When something is broken…

I have been in a relationship for thirteen years. At twenty nine years of age, that’s pretty amazing. Before you start sending me congratulatory kitten baskets (which I would totally accept, btw) I must stress that as much as I love my partner, it has not been all sunshine and roses. We met when I was only fifteen years old and began dating when I was sixteen. I was young, naive, careless and I fell in love quickly and completely. He had me at hello, etc. 

Throughout our relationship, there have naturally been ups and downs. We have weathered every storm with our hearts full of the knowledge that there is only us for each other, that our bond is too strong to be broken and that we would be incomplete without the other. 

And then last month happened. Out of nowhere, we were left completely shaken, questioning how we became virtual strangers in such a short space of time. I can’t really speak for Jack, but I felt completely detached from him; like I was living with an awkward acquaintance. Nothing has ever upset me more. Without coming across as too self-pitying, it hasn’t been the best few years. I’ve had deaths, the destruction of my parents’ marriage, illness, unemployment… And throughout all of that, Jack was my constant. He was the one thing I knew I could cling to, like a rock in the middle of a stormy ocean. I felt I didn’t know how to exist outside of our relationship, so the dawning realisation that we were falling apart was just too much to handle.

While I tried to talk it out, Jack completely shut down. He couldn’t (or wouldn’t) speak to me, and when he did, it wasn’t exactly reassuring. I became more needy, constantly needing his reassurance that the last thirteen years hadn’t been a complete waste. Jack was tired. Tired from his job, his PhD thesis, and from me. I was hurt. I felt alone and unwanted. I felt pathetic. The strong, confident, feisty woman had been reduced to a whining, pitiful mess. 

I could blame a number of factors: I was on my summer holidays from work, which are far too long and always leave me unfulfilled and therefore bored. Jack’s job requires him to work long hours. We moved into a house that needed extensive refurbishment and we had workmen in most days till late, as well as our well-meaning friends. I could blame all of those things…but it was us. We were angry with each other. We weren’t laughing anymore. We weren’t even being nice to each other. It felt over. It felt broken. 

So did we break up? 

Hell nah. 

I mean sure, I could have bought a Taylor Swift album, a litre of icecream and a dartboard with Jack’s face on it, but actually making an effort seemed like an imminently less destructive idea. The bottom line is, we love each other. We love each other a great deal. We have grown up together and evolved together. We are an intrinsic part of the other and I don’t want to live a life that doesn’t involve Jack. 

We’re working on our issues. Yes, it involves actually trying (you know, the part they don’t show you in a Disney movie). I’m trying to be less of a pain in the ass, and he’s trying to be less of a pain in the ass. Richard Curtis-take notes. This is real life love. Relationships are really difficult at times…you know those moments: you’re sitting on the toilet and you realise that they have left a centimetre squared of toilet paper and you imagine your gleeful expression as you pour tobasco into their coffee. Those moments are hard. At other times, being in love makes you feel like the luckiest person in the world. Those moments fill you with a feeling akin to inebriation (which I happen to like). I don’t want to let go of that. Neither does he. 

We’re going really well at the moment. That’ll last until I accidentally leave my hot straightening iron on his favourite shirt (again) or until he forgets to pick me up after work (again). And then we’ll argue. But we’ll always come back to the same realisation: we love each other. And that’s enough. 

Advertisements

The Silliest Arguments I’ve Had With My Partner

Why, hello there. Fancy meeting you here. Is that a new shirt? How’s your significant other/family pet? Okay, now that the awkward small talk is out of the way, let’s get cracking!

I recently read the most hilarious thread on Reddit about the silliest arguments couples have had with their other halves. It got me thinking about my lovely other half, and our famously petty arguments. So here, for your viewing (er, reading?) pleasure, are the stupidest arguments that we’ve had (or continually have) throughout our relationship:

DISCLAIMER: 90% of the time, Jack and I are normal people who get on better than 1980’s Oprah and a Twinkie. Sometimes we disagree. And it’s ridiculous. Prepare to judge us.

1.I was once watching a programme about a man with a pet hippopotamus. The man fed the hippo litres of coffee everyday. Jack laughed and said ‘she reminds me of you’. He meant because she’s seriously addicted to coffee but since I had a bigger case of PMS than Bill O’ Reilly on his own show, I freaked out because I basically thought he was calling me a hippo. There was a lot of tearful ‘WHY DON’T I JUST GO LIVE IN THE RIVER’s before I finally calmed down and realised that meh, hippos are awesome anyway.

