Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Honey Bunnies vs the reality of relationships

Everyone knows them - the flawless relationship people. They walk through life publicly declaring their love and happiness, as if shouting it out will make it true every day. He's so great! We're best friends! Love of my life, every minute of every day! I believe he is great and that you love your life. But I don't think you're riding the bliss train 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

So I call bullshit. There's no relationship that's aces 100% of the time. And here's a secret: there's no need for you to pretend yours is. Your relationship is probably everything you want, need, and could dream of 90 percent of the time. The other 10 percent can be ugly, but you're not alone and you don't have to hide it. You're not perfect, and neither is your partner. Sometimes you do things to hurt each other. That's certainly nothing to be proud of, but it's not a shameful secret either: we all screw up.

I'm not encouraging people to air their dirty laundry for all the world to see, and for crap's sake, keep it off social media. I'm saying it's okay to go a day without declaring you're the happiest in all the land. I'm saying it's okay to acknowledge that you're pissed off at your partner, or that you're disappointed.  It's okay to be real about the reality of relationships. When we stop pretending things are great all the time, we become more approachable. We understand each other better. We're able to help each other more. We're less inclined to judge others while trying to sweep our own pile of crap under the rug.

It's mostly women out there fronting for the benefit of other women. I think a lot of people are afraid to be real even with their friends because while they crave validation, they also cringe thinking of hearing how horrible whatever their partner did is, how their friend wouldn't put up with that, etc. They don't want their friends disliking their spouse over something they themselves are going to move on from pretty quickly.

The truth is that while we're comfortable spouting off about how we wouldn't put up with what our friend is dealing with, we do put up with other things that our friends wouldn't. While we all love to tell our friends what we would and wouldn't take, please proceed with caution. What your best friend and her husband fight about might be different than what you and your husband fight about, but the fact is this - everyone fights over something. Just make sure you fight clean and you'll get through it.We all eat a little shit. And we should remember that when we're being there for our friends. We're sometimes too earnest in rallying around a wounded bird. We cross the line and morph from a supportive sounding board to a harsh and unyielding judge.

I really try not to do that, but it is a fine line. I'm the friend people talk to when they want honesty. I'm the friend who will tell you that yes, your spouse screwed up, but we all screw up. I'm not going to hate on your spouse later for a mistake, because it's not my marriage, and because you don't want me to. Unless you get the big D, then I will hate all you want. And I am so so glad I have a few friends like that around me. If you don't have one, find one. Everyone needs one.

Because amid the fluffy clouds and happy butterflies that dot the landscape of our long-term relationships, there are bumps in the road. There are times you're not on the same page. When you're in it for the long haul, these things are not the end of the world. The every day bullshit you have to learn to navigate together can cause friction: housework, bills, who does what when, staying in versus going out, where you'll spend the holidays, if you'll have kids, how you'll raise your kids, and a million other things. Communicate, always, and you'll get by all of it.

Don't compare. Who cares what someone else has? Concentrate on what you have. Be cognizant of what powers your love machine and what you need to bring to the table to make it work. Because it is work, and it takes work to maintain a good relationship. If you've truly given it your all and it's not working, walk away. Everyone deserves happiness. But make sure you really have given it your all and you're not just being lazy about putting in the effort.

It's safe to say that you'll love each other every day, but in the middle of a battle of wills, you might not like each other every day. That's okay. It's not a comfortable or nice place to be, but nevertheless it's where we sometimes find ourselves. No relationship is perfect, just like no person is perfect. I think fitting perfectly together is what's important. In a relationship, you are a unit. But there's also two individuals who are constantly growing and changing, and sometimes you need a period of adjustment to each other's changes. Life is long, give yourself and your partner some time to adapt.

Since Dear Abby is dead, I thought I'd step in and give you all an unsolicited pep talk on relationships, friendship, reality, and how the illusion of perfection goes over like a shit balloon. You're welcome.

Speaking of relationships, make sure to catch my interview with MFD, my other half, here on Tuesday. He's quite a card so I'm sure it will be a worthy read.


  1. possibly one of my favorite posts from you ever. could not agree more. I AM SO SICK of bloggers or people in general just saying it's all hearts and rainbows all the time. and can't wait for your interview.

  2. Great post.

    A little bit of a dog pile isn't necessarily bad - it can offer us validation and a realization that it's not just us. As women we often feel like we need to put up with more and let more slide in order to maintain the facade of perfection, which simply isn't the case.

    And to the ladies who insist that their relationship is perfect? Your BFF knows better. And wonders why you feel the need to lie about it.

    1. Love that last graph! LMAO, so true!

    2. Sing it Susie Q! No need to lie!

      I absolutely agree that women feel they need to put up with more and let more slide in order to maintain a facade. Not true.

