Honoring Your Unique Relationship When Preparing to Take The Plunge

Src: salainen.tumblr.com

Src: salainen.tumblr.com

‘Tis the season for love and marriage. Not only is it summer—the most popular time of year for weddings—but we’ve also reached that point in our lives where most of our friends have already gotten married and are having kids, or they are planning to. My ex, The Redhead, just got married after less than six months of publicly courting his now-bride on Facebook. An old friend I made traveling in my teens just posted pictures from her wedding to FB. One of my teachers from a recent yoga teacher training also got married yesterday. And sometime this week, friends on an island will enact the elaborate proposal Warrior Poet’s best friend has planned. The celebration of the commitment to love is infectious and has us considering the best way of honoring your unique relationship when preparing to take the plunge.

WP and I were settling in bed for the night and doing a last scroll through our respective FB feeds last night, when he called out, “Why are there so many engagements and weddings happening right now?”

“It’s just that time in life,” I replied, flipping over on my side.

It had been a night of deep conversations, covering political power, spirituality, technology and oneness. After a pregnant pause, I said, “You know I want to get married to you some day,” quietly into the dark, before quickly mumbling about how there was no rush or pressure. I knew he needed to get fully settled in his new job, and I needed to accomplish landmarks with my writing and health first. I took an anxious breath and allowed him to fill in the silence.

And so I bravely and more boldly opened the door to talking about the elephant in the room—or at least the one in my head. After three years of our love and bond growing stronger, deeper and even closer with each passing day, two years of blissfully living together, and the end of our 30s right around the corner, marriage is on the mind. My friends and extended family frequently ask if a wedding is on the horizon. I tell them not to hold their breath, but that we are blissfully in love and are deeply committed to each other and our sacred relationship.

Even as I say these words to the people in my life, even as WP makes tender, beautiful soliloquies about our love and bold declarations about our life together and the promising future, I still find myself curious if growing older together means marriage and kids. It’s not that I need it to happen tomorrow. It’s not that I need it to happen at all, as long as the commitment of our souls is there. Yet even we outside-the-box folks still sometimes find ourselves wishing to celebrate the sacred ties behind conventional rituals.

The conversation that followed after I uttered those last words was beautiful, romantic, enlightening and reassuring. It would take the magic out of those moments to share them fully here. However, I will say that we both truly share the desire to get old together, to lovingly parent (if we so ultimately choose), to grow and learn and enrich ourselves side-by-side.

As such, WP declared that a sacred vow requires uniquely honoring our rare and remarkable bond. Neither the proposal nor the ceremony of commitment is to be taken casually or lightly, nor should it be made saccharine with corny and cliché actions and words. We take time to honor and show gratitude for our relationship regularly, and that reverence for our love needs to be reflected in both a proposal and wedding, WP explained. It needs to be done from the heart in the singular way that only WP (and I) can do it—and that takes some time, imagination and delicate deliberation.

“I only plan to do this once in my life,” said WP. As one of the most momentous decisions and events in life, I completely respect how he wishes to honor it. So I will patiently and happily continue to live our cohabitating couple life as he meditates on exactly when and how to move into the next, big stage of our relationship.

After we sleepily ended the conversation, we held each other and cuddled for a long time before tenderly and passionately making love. That’s what you do with the love of your life after you declare your commitment to spend the rest of your days together. Peaceful sleep soon followed, swiftly and sweetly.

Can Anyone Find Me A Video Game For Cleaning The House?

Src: hellobeautiful.com

Src: hellobeautiful.com

Yesterday I found myself reliving a scenario common to just about any romantic couple living together. It’s been a few years since I’ve been in this position, so while it didn’t come as a complete surprise, I was still unsettled that it would come so soon after we’d moved in. After discussions he instigated that Sunday afternoon would be our day of doing chores and cleaning the house, I found myself left with the Lysol bottle while he disappeared to the computer.

I tried to fight any negative emotions that bubbled up as I scrubbed the kitchen sink, after washing the dishes. He had told me he’d take care of the kitchen if I took care of the other stuff. Yet as soon as we’d finished the lunch he’d doled out, he leaped from the room, down the long hallway, out of sight and out of reach.