 

2.Conversely, I once called him ‘my little badger’ on account of his greying hair, which FYI, I LOVE. Turns out I meant Silver Fox. Fox, badger…what’s the real difference amirite?! *Nervous laugh*

3.I had a dream that he cheated on me with Rita Ora and honestly I couldn’t even look at him the next day. Now when I see her on TV, I actively hiss.

4.I woke him up from a dream where he was chopping wood with Steve Guttenberg and it was ‘the best dream ever’ and I ‘ruined it.’ How do I even apologise for that?!

5.He threw my stuffed owl toy in an old box and he got dirty. Hooty was never quite the same after that. *stares sadly into the distance*

6.I beat him at chess and just before I checkmated his ass, he flipped the board over. He says he “fell” but who karate chops a chess board as they’re falling?!

7.I make him apologise to our pets when he gets snarky with them. The dog knows when he’s being sarcastic.

8.When we play video games and he kills any animals. MONSTER.

9.When I don’t listen. Here’s an example:

Jack: Love, did you hear Leonard Nimoy died?

Me: Uh-huh.

*2 hours later*

Me: Oh no! Leonard Nimoy died!

Cue much disgruntled tutting and eye rolling. 

10. When he throws his clothes on the floor. He has a wardrobe and a laundry basket RIGHT THERE but oh no, the floor seems as good a place as any for his clothes. *Deep breath from inhaler*

angry dr. cox scrubs gif

11. When he farts and deliberately closes all the windows in the car, or wafts the smell towards my unsuspecting and delicate nose. Animal.

12. When he “honks” my boobs. IT HURTS.

13. His procrastination is so bad that he makes Hamlet look like John McClane. I’ve forgiven him because he has just inspired me to write the greatest screenplay of all time, which may or may not involve a Shakespearean-Die Hard crossover. *Scribbles furiously on notepad*

14. When it’s his turn to cook, I can see him in the kitchen manically over-seasoning everything. I don’t want to sound high maintenance so I tentatively ask ‘um, are you sure the steaks need that much salt and pepper?’ and he’ll tell me he used a ‘pinch’ even though I’ve seen him twist the pepper grinder like a genius kid on TV works a Rubik’s Cube.

 

 

15. I have a habit of unintentionally figuring out the endings of mystery/horror films. I say something like ‘I’ve got it now. I know who killed the gardener!’ For about twenty seconds, there’ll be a silence and then an exasperated sigh as he says ‘fiiiine. Who did it?’ I explain that it was clearly the chimney sweep, because he suddenly got that fancy new rake and sweeping brush set. Obvs.

16. I’m almost always on the other line when he’s trying to call me for something important. In my defence, hearing my friend’s dog howl the theme tune to Baywatch is pretty important. Jack can pull himself out of a car wreckage. HE HAS TWO HANDS. Sheesh.

17. Whether cheese is the ambrosia of the gods or a curdled block of unspeakable malevolence.

18. We in Ireland have several words for a hair tie or thin scrunchie. I say ‘bobble’, he says ‘bobbin’. BOBBLE/BOBBIN, LET’S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF!

19. He wants to put items of clothing on the cat. The cat (and her very over-protective mother) don’t approve.

CVA11lYWIAEPk0g

Yes, that’s my cat. In a fez. She also has a duffel coat.

20. I like to drink pint glasses of milk, which he thinks is weird. He eats his pasta and sauce straight from the saucepan with no plate, but sure, I’m the weird one. At least I’m weird with strong bones. So there. 

I wish I could say this is it, but there’s so many more. The important thing is that he is amazing and we love each other and CLOTHES DO NOT BELONG ON THE FLOOR….I mean, you know….true love.

Do you have any petty arguments you’d like to share? Unload in the comments!

 

An Engagement Ring Doesn’t Mean Someone Owns Me

As some of you may know, I recently became engaged. While I’m very excited by the prospect of marrying the man my mother bribed I love, I must say that my relationship hasn’t really changed in any significant way. My boyfriend and I met when I was fifteen, and started a relationship soon after my sixteenth birthday. We have lived together for ten years. We have been talking about marriage and babies and station wagons for a long time now. We even have a little pet family together. So no, engagement didn’t change a whole lot. It just made our decision to marry ‘official’, I suppose. You might wonder what the biggest difference between pre-engagement and post-engagement me is; well, the answer is simple: A ring.

