Monday, December 22, 2008

Togetherness

I read about the study last week finding that watching romantic comedies is bad for your ability to have good romantic relationships (elevated expectations, unreasonable notions about the roles of the sexes, etc.), and then DCup wisely posited that it's all Hugh Grant's fault on her relationship blog, and I got to thinking.

I understand the results of that study, because until I got married (and quite frankly, sometimes I'm not quite sure how I got here) I always felt like the odd man out in not having a strong desire to get married. Before Jason, I'd had boyfriends, and I loved them, but I usually wasn't all that happy being with them. Sometimes it was because we just weren't compatible, but often it was that too much togetherness gets on my nerves. You spend enough time with someone, and that little quirk that you thought was so cute becomes that grating habit that makes you want to stick hot pokers in your eyes. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that.

My mother used to laugh at me for saying this, but I very firmly believed that the ideal relationship, whether a marriage or some other arrangement, would be with someone that lived across the street, or maybe around the corner. So they were close enough that we could spend time together when we wanted to, but we still had our own places to go back to when we wanted time alone. And importantly, the alone time would be the default position. In other words, you got to be by yourself unless you sought out the other person's company.

And the truth is, I'm happily married, but I still think I was right. I love Jason, but particularly now that we're both unemployed and home all the time, all of this togetherness is driving me a bit nuts. Especially because Jason is a "togetherness" kind of guy.

He wants to do everything together. With him, it's all joint trips to the grocery store, to run errands, to pick up and drop off Zeke, to give Zeke a bath, to go for a surf or for a ride, or exercise (we're doing P90X together right now). I, on the other hand, would much rather do these things on my own, only inviting Jason along if I decided I wanted the company. Going to the grocery store is not a two-person job, in my opinion. If he wants to take Zeke to school, I'd just as soon not go -- why sit in traffic?

The problem for me is that I really need time to myself. Time to read, or surf the internet, or just go through the daily activities of life without anyone else's running commentary. And when I don't get that, I get really grumpy.

Like this past weekend. Every once in a while, I get to a point where just being around my husband is annoying. And that's how I was feeling much of Saturday. It took everything I had not to snap or be mean, because God knows I was feeling mean. And I was wishing that I had the ability to live out my pre-marriage fantasy of having separate (but close) living quarters if I had to put up with being married to someone.

I'm feeling a little better today. Last night we had some friends over for the first night of Hannukah, and it was lovely. And this morning we did our workout together and took Zeke to school and all was well. But I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't happy when Jason informed me that his friend David had called and that he was going mountain biking with him.

4 comments:

  1. I feel you. I'm married to someone who likes all the together togetherness. And I get really tired and cranky and just kind of crazy if I don't get enough alone time.

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  2. It's so true! Togetherness has its limits. I think the next two weeks of husband and kids at home will be a challenge.

    And that's me being polite.

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  3. Oh, sorry, I forgot to say thank you for the link!

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  4. YES! I agree. Is it a male thing or did we just marry similar guys? Fred would be so happy if we were together 24/7, and doesn't get it when I want to split up to do errands. I, on the other hand, need a little separateness.

    But I do get lonely more quickly than I used to.

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