes you cranky and hungry and sad.

And then there are the well-meaning question askers. The ones who want what you want but seem to just make it all harder to handle. My brother asked me if I was engaged when I came home from Paris in April. My brother-in-law asked when he saw me last week. Friends hint in their emails. It’s like everyone is waiting, cheering silently from the sidelines but I can’t seem to win the game for them. Or myself.

Be in the moment. Enjoy the process. Thank your lucky stars that you at least found him. I know. I KNOW. I want to recapture that mindset and just chill out. But I’m 33 and our 2-year anniversary is in November and I really thought going to live with him in the UK would unleash some sort of new understanding about what was important and where we should be heading together.

Instead, I listen tight-lipped as he talks about the changes he wants to make to his house—the one he shares with his roommate. Trying to hold in the sideways comments and sarcastic quips that don’t reflect the person I want to be.

And how can I even demand forward movement when he just got home from months in another country? He still has boxes to unpack and I’m over here wanting a teeny tiny Tiffany’s box. Pretty effed up, huh?

I was talking to a friend about it recently and I asked her how she handled waiting as long as she did for her boyfriend to propose. “I went to grad school,” she said. Maybe it’s time for me to go get that English Lit degree I thought about in my early twenties…


justrun said...

Oh that can be such a tough spot. It's like nothing is wrong, and yet it's not "just right" either. But you do have a benefit in that you have a really nice, loving, mature foundation on which to base your next move.
Selfishly, I also have to thank you for sharing this. It's very reassuring to me to see that these frustrations can come along in any phase or state of life.
Maybe we can both get out of our own way.

Jane Moneypenny said...

I think it depends on your priorities. One of my good friends has dated her bf for EIGHT years before he finally woke up one morning and thought "What am I doing?!" and proposed. But she wasn't in a rush at all (also in grad school). She knew he was the one and he knew she was it and neither were going anywhere. So they were both happy just doing what they were doing.

You're in a great relationship, but if you think you're wasting your time and there's better, then maybe it's time to rethink.

Dingo said...

And why do you have to wait for him to propose? Why can't you propose to him? I'm not being a smart ass, I really want to know why women go through this angst instead of just proposing themselves.

To comment on something Jane Moneypenny said, if you both know (and I mean really KNOW) that you are the one for each other, what's the stress about getting married? People always ask when Mr. Dingo and I are getting married as if our relationship isn't real until we have a piece of paper. But you aren't doing this to make other people feel good and you don't need the validation of the state or the church to approve your relationship. I guess what I'm saying is "chill!" Unless you think his not proposing is saying something about your relationship or his commitment then cross it off the list of things to worry about. Or, as I said earlier in this comment, you can propose.

Mermanda said...

Dingo has a good point. My mom proposed to my dad. But if you wait... you will know that you are both ready. And that's not a bad thing.

Don't feel guilty for the thoughts that are running through your head. It's totally normal and understandable.

Anonymous said...

Anyone out there have a crystal ball, because I could use one right about now, too.

It seems like if we're not waiting for one thing in life, it's something else. I get that all the people asking is heartwarming and painful at the same time. Having to deliver 'bad' news sucks when you know people are pulling for you, but ultimately your responsibility isn't to tell them what they want to hear.

On the other hand, once you decide to you're both in it for life a paper doesn't mean much. Hang in there and know that when your turn comes it will be wonderful, maybe even above average wonderful because of your perseverance.

hugs, K

Mel Heth said...

JustRun - That's a good way of putting it "get out of our own way." I think I somehow block my own path to happiness more than I realize. I'm sorry you're in a similar spot, but happy we can commiserate a bit. :)

Jane - Not to be an ageist, but when did she start dating him? 8 years from teenagehood through the twenties doesn't seem so bad. I think each year carries more weight the older you get. But you're right - I need to just enjoy the moment. I found who I want to be with. I just need to BE with him.

Dingo - I wish it were that easy. I wish I could do that knowing he might say yes. But we have a big sticking point that's preventing the forward movement: KIDS. I say yeay, he says not sure. I can't decide whether it would be easier or harder if we lived together. At least then I'd get to see him every day, but that might make me want a future/family even more.

Mermanda - That's awesome your mom proposed to your dad. And thanks for making me feel like this is normal. :)

Karen - I wish I could give you a hug right now. Thanks for your understanding - I keep forgetting we're in a similar spot. Maybe we need to just go to Vegas and get drunk and dance for a weekend straight and we'll feel better? :P

Alysha said...

When you find the secret let me know. I am only at 14 months and am starting to get cranky! Welcome home! I tried calling the other day and it just rang and rang....

Hannah said...

Sorry for the long reply but I have been in your place before,

Matty and I had only been together for six months when people started to ask when they would see a ring.

I knew I wanted to marry him he knew he wanted to marry me. I trusted that it would happen in time and was not worried about it at all. It was only when people in my family and our friends started to ask questions that I got freaked. I felt like maybe they saw something I didn't. Like maybe I shouldn't be so trustful that he was going to ask me.
So I would probe him about why he hadn't asked me, what was stopping him. And it got me know where but crying in the bathroom or us in a fight.

When I decided that I didn't care anymore, that I just wanted to spend my life with him, married or not,I relaxed. I could stop listening to peoples questions and just enjoyed my time with him.

Three and a half years after we started dating he asked.

It's totally fine to feel how you do. But don't let other peoples ideas of where you should be in your relationship control your heart. He loves you and you love him. And as long as you are truly happy, that's all that matters really.

Jane Moneypenny said...

In response, they're in their late 20s now, so you're right, it may be different older. But I can say, if they were in their 30s, they would be doing the same thing, esp since she's from the South and EVERYONE gets married in their early 20s (well, not me...)

brookem said...

i think you have a right to feel angsty about a lot of this stuff. but what i think is most important, is that you recognize your angst, and then make a good effort to try and just BE in the moment, and move forward. like you said to someone else, you FOUND the man you want forever with. it will all work out then. i know it will. you deserve nothing more!

Anonymous said...

Ah, there's nothing us single people love reading more than posts by people in happy, loving relationships that aren't quite perfect. ;)

Okay, let me just ask you this: will the ring on your finger make you love him more? Do you love him less because a piece of rock attached to a piece of metal isn't there? How much of this is about your feelings for Mr. W, and how much of it is the insane societal pressure to "get hitched".

I say take Dingo's suggestion: ask him. You say in your response "I wish I could do that knowing he might say yes." The SAME RISK EXISTS FOR HIM. One of you has to take the chance, and why shouldn't it be you?

Yes, tough choices may have to be made, like on the kids issue. But that's going to be true in any relationship (yes/no, what number, etc.) You love him. You want to spend the rest of your life with him. Go for it.