Wait...that's an impractical metal glove...which also would have been okay

Wait…that’s an impractical metal glove…which also would have been okay

For oft when on my couch I lie, in vacant or in pensive mood, I often think about what my engagement ring actually means. (Yes, half of that sentence plagiarises Wordsworth, guess which half?) When we got engaged, there was no real fanfare. For a few months beforehand, we had discussed what we both wanted in a wedding ceremony, even discussing venues. When I told my sister this, she got excited. She stated that this meant we were engaged, I wasn’t so sure. Yes, we had talked marriage, and even set a preliminary date but my partner hadn’t actually proposed. And there was no ring. When I pointed this out to my sister, she laughed.

‘Since when do you care about stuff like that?’ she asked me, bemused. She was right to be confused. I have never been a big fan of grand romantic gestures nor have I ever been a fan of (ladies, please forgive me for this) jewellery. I never wear any, despite making a valiant effort during my teen years in order to fit in with my decidedly stylish peers. I shun all types of bejewelled décor, especially rings. I have always found them uncomfortable and constrictive.

I decided to talk to my partner about it all. Not wanting to complicate things any more than they already were, I asked him straight: ‘are we getting married?’

‘Yes, of course,’ was his answer.

‘Then, are we engaged?’  I felt like a fifteen year old girl asking her date if they were going steady. My boyfriend’s response surprised me. He shook his head.

‘Well, no, not yet because I haven’t gotten you a ring. So it’s probably going to take a while because I’m saving up.’

‘Saving up?’ I was confused. My boyfriend is well aware of my ambiguous feelings towards rings. ‘Why do you need to save up?’

‘Well, everyone knows you have to buy a girl a diamond and that you have to spend three months wages on it.’ I have known Jack a long time, and I’ll bet that this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard him say.  I proceeded to launch into a big speech about how I didn’t care if I had to wear an onion ring, that I’m not that kind of girl and that I was disappointed that he would think that I was. I told him that I wasn’t even sure I wanted a ring at all. He remained calm, as usual, and responded:

‘I don’t want you to have any regrets. It’s so easy to say that you don’t want a ring because you think that it’s the “right” thing to say, but it’s okay to want a ring. It doesn’t make you materialistic.’ Then he asked me to think about it.

And I did.  I realised that Jack is a proud person. The macho part of him wanted to give me an expensive ring because he wanted to feel worthy. He erroneously assumed that I would want some beautiful bling to show off. And I understood that, even if I didn’t agree with it. Begrudgingly, I realised that deep down, I probably did want a ring, as much as I hated to admit it at first. I don’t call myself a feminist. I call myself an egalitarian. Our relationship has always reflected this. I have been told by friends and family that I have a “role” to fulfil as a woman. I have seen the shock on relatives’ faces when I tell them that I do not do my boyfriend’s laundry, nor do I do all the cooking. I have never believed that, as a woman, I have a pre-defined role in our relationship. Likewise, I don’t believe that Jack does. We are equal partners. So how could the strong, independent side of me be reconciled with the side of me that wanted to wear an engagement ring, essentially branding me as someone else’s betrothed? I remembered the words in a great poem, Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers, by Adrienne Rich:

The Massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band/sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie/Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.

Is that what engagement and wedding rings symbolise? Confinement? Submission? I loathed that thought.

I thought about the history of the engagement ring, and its traditional significance. I wanted to know why on earth my usually level-headed boyfriend would think I desire an expensive diamond. My initial research didn’t do much to assuage my doubts. Going back as far as Roman times (and possibly even earlier), the ring was seen as signifying the binding legal agreement of the male’s ownership of the woman. Hundreds of years later, the engagement ring also becomes something akin to insurance for an aristocratic bride to be. If an engagement broke, the female would be missing out on assured financial security for life, so she was allowed to keep the valuable piece of jewellery. Of course, I know that none of this is applicable or even relevant to my life. Our engagement would not be a business deal. There would be no dowry or contracts drawn up. If I was to wear a ring, it would have to symbolise something far more romantic than insurance or ownership. My dad can keep his livestock.

ah

So what else could an engagement ring symbolise? Yes, it demonstrates one’s intention to marry. But is there a deeper meaning that goes beyond practicality? There were some romantic accounts on the engagement ring’s history, such as why it is worn on the left ring finger (due to the supposed ancient belief that a vein in the left finger, the so-called vena amoris, connected directly to the heart) although it was hard to distinguish which of these accounts were actually factual.  Of course the engagement ring wasn’t always made from a valuable metal and did have symbolic meaning throughout antiquity and beyond.  So that helps.

