The Giggle Fix
Its been one month since my three-year wedding anniversary. One month since my husband and I declared to one another how wrong things have been. I want fidelity, he wants to swing. There are co-dependence problems, financial issues, and different intentions for our spiritual lives. As a result, we have asked the BIG question: are we still right for each other?
I took a trip last week to see friends in New Orleans and Corvallis, Oregon, and found the self-acceptance and independence I have long sought, both through travel and spending time separate from my partner. I am committed to moving out on July 1, and have a great room waiting for me 7 blocks down the street. What this means for the relationship, however, is not initially what I assumed. I have felt, for the last three weeks, that this move is the beginning of the end. And perhaps it is the end of something. The end of an enmeshed, suffocating type of relationship where neither person has room to grow. The end of constantly putting my partner first, above myself. The end of having no time to pursue my career without interruption.
Now, however, I wonder if we cannot become part of the new trend of LATs: people who Live Apart Together. This term refers to couples who are committed to one another but hold and maintain separate residences due to careers, prior failed cohabitation, or personal preference. Apparently the trend is popular in Britain, and participants report higher levels of respect, romance, and career success.
This could create huge problems. He could cheat and I wouldn’t know. We could grow apart and find we share very little. We could lose the fabric of our married-ness, our committed-ness, what we are building together.
However, what we are “building together” is less about us as a couple and more about our budding selves.What I find as I accept and welcome this change is that the growth we both seek now is not growth together, but separate development so that we can relate as whole beings.
Plus, since I came back, we’re laughing.
Despite the heavy questions in the air, or maybe because of them, the two of us have turned into partners in giggle. Perhaps it is that, staring the death of our relationship in the face, and seeing the love and experiences we have shared, the financial changes and weight loss and gain and family crises and bad breath and creative successes and failures staring right back, things just don’t seem so serious. Quirks that threatened the fabric of our affections now, in comparison with heavier topics, are amusing. I have never viewed a relationship so objectively, but it seems that, under it all, we are very good friends. Whether or not that makes for a successful life partnership, LAT or otherwise, is yet to be seen. All I know is that from where I sit, watching him chuckle over an episode of King of the Hill and wanting nothing more than to join in, we’re more okay than not.