  3. Thank you so much for this post, Steph! It's exactly, to the letter, what I believe as well: 1. We all have to eat a little shit every day; just make sure you're not the one eating all of it. 2. The hardest thing on Earth is to remember to be kind to the person closest to you, and not to take every little bit of stress and bullshit out on them, but since that's the person you're supposed to love the most in the world, you better figure out how to do it!

  4. Abby lives!!!!! Start your column now!
    (But don't hate.)

  5. Awesome post!!! I hate when people try to act like they don't have issues in thier relationships! We all do!!

  6. Great post - I believe in having the friend that doesn't judge or hate and is there to listen. Always helpful when you are going through some struggles or fights with your partner. Very important in keeping your sanity.

  7. I love this post! There is no perfect relationship or perfect couple. Sometimes I love my husband and other times I could possible hate him:) We both laugh over this and most of the time things are great. BUT, life is hard and marriage is super hard. I think people should be more honest about the reality of marriage and stop acting like all is perfection. This can extend to all areas of life as well.

  8. I really love this. It speaks the truth. Yes, wouldn't it be nice if marriage, or any relationship for that matter, was all hearts and flowers. But lets be real. Its not. We're human. We say and do mean things to the one we love the most. And the reason we are able to so this, is because they won't go running and screaming in the opposite direction. That's why they love us, and if we're lucky, let us eat the entire box of Thin Mints.

  9. i love this post - it's the 100% truth.

    it's all about picking your battles - i think for the most part, people sweat the small stuff way too much. it's ok to take a little crap but to do it all the time is no bueno! a relationship takes some work; in the beginning it's all love and roses but when the lust haze fades, you're left with something real - either you deal with it or let it go.

  10. Brilliant! There is NO such thing as a 100% perfect relationship- any kind of relationship. Mutually beneficial is nice, more pros than cons,
    obv nice. And everyone you meet is in your life for a purpose. Doing stuff for those you love- out of pure love- is the BOMB. PDA's & very romantical(my created word), mushy stuff -ew. Love to laugh & laugh.
    Most important, be grateful & never take anything or anyone for granted.
    Beautiful comments today, too Ladies.
    Button up your overcoats or just stay inside. Be grateful you have a warm home and a warm heart!!! I need some emoticons here- but takes too long to post on my iphone.
    your ever-loving- MOMMA

  11. YES!!! Agree!!! People who act like their life and/or marriage is just full of glitter and unicorns and rainbows drive me absolutely nuts, because that's such a fantasy. They might as well SERIOUSLY be telling me they own a unicorn, because that's about as realistic as a "perfect" marriage. I call BS too.

  12. What do you mean,life with a Doyle man is nothing but rainbows and bliss.....ha ha ha! Just kidding,I put up with his issues and he puts up with mine! Communication is the key people!

  13. I am very lucky to have a best friend that lets me
    word vomit to her all of my angst and woes. I do the same for her. Not just about my relationship with my husband but family too. It's a relief to let all the ugly hang out somewhere safe :D the down side is we silently call bullshit on all of the rainbow and glitter shitters we read about......maybe that's an upside.

    Something I've learned the hard way but it's a lesson worth learning is "Getting married is easy....STAYING married is hard." feel free to spread the word.

    Great post Steph!

    Samantha F

  14. We are the disgusting "no I love you more couple" but that doesn't mean I don't want to put his balls Ina vice when he burns dinner he said HE would cook because some electronically device stole his attention. I have had CRAP relationships in the past sp everyone tries to make fun of our disgusting sugary sweetness I tell them I earned this shit!

  15. I'm late to the party today and don't have much more to add except that I love the Pulp Fiction reference!

  16. Agree 100%! I read somewhere once that when you compare, you are comparing your inside to someone else's outside. Meaning that you don't know what all they are hiding. (They said it better than that, but it has always stuck with me!)

  17. Great post, and I LOVE the idea of an interview with MFD. I might have to copy that for myself!

  18. This is awesome. I also find that the ones who constantly shout their love from the rooftops are usually trying to convince themselves that they are happy. Two of my fb friends who always talked about how awesome their relationships were both recently divorced. I love my husband, but he annoys me. And I wrote a blog post about that on our anniversary. Gotta be real! Parents annoy me too, talking up their kids all the time. All kids are disgusting and bratty sometimes.

  19. This is absolutely fantastic. Well said!

  20. Wouldn't life get boring real quick if everything was GREAT 24/7?? I think so!!! Great post and so so true!!!

  21. So glad you linked me to this. It's important that we're talking about these things. It's true that comparing ourselves to others can be toxic, but it's hard not to when people front like their relationship is 24/7 bliss. ha!!


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