I was left wondering why I really wanted to wear one, especially since I have never worn a ring in my entire life. You might think I was over-thinking this, and you’d be right. I was. But an engagement ring is an important purchase. I needed to be sure about it. I wanted to be able to look at it without seeing it as something that compromised my independence.

And then something bizarre happened. I worked on a staff of predominantly female teachers. All of a sudden, five of them got engaged. For weeks, there was constant squealing and fawning in the staff room and I have to admit, it was contagious. My colleagues’ rings were beautiful. I started to imagine what it would be like to wear something so attractive. Then, one evening, one of my newly engaged colleagues had stayed behind to correct homework with me. Admiring her ring for the hundredth time, I asked her what the ring meant to her. It was certainly unusual, but stunning.  I know it’s a personal question, but I really wanted to know. She told me that the ring hadn’t been very expensive, but that her fiancé had seen it a long time ago, in an antique store and had always imagined giving it to someone as an engagement ring one day. She said that he kept it through all the difficult times in his life, firmly believing that someday, all would be okay, as long as the right person was wearing that ring. To her, it symbolised their search for each other. She felt that she had been moving towards him, and that ring, all her life. She finished by saying ‘it was mine before I even knew him.’ Granted, to some of you, that’s cheese on toast with a side of jazz hands, but she told it with such sincerity and conviction, that I couldn’t help but be touched. I realised that I had been judgemental.

I suddenly saw engagement rings in a whole different light. They didn’t have to be archaic symbols of dominance or ownership. And even if some girls derive a feeling of security from that, who am I to judge?

 I realised that every ring has a different story, a different meaning, for every wearer. It is up to you to choose that meaning.

I know that this might seem obvious to everyone, but I had never really put much thought into engagement rings before and had always assumed that they were merely superficial. I bounced in the door that evening to my boyfriend, proclaiming that I was the luckiest person in the world to have someone who put up with my constant analysing and over-thinking, and that I would be grateful for whatever ring he chose. But we had to be sensible. We aren’t financially secure. For me, it would have been madness to spend thousands on a ring when I would be just as happy with one that didn’t make my finger go green. Jack took a little convincing. He told me he had read forums where women had said things like ‘I would dump a guy if he gave me less than a carat’ or ‘I would be embarrassed to wear a cheap ring.’ We both sat down, as he showed me questions on wedding forums from guys that were along the lines of ‘I only have $3000 to spend, is that enough?’ I have never seen Jack be influenced by societal pressure (the guy dances, in public, to The Spice Girls) but he seemed particularly stressed out.

‘Diamonds are expensive,’ he sighed, as I tried to assure him that I didn’t want a diamond. We argued back and forth. He told me that ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’, I told him that he’d obviously never tried chocolate. He pointed out that in many episodes of my guilty pleasure, trash TV show, The Real Housewives of Atlanta; I had witnessed the women brag about their expensive diamond rings. Yes Jack, I base all my life expectations on contrived and structured reality TV *rolls eyes forever*

I explained that through my extensive (one hour) research (and that was in between episodes of The Big Bang Theory) that the first recorded person to give a diamond engagement ring to his betrothed was Archduke Maximillian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy, but that the modern usage of the diamond as the most popular engagement stone seems to stem from a very shrewd DeBeers’ marketing campaign in the first half of the twentieth century, when they promoted the slogan ‘diamonds are forever.’ Diamonds are nice, but I didn’t want a diamond engagement ring. Given our financial status, it made no sense to spend money on something I don’t feel passionate about. If you genuinely love diamonds, and jewellery, that’s another matter altogether. He worried about the constant judgement I would face from people when they asked to see my ring. I told him that the most important thing was that the ring meant something personal to us, and that I really don’t mind if other people don’t like it. I don’t even mean that in a defensive way, everyone has different opinions and I respect that. Maybe just don’t say it out loud though.

ac

We chose the ring together. If I’m being completely honest (and I always am with you guys), I feel like the whole furore over the ring made the actual engagement slightly anti-climactic. We over-thought it: me, because I worried about what a ring ultimately symbolised and Jack because he thought that it had to be diamond and platinum and unicorn ivory horn. We did face a lot of questions from relatives about the ring, especially when they realised that it wasn’t going to be diamond. When we finally picked one out, it was weeks later. I sometimes wonder if I should have just kept my mouth shut and went along with Jack, but I know that we’d probably be living in a tenement and sharing a bathroom with a family of ten (at least, that’s what’s happening in my imagination). I’m grateful to have someone who wants the best for me, and so I wanted to alleviate that pressure that society had put on him, as a man, to provide something that was, at that time, unobtainable. I wasn’t making a sacrifice, or pretending that I didn’t want an expensive diamond for his benefit. I genuinely didn’t. In the end, we let the ring overshadow the most important fact of all: that someday, soon, we will be man and wife and he has to put up with me singing in the car for all eternity.

