“You are so smart not to have gotten married.” These are the words I heard from a dear long-time married-with-children friend. Her voice was strong and she sounded resolute; her husband had gotten on her very last nerve. She finished her comment with “and if you blog about it, you can use my real name. I don’t give a *****!”
Well, I am blogging about it, but will refrain from using her name; no real reason to, and I wouldn’t want it to embarrass either of us if in the future we regretted it. Plus, I’m not so sure she really means what she said, though I know she really meant it at that moment.
X and I have been friends for 25 years or so. We have so much in common, though we couldn’t be more different on the subject of marriage. Marriage was always important to her, but not me. In fact, sort of like that Princeton Mom, she believes young women should lock down a life-mate sooner rather than later…like in college. I hate that idea.
Over the years, we’ve shared intimately the ups and downs of the life paths we’ve chosen: she mostly happily married and me mostly happily not married. Neither of us wants the other’s life.
But she’s always complained about her life way more than I do. I’ve never been quite sure how much she means it (or is she just easy to complain), but I do know that her life is waaayy more complicated than mine. She’s gotta manage the household and the lives of her husband, two kids, and a dog…and there’s a lot that goes with that. I manage me and the dog. Much simpler, and not that much goes wrong.
So, back to her “you’re so smart not to have gotten married” comment. I felt for her at that moment but also kinda chuckled to myself. Over the 20+ years she’s been married, she’s been known to profess strong sentiments, sometimes about the kids but usually about the husband. And I chuckled because, perhaps not surprisingly, there’s also the other side where she professes how she can’t imagine her life any other way. She’s never really used those words but I know it to be true.
Over the years, on a regular basis, I have heard from her:
– “I hate that MF.”
– “He’s so sweet, guess what he did.”
– “I’m so glad he’s out. It’s so nice when it’s just me and the kids.”
– “He’s one of the good ones.”
– “Seriously. I’m leaving. I just can’t take him anymore.”
– “We had so much fun last night.”
– “Seriously. I hate him”.
And on and on. I guess she’s probably not that different from most married women…although maybe just a little more honest. I think that’s what marriage is like, isn’t it? It’s complicated. I don’t like complicated stuff. And I do feel smart for knowing that marriage probably wasn’t for me…because it’s not for everybody.
Even though I know X is really pissed at him right now, I give her a month or two before she’s all googly-eyed about him again. And that’s how it should be, if she’s going to stay.