Day 360 - Ex-Pats of Marriage
So I was talking to my friend Paul yesterday about relationships, it has kind of become our hobby or conversational go to. Both of us are fascinated with the highs and lows, inconvenient truths and seemingly endless reasons to get into them and out of them...so we chew the fat all in an effort to do them better...while neither of us are really having them. Which is hilarious and also kind of sad.
So we were talking yesterday about the desire to have a romantic affair. Not an actual affair but to approach relationships like an affair: full of romance and sex and interest and longing and all the fun stuff. But leave off the part where you live happily ever after or get married or blend or whatever.
Both of us agreed that this idea of relationship is much better and more palatable to each of us in middle age. I have no reason to get married again. I am not saying never but it doesn’t seem likely. I have been there and done that and it didn’t work out all that well for me. Not something I am going to likely sign up for again, honestly.
So he said that what he wanted was a romantic affair. Someone to whisk away on vacations and sexy three day weekends. Someone to adventure with and eat with and hike with but not someone who is in your space helping you fold your undies. A partner but at a bit of a distance physically. Both people having space to live their lives together but under two roofs.
And this is where the whole idea (please let it be something that is further embraced) of Ex-Pats of Marriage came about. What if we decided to take back the definition of love and romance in middle age? What if we decided to ex-patriot ourselves from the idea that partners had to live together, blend kids and families and finances. What if two people could say fuck that and live happily ever after together, but with a little space?
Why are we so narrow minded when it comes to our most personal and important relationships? I will fully admit that this idea of blending and marriage pretty much killed it with Lane and I. I needed him and wanted him to want that with me and for the life of me, I cannot even remember why! We were having such a great time falling in love and spending time together, but then I went and ruined it all with an incessant demand for more...of something I didn’t even really want to begin with! Completely fucking nuts! I know!
Now why did I do this?
I think I had an issue with needing to be picked and marriage is the ultimate picking aphrodisiac. You are literally picked for life...except you really aren’t...and this is why I am still employed. People leave marriages all the time. So you are picked until you are un-picked. So that begs the question, why was it important to begin with?
I hate to admit what I am about to admit...but I wanted it because it is what everyone else does. If you are married you gain a certain legitimacy that you lack as a single or dating person. It feels like you are left standing outside the adult circle in life. If you aren’t married, then you lack worth and depth and weight. And if you are with someone you love but won’t marry, that fact alone will cause pretty much everyone you meet head to spin!
“What are you thinking?”
“Where is the future if he/she won’t commit to marriage?”
“You are wasting your time!”
But what if we aren’t?
What if we took the idea of marriage especially for middle age and threw it off a very large cliff and never looked back?
What if we were freed from this incredibly narrow minded view point?
What if we just met people fell in love, had hot romantic affairs that were based on mutual interest and love and respect and independence?
What if we wanted both people to get their needs met and to allow for the relationship to be the supportive vehicle for that?
What if we created relationships that were more authentic and based on what we really wanted instead of what society tells us we are supposed to want?
What if we left off “for the rest of our lives” and just enjoyed the fuck out of however long it lasted?
What if we stopped buying the “happily ever after” bullshit and just got on with the business of loving and living and enjoying?
So I am here to encourage the Ex-Pat of Marriage...let’s leave behind all the life time commitment and seriousness of wedded bliss. For many of us in middle age, some of us with two or three failed marriages in our past, we have already been there and done that and it is now time for something new.
Let’s leave the country of our origin “Happily Ever After...Til Death Do Us Part” and move toward the new and exciting land of “I am this whole person over here and I would like to spend an indeterminate amount of time with you until I don’t anymore. In that time, I want to love you, support you, hold you, fuck you, spend lots of time with you, travel with you and enjoy the heck out of you...and am willing to do that so long as we both enjoy it. I am willing to work out hard stuff with you and be someone you can rely upon. But I am not willing to crawl into the same bed night after night, mostly asleep at the wheel, just phoning it in, while my inner most self has this whole secret life that I cannot or will not share with you.”
I want to move to that country! That one, right now. And what if we left the door open to having that kind of relationship with more than one person at a time. Complicated yes, but it is life we are living and it is inherently complicated! I say bring it on! Let's just be brave enough to tell the truth about it instead of being deluded and delusional.
So what do we need to do to leave the good old USA of marriage and move to the Bali of romance? I am not entirely sure but I think it begins with letting go of the authentic delusion (thanks again Paul!) that you know what you want and then having the courage to tell the people you meet and date the truth about who you are and what you want. Let’s all please stop telling each other that we want a long term committed relationship and then go about fucking a whole bunch of other people behind the other person’s back...if you want to fuck a whole bunch of people, then just say so! For some people, that will be a deal breaker, but for others, that may suit them just fine! You are never going to find out unless you are willing to risk putting it out there! But first you have to own it yourself...it doesn't make you a bad person...just tell first, yourself the truth, then the next person you date.
Most people become ex-pats because they are unsatisfied with life as it is being lived in their country of origin...and now seems like the most perfect time to me to get the hell outta here! I would like to start an honest dialog about creating a new relationship destination that is freed from the confines of yesteryear. I am going to begin my quest for a new country to take my relationships hopes and dreams to and live there for as long as it fits...I am well on my way to become an Ex-Pat of Marriage...who is with me?