So why have I written this? Well, I suppose I thought of all the Jacks out there who are panicking and conducting internet research on the possibility of selling their eyeballs to afford a pricy ring and I felt bad for them. Is it true that, to paraphrase the wise (rolling eyes) Kim Zolciak, the ring doesn’t mean a thing? Not entirely. It should mean something, otherwise why wear it? Rings have long been a symbol of eternal love, fidelity, trust, strength…but the truth is, they can symbolise whatever you want them to. Does a sparkly diamond have to be the only symbol significant enough to demonstrate your eternal bond to one another? Why don’t you ask Kim Kardashian’s ex-husband, Kris Humphries? (Yep, I went there.) He bought Kim a diamond ring that set him back TWO MILLION DOLLARS. And their marriage? It lasted 72 days. I’ve had pen pals that I’ve committed to for longer than that. You shouldn’t have to spend thousands on a ring to prove to someone that you love them, and they shouldn’t expect you to. I think it’s important that I add: if you both want to spend thousands on a diamond and an expensive ring means something to both of you, then I’m not going to judge; that’s your business. I know plenty of women whose rings are worth more than my car (though that’s not saying much) and I don’t begrudge them. If it makes them happy, then where’s the harm? It goes both ways, too. I would hate for anyone to think that my decision to wear a ring somehow makes me less of an independent and progressive woman. For me, it symbolises many things. Submission is not one of those things.

So what about my ring? I love it. I love it because Jack gave it to me. I love it because it reminds me that I’m marrying him. I love it because I will wear it for the rest of my life. And most of all, I love it because it reminds me that even when we didn’t have much; we never for a second doubted our commitment to each other.

Being in a Long-Term Relationship 

I have been in a relationship for twelve years. Yes, someone has put up with me for twelve long years. Although there have been times that my boyfriend and I have wanted to kick each other in the shins, we generally are a content and functioning couple. Just don’t put one slice of pizza in front of us, because it won’t end well.



Source

During these past twelve years, I’ve learned a lot of things: don’t ever shave your eyebrows, the capital of Australia is Canberra and-

Oh right, I was talking about my relationship.

Yeah, I learned some stuff about relationships too. Here it is:

1. Small Things Become Big Things

If you’d have told me at the start of our relationship that we would one day be arguing about who’s turn it is to make the tea, I’d have probably scoffed and arrogantly reassured myself that we would never become that couple. The thing is, when you both get used to each other, and I mean, really used to each other, you do start to argue about seemingly trivial matters. Some of our most ridiculous arguments have included:

  • Teabags: is it ever okay to put them in the sink?
  • The dog knows when you’re lying to her!
  • Those are my socks!
  • Pick up the damn towel!
  • HOW CAN A THIMBLE OWN A HOTEL?!



I’ve, er, never done this…

Source

The important thing is to remember that these are inconsequential matters and you really do love each other and all that other crap.

2. You Stop Trying To Impress Each Other

The start of a relationship is a lot of fun; you can’t keep your hands off each other and you’re yet to find out about his weird Barry Manilow obsession *shudder*. It’s also a time fraught with nerves and attempts to impress each other. After twelve years, I’m completely comfortable around Jack. I don’t feel the need to wear lots of makeup or even brush my hair. Okay, so I brush my hair…sometimes…on Sundays. 



Source

3. You Exist in Your Own Little World

Sometimes Jack and I will be around a family member or a friend, and this will happen:

Jack: Will you get the…?

Me: Yeah, but should I make the…?

Jack: That’d be nice. I’ll get a…

Me: Perfect, thanks.

My sister: WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TWO TALKING ABOUT?!

Only we know. And possibly dolphins. 



Source

4. The Small Gestures Become Better Than The Big Ones

Jack doesn’t often buy me flowers. Instead, he makes me a cup of tea (despite our arguments) without me asking on a cold day, he has dinner on the table when I come home from work, and he wraps me in blanket when I’m cold. Sometimes he buys me flowers but I honestly prefer the little gestures; they’re much more thoughtful and considerate. Although I wouldn’t say no to a Mercedes.