I knew what he was up to. Earlier, after we’d come back from the gym, he’d told up me about this character he wanted to fashion in the last epic video game he promised himself he would play before retiring. While we were eating, he had put up the podcast we enjoy listening to—except while the speakers had my rapt attention, the boyfriend was panning through character descriptions from other video games for various attributes and powers that would fit his ultimate warrior. I asked him a question about the podcast, and he had no idea what I was talking about, so immersed in this other world was he.

With a kitchen full of dirty dishes and counters begging to be wiped down, I set to work. “Why do I get grime-scrubbing duty while he gets to play video games,” I asked myself.

“Because he doesn’t notice the grime,” I answered myself. Or after years of bachelorhood, he’s learned to overlook the grime for much longer than I care to.

Src: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Src: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

It’s not as if I hadn’t been forewarned. There are some things that my man is very good at, such as moving heavy things, reaching things at heights I can’t reach and he’s great at retrieving things for me when I am in the middle of something. And he takes care of his laundry, does most of the cooking and usually he will do his share of the dishes—though it may take longer for him to get to them than I’d like. He’s repeatedly told me he’s good at taking directions if I request help, though there are some things he won’t/can’t do well.

Yet as I found myself scrubbing down the bathroom and putting his forgotten laundry into the dryer, I couldn’t help having a smidgen of that old feeling of resentment. I know I shouldn’t. Right now, he’s financially responsible for everything, which I hope to fix very, very soon. Yet I remember old relationships where “We need to clean” always turned into me cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, buying groceries, etc.

I’m doing my best to remind myself that this relationship is very different from ones of my past. We have a loving partnership, in which he is very much invested in all ways. I know he will do his best not to take me for granted, as I will do everything I can to show my appreciation for all he does. Most of all, I have to remember that this wonderful man and I can communicate better than I ever believed possible for me in a romantic relationship. If I need help or need to see some signs he is pitching in elsewhere, I don’t have to be afraid to just ask.

How to Deal With Your Partner’s Ex Who is Still Hanging On

HowToDealWithYourPartnersExWhoIsStillHangingOnFrom the beginning, my boyfriend and I have been very open and honest with one other about our past relationships. He knows about many of the issues that led to the breakups with my biggest exes, and I know his perspective on what some of the biggest factors were that ended his last four-year relationship. He knew that I casually kept in touch with a couple of my exes, considering a couple actual friends, and I found out that occasionally he and his ex had text exchanges. It became apparent that she hadn’t moved on from him, though it’s now been almost two years since they officially broke up. Yet it never really concerned me because she’s never made a presence in my actual life…but that’s about to change. So now I’m left wondering how to deal with your partner’s ex who is still hanging on.

Read more here: http://www.singleswarehouse.co.uk/2013/06/how-to-deal-with-your-partners-ex-who-is-still-hanging-on/

On Singles Warehouse

Judge Judy shares grown-up guidelines for moving in together

src: shutterstock

src: shutterstock

I was lingering after dinner the other night, with Inside Edition in the background (don’t judge—my parents always have it on leftover from watching the news the couple hours before), when I heard that something actually relevant to current circumstances in my own, real, non-celebrity life was about to be discussed. Surprisingly, words of wisdom were about to be imparted by that infamous courtroom reality star, and because it spoke specifically to the next stage of life I was entering, I was curious enough to listen. Yep, when Judge Judy shares grown-up guidelines for moving in together, I’m all ears.

Last month, Judge Judy released her book, What Would Judy Say? A Grown-Up Guide to Living Together With Benefits. In it, she pairs no-nonsense advice with humor about the highs and lows of moving in with someone before marriage. While some of what she shared were common sense tips that were emphasized by my live-in experiences from the past, there were a few that gave me pause.

Man is handing a house key to a womanWhile the judge recognized couples don’t find it romantic to set guidelines, she stressed the importance of setting down rules before moving in. Before you start joining together your lives and possessions even more, it’s important to consider important questions like this biggie: What happens if it doesn’t work out—who stays in the apartment?

“Write it all out, just so that there’s no wiggle room,” she advises on CBS This Morning. “There are courts for people marry and it doesn’t work out, but there are no courts for just living together.”

