Love (After All This Time)

I mention my age a lot because I think it’s important to remember the age someone is in regards to their opinion; I know this may be a little ageist but I think anybody can agree that your opinion at sixteen is quite different than your opinion at forty six.

So at thirty one I’ve been in a monogamous heterosexual relationship for about fourteen years. That’s damn near half of my life dedicated to a singular person and I can tell you this- monogamy is not something I was built for and my teen years are a huge testament to that. I ended up in quite a few poly relationships, many I forced others in to and I am not proud of that. They weren’t comfortable with it but I was up front and told them I needed an open relationship or I was going to cheat and that wasn’t something I wanted.

But I cheated a lot, all the time, on everyone. I was an asshole; from when I got my first boyfriend until the age of 17 when my now husband took me back at the Outback Steakhouse on our Senior Trip to Washington DC. I was at the time in a open relationship with a girl whom I was very much in love with but had no time for and it was becoming increasingly obvious that my husband was becoming my main and I don’t think she could handle that. It was better for everyone that she moved on because it allowed me to focus my energy on him and that’s when I realized I couldn’t let him go.

It was shaky at first, I didn’t settle in very well and I flirted pretty incessantly at parties with strangers and friends alike. Though I knew it bothered him, he knew something I didn’t- I would eventually settle down.

He felt I was worth waiting for even when he had me.

You know that meme that goes “Not all men – Yes, you’re correct *insert good guy* would never”. That’s my husband. He really is one of those exceptions and anybody that knows him can attest to that; and I’m not just saying this because I love him either. He’s always been the most considerate and understanding person in the room, a testament of patience and willpower, a mountain in a hurricane.

And he’s got flaws because he’s human, but to focus on them would be erroneous and you would be doing yourself a disservice if you did.

He moved in pretty soon after high school, though he still stayed part time at his parents house. (Like when his appendix almost burst and we all thought it was just gas and he was like ya’ll- this ain’t gas.) At first he slept on a mattress on the living room floor out of respect for my father, then he moved upstairs and slept on the floor of my bedroom still out of respect. Eventually my mother who got tired of dealing with a fucking mattress on the floor told my father that we were grown ass people and that he was going to be sleeping in the bed with me.

We got married soon after that.

I asked him before you ask, which was the real surprise I think. I spent my whole life saying I was never going to get married, that it was all a scam created by the religion and the government to steal all your money. But the longer we were together the more I realized that even if I still felt that same way about the institution of marriage, I could still fight against it within the confines of it.

Basically kids I was ready to be his wife and I wanted the title because it made me feel good. I wanted to take his name so people knew that he was my husband and that I was his wife and I had convinced myself that I was just taking the next logical step in the progression of our relationship. The truth is and was that it came entirely from a place of love and that I had been thinking about asking him to marry me for more than a year knowing he’d never ask me (knowing what you now know about how I felt about marriage).

Our wedding was very simple and very cheap and we liked it that way. We were chastised for it by some people (Whom I then asked for a loan to pay for all the things they were saying we were supposed to have to which they usually declined and then told me it was just a suggestion) and others loved the loose feel of it. We’re not strong planners and never have been and the only stress I felt came from peoples constant questions and everyones gentle advice.

We honeymooned in Orlando and this was the first time he and I had spent any significant amount of time alone with each other. We’d spend days and hours but they were always broken up, vacations were weekends not weeks; and that was the last time we took a vacation alone until he and I went to Disneyland last December. This was not our intention we love spending time alone together, especially on vacation, it’s just not how it happened.

After 13 years together we finally moved in to a place of our own, a home we own, cats we have to take care of and quiet as far as the neighbors will let us and it’s funny- we’re closer than ever. The most important thing I’ve found is that when broken away from all of the madness and stress my husband is really more gentle than I ever knew and needs a certain amount of reassurance that everything is in fact going to be all right.

Even mountains have rock slides.

Love changes and that’s the lesson I’ve learned. It changes you, it changes them and it changes itself and unless you are fully committed to adapting then you wont survive. If I wasn’t fully prepared to roll with it I would have never asked him to marry me and he knew it too.

I’m lucky to have him and people say “Well he’s lucky to have you” as a way to say don’t sell yourself short and well thank you, but I don’t give the same he gives me. I’m emotionally distant a lot of the time and again although he understands, it isn’t any easier on my conscious. But we talk about it and that’s whats amazing, our communication is a transparent and open as we possibly can be (though I imagine we don’t tell each other everything, you have to have your secrets as they say).

I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished together and all that we can accomplish together.

Here’s to the rest of our lives.

-Jess