Source

5. Their Annoying Habits Become Unbearable 

I love Jack. I do. Really. But when he mumbles monosyllables at me when I ask him a question I WANT TO THROW CACTII AT HIM. *calms down* I’m good, I’m okay. 

Likewise, I annoy him. But everyone sounds loud when chewing steak, right? RIGHT? 



Source

6. You Get into a Comfortable Routine

I always sleep on the right side of the bed. I sit on the right side of the coach. I have my mug, he has his mug:



It’s very amoosing…

He knows that I like my tea milky and I know that he likes his strong (enough with the tea, geeze). Some people might think we’re like a boring old couple, and those people would be right. We are. Prune juice shots for everyone.

7. You Learn to Compromise 

Lol, not really guys. You always give in.



Source

Psst! Cupid or Cats is a finalist in the Most Humous category in the 2015 Bloggies. I don’t know how that happened either. If you would like to vote for me, you can click on the link below. It’s very simple and I would really appreciate it. If you’ve already voted, thank you so much. There’s a messenger pigeon on its way to you with your reward. Probably.

2015 Weblog Awards

The Reality of Living with Your Partner

‘Why do you seem incapable of picking up the towel after your shower?’ I bend down and grab a damp towel from the floor of our bathroom, wincing as a pain shoots up my spine. I feel angry. I bunch up the towel and fling it across the landing, feeling tears spring in my eyes. This is stupid I tell myself, frantically running the back of my hand across my face. It’s just a towel. …..even if you spent all of your day off meticulously cleaning the entire house. I’m tired. I’m tired and sore from a long day at work and I don’t want to be picking up towels for other people.
My boyfriend doesn’t respond. He is in his office, working hard on his doctoral thesis and probably tutting at my nagging. He is tired too. I notice that his clothes are strewn across the landing and I feel like screaming. My mind goes back ten years, to our first night living together.

We had just come from the Irish version of prom. We were moving into a small house in Cork city, with two other people, to attend university together. We lay on a tiny single bed, in a grotty room, giddy and in love. We had looked forward to this moment for two years. We had lived hundreds of kilometres apart and now, finally, we would never be apart again. My head lay on his chest, and I listened to his heart beat. It was slow. He played with my hair.
‘I love you.’
‘I love you too.’
It felt simple. It was simple.
‘What do you think this will be like?’ he asked.
‘Perfect,’ I answered, without needing to think about it. ‘It will be perfect.’

And for a while, it came pretty close. Even though we had separate rooms, we couldn’t stand spending a night apart. We went to college and we watched TV with our roommates in the evening. We were young and in love and that seemed to be enough.

IMG_5511

After a year, we moved to a different house, alone for the first time in our lives. Like any couple, we argued. We argued about who’s turn it was to do the dishes, who should make dinner and whether to turn the heating on or not (I get cold easily, Jack does not). Sometimes these arguments descended into bitter fighting. Although we have never once in our twelve years together gone to sleep while still arguing, we have had some terrible verbal fights that neither of us are proud of.

After living together for a few years, I felt disillusioned. This hadn’t been part of the plan. When did Belle or Snow White have to worry about rent or bills or whether their other halves picked up their underwear off the floor? Of course I knew that life isn’t a fairytale, but I didn’t realise just how monotonous and frustrating living with the supposed love of your life could become. And I hated myself for feeling like that. I knew I loved Jack. I knew someday I wanted to marry him. I also knew that not living with him would feel infinitely worse for me. But knowing all of this didn’t stop the arguments.

And we still argue. We still argue over the dishes, the dinner, the heating. Jack leaves his clothes and towels strewn about and I inevitably end up picking them up for him. I leave food lying about in the kitchen and he ends up putting it back in the cupboards. Some days, we get angry and frustrated with one another and we talk it out. We’ve become much better at communicating with one another without the need for pettiness or passive aggressiveness. I’ve come to accept that this is what a real relationship is like. Most days, we are wonderful together. We laugh, we give each other space, we are affectionate and considerate. Some days we argue. Some days, we are selfish and irritable. I’ve learned that this is normal. We argue because we care. When we stop arguing, we stop caring.