Judge Judy, who has been married three times, twice to husband Jerry, had three big rules for Inside Edition:

1. Keep your property separate

While Judge Judy believes you should split expenses in half, she has strong feelings about not having joint property. And she doesn’t mean to simply keep your bank accounts separate; she goes one step further: “No joint anything!  No joint dog, no joint time share, no joint car.” A big part of me has to agree.

My college boyfriend, with whom I lived, and I took several of the same courses. To save money, often he would buy books and course readers for a class, and we would just share them. This was all fine and dandy for my bank account at the time, but when we broke up, I was left with only notes from some of my most beloved classes while our books got dusty in his parents’ basement, never to be looked at again.

Yet that’s nothing compared to the next serious boyfriend after him. When I moved out, I left our shared CDs and DVDs, which actually wasn’t that bad since I’d burned most of the CDs before I actually moved out.  I left behind a powerful vacuum cleaner given to me that did so well with animal fur and dust. I also left the Tempur-Pedic California King-Sized mattress and bed that I’d purchased for us primarily because my body was in pain 24/7. The dog he later welcomed into the home after I left wound up chewing up the mattress. Grr!

287119554_d88909ba45_oAnd last, but most important of all—what cut me to the core—was that he wouldn’t let me take our two cats with me, despite the fact that he got them for me and despite the fact that it was I who fed them, cleaned up their mess, played with them, took them to the vet and loved them up more than he ever had and ever would. Thinking it was suitable punishment for me leaving him (and I think also thinking I could never leave the cats behind, thus I could never leave him), my ex refused to let me bring them home with me. Now they spend most of their time half-feral in the basement. My beloved boy has developed an autoimmune disease (like mama, like cat son) that causes his fur to fall off, unless he gets shots.

So yes, I get Judge Judy’s point.

 2. Postpone having kids until you have a wedding ring.

“I’m old fashioned in that respect,” she said. And she will have no disagreement from me. Still not 100 percent that having kids is even in the cards for me, I have no problem waiting until I am absolutely sure that their father is someone who I truly want to be in our lives for the long haul, and I know will be.

AND

3. Set a time limit for how long you’ll live together

This is such a huge one that I find so often overlooked. When so many of people my generation and younger go into living together as a trial run, the attitude seems to be when it stops being fun and starts being miserable more than 75 percent (give or take) of the time, that’s when you book it out the door. So people are living together six months… or six years.

For people who believe in marriage, after an extended period happily living together, the mind starts to roll over that quaint phrase my close friend Sarah gave me for some time in another relationship life, “He has to shit, or get off the pot.”

Src:Engagementrings.lovetoknow.com

Src:Engagementrings.lovetoknow.com

The problem is Judge Judy doesn’t advise how long a time limit you should set. And that totally depends on the individuals that make up the relationship and the circumstances in which they find themselves. I know one ex’s true colors didn’t truly start to come out in full force until about six months after living together, but with others, it may take a year or more, all depending how open, honest and intimate the relationship is in the first place.

So while I personally don’t have answers for that, I would probably say that for me, if I have been with someone for three years, and at least a full year or more of that time has been living together, I would seriously hope my partner knew by then if he wanted to marry me or not—and at my age, that’s being generous, ha.

I’ll give Judge Judy the last word, of course. “”I would say it’s wise—live together, give it an old college try, if it doesn’t work, move on,” she said. “And if it does, get married.”

The Power of Love to Transform an Embittered Heart

brokenheart-300x257Over the years, I’ve learned not to give up on the power of love to transform an embittered heart. I’ve seen too many instances that contradict that timeworn saying: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” The latest example that turned this adage on its head: My former FWB has ditched his list and has fallen fully in love.

Ditch The Dating Checklist?

You know The List. Your potential mate checklist. Chances are, you’ve had one of your own at some point in your dating life. You may very well still have it. If you’re still unclear what I’m talking about, let me give you an example: he must be at least 5’11”, athletic, not bald, never been married, no kids, well-educated, make more money than I do—you get the picture.

Find out how my former FWB finally dumped his cynicism, ditched his dating checklist and found the light of love on the other side in my post on Singles Warehouse:

http://www.singleswarehouse.co.uk/2013/01/the-power-of-love-to-transform-an-embittered-heart/