Living with someone is tough. That’s something you don’t learn from Disney movies or romance novels. You are allowing someone to see you in a way that nobody outside your immediate family ever really has. I have flaws; I can be demanding, I’m overly-sensitive and I’m needy. I can also be ridiculously irrational. *cough* Like when we fight and I tell him to get out and then two second later, I’m all:

IMG_5512-0
Source
*cough*

Jack has seen and dealt with these unattractive qualities first-hand. He has been patient, loving and kind to me. Although we’re not perfect, we seem to be right for each other. We fit. I would take a million arguments if it means that I’m lucky enough to have found the right person. It’s not always a bed of roses, but when it is, it makes everything else worthwhile:

IMG_5509

So living with Jack has been challenging. There are some days where I honestly have wanted to scream at him until I’m hoarse. Then there are days when I’ve come home from work, dejected and stressed, and all that I’ve needed is a cuddle and a cup of tea. I don’t even need to ask and Jack will fetch me a blanket and a hot water bottle and order me to lie on the sofa. We have our challenges, but we face them together. We haven’t idealised the future; we know that it will be tough at times. We will have to work together and to make compromises. We will fight, and we will hurt each other, but we will always come back and say we’re sorry.

This post has been partly inspired by one of my favourite poems by the wonderful Adrienne Rich called Living in Sin. The poem deals with the reality of living with a partner, as opposed to the idealised version we are often presented with in fiction. Have a read:

She had thought the studio would keep itself;
no dust upon the furniture of love.
Half heresy, to wish the taps less vocal,
the panes relieved of grime. A plate of pears,
a piano with a Persian shawl, a cat
stalking the picturesque amusing mouse
had risen at his urging.
Not that at five each separate stair would writhe
under the milkman’s tramp; that morning light
so coldly would delineate the scraps
of last night’s cheese and three sepulchral bottles;
that on the kitchen shelf among the saucers
a pair of beetle-eyes would fix her own—
envoy from some village in the moldings . . .
Meanwhile, he, with a yawn,
sounded a dozen notes upon the keyboard,
declared it out of tune, shrugged at the mirror,
rubbed at his beard, went out for cigarettes;
while she, jeered by the minor demons,
pulled back the sheets and made the bed and found
a towel to dust the table-top,
and let the coffee-pot boil over on the stove.
By evening she was back in love again,
though not so wholly but throughout the night
she woke sometimes to feel the daylight coming
like a relentless milkman up the stairs.

If anyone has some tips on how not to murder your partner, leave them in the comments!

This is the kind of relationship we have…part deux

Yesterday, I bought myself a lot of some chocolate. Not just any chocolate mind you, Galaxy chocolate. Galaxy is so fancy and tasty that before I eat it, I pour it a glass of wine and light some candles. You can’t just scoff this chocolate, you have to be nice to it.

I decided to save it for Saturday night, where I was going to sit femininely cross legged and eat each square one by one, all sexy like. LOL, joke, this was totally the plan:

IMG_4330.JPG
Source

Instead, something terrible happened. Now readers, I must prepare you. You won’t want to see chocolate like this but it’s necessary for my story. I got up in the morning and found my chocolate like this:

IMG_4329.JPG

Turns out, Jack had decided that it was far too much for one person and had taken half of it. I can’t describe the feeling of betrayal that swept through me. I decided to deal with the thievery in the only way I know how: sending Jack a barrage of angry owl memes.

IMG_4331.JPG
Source

IMG_4332.JPG
Source

IMG_4333.JPG
Source

IMG_4334.JPG
http://cheezburger.com/6426246400

IMG_4335.JPG
Source

Naturally, I expected Jack to be terrified. You know, because…angry owls. Instead, he sent me this:

“This is what I’m imagining you doing right now Jane”:

Asshat.

My boyfriend is also weird

“Oh dear God, what’s that?!”

“Hmm?”

“Hon, there’s something…THERE’S SOMETHING CRAWLING ON MY FRICKIN’ AAAARRRM!”

“Eh?”

“THERE’S SOMETHING FLYING ABOVE MY HEEEAAADD!”

“It’s just a moth, Jane. I saw it before I turned off the light.”

“A moth? What if he, I don’t know, hatches eggs in my hair? Or falls into my mouth?”

“What if he hatches eggs? There’s so much wrong with that sentence I don’t know where to start.”

“I’m serious Jack. I won’t be able to
sleep now. What if he is crawling on the ceiling and falls on me? Eurgh, I can hear him flapping around the room.”

“Hey, you remember the moths they took out of the corpses in The Silence of the Lambs?

“Really Jack? REALLY? That’s what your going to talk about? Why aren’t you defending my honour against this blatant home invasion?”

“Just do what you do with the spiders.”

“Scream uncontrollably and run through the nearest window?”

“No. You give him a name to make him less scary.”

“Huh. That’s not a bad idea. But what do you call a moth?”

“You obviously call a moth Ti-MOTH-y. Timothy. Get it? Hahaha.
Man, I’m funny…Jane?….Jane?”

“Sorry, I’m kind of in awe of you right now.”

The Hard Times

It’s Christmas Day 2010. Jack and I are living in the home my mother grew up in. It is -10 degrees Celsius outside. My parents have just gone through the world’s worst breakup and it’s the first Christmas my family won’t be celebrating together. My dog of fourteen years has died. I’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy. A family member has been diagnosed with cancer. We’re both completely broke, and in debt, from college loans. We can’t afford heating so we’re wearing layers of clothing.

I have been having seizures. I can’t travel to see anyone because the roads are too icy. Jack and I couldn’t afford gifts for each other so we make each other breakfast: a single piece of toast and jam. We’ve been living on jam for weeks. We know we could reach out to our families for help, but we’re too proud. We are both snowed under with college assignments. I am training to be a teacher, and therefore have no time for a part time job. Jack is doing a full time PhD. The stress is having a huge effect on our relationship. We argue all day long.

And then, on Christmas Day 2010, our water froze. We had no water, all the shops were closed, and we had no way to travel for it. We couldn’t cook, clean or wash.

I don’t actually remember much of that day, but to say it was miserable is an understatement. I lay in bed that night, wearing mittens and my coat, and began to cry. Jack put his arms around me and just let me cry in silence.

After I had begun to calm a little bit, he kissed my forehead. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that this will calm any woman.

“We have each other.” His voice cut through the silence, the darkness, the cold air.

“We have each other.” He repeated it.

“We have each other.” He said it again and again, while I nuzzled my face into his shoulder, in an attempt to absorb some of his strength.

A year later, I had a job. Jack was able to get some work experience. Our lives improved hugely, as did our financial status. I will, however, never forget that dark day, feeling utterly hopeless and lost.

About a month ago, I was making a four hour drive to attend a party with my friends. A song came on the radio. I had heard the song before, but I’d never really listened to it because it’s not exactly my style of music.

Have you ever had a moment where you think “this song was written for me”? The words were so apt that tears began flowing down my face. I smiled through my tears, as I thought of our struggles and how we has stuck together threw those dog days.

Here is a link to the song, “For the First Time” by Irish band The Script.

And here are the lyrics:

“For The First Time”

She’s all laid up in bed with a broken heart,
While I’m drinking jack all alone in my local bar,
And we don’t know how,
How we got into this mad situation,
Only doing things out of frustration

Trying to make it work but man these times are hard,

She needs me now but I can’t seem to find the time,
I’ve got a new job now on the unemployment line,
And we don’t know how,
How we got into this mess
Is it a God’s test?
Someone help us ’cause we’re doing our best,

Trying to make it work but man these times are hard

But we’re gonna start by
Drinking old cheap bottles of wine,
[Clean version:] Sit talking up all night,
[Explicit version:] Shit talking up all night,
Saying things we haven’t for a while
A while, yeah,
We’re smiling but we’re close to tears,
Even after all these years,
We just now got the feeling that we’re meeting for the first time

[x3:]
Oooooo

She’s in line at the DOLE*
With her head held high (high)
While I just lost my job but
Didn’t lose my pride

But we both know how,
How we’re gonna make it work when it hurts,
When you pick yourself up,
You get kicked to the dirt,

Trying to make it work but,
Man, these times are hard,

But we’re gonna start by
Drinking old cheap bottles of wine,
[Clean version:] Sit talking up all night,
[Explicit version:] Shit talking up all night,
Doing things we haven’t for a while,
A while yeah,
We’re smiling but we’re close to tears,
Even after all these years,
We just now got the feeling that we’re meeting for the first time.

Ooooo
[x3]

Yeah…
Drinking old cheap bottles of wine,
[Clean version:] Sit talking up all night,
[Explicit version:] Shit talking up all night,
Saying things we haven’t for a while,
We’re smiling but we’re close to tears,
Even after all these years,
We just now got the feeling that we’re meeting for the first time

Ooooo,.. yeah, for the first time
Ooooo,.. oh, for the first time,
Yeah for the first time,
(Just now got the feeling that we’re meeting for the first time)

[x4]
Oh these times are hard,
Yeah, they’re making us crazy
Don’t give up on me baby

[* DOLE is the unemployment line in Ireland]

I think most people can relate to this great song. Thanks for reading 🙂