I’m pretty sure that about 90% of the time when I’m talking about my husband, I make him sound like a douche bag.
I think that this is probably true for a lot of people (and not necessarily just the ones like me that stick their foot in their mouths). When you repeat some of the things your spouse/partner does, it makes them sound much worse than actually seeing it in context. People only see your side, they assume things, they don’t know the details surrounding it, and they make judgments. It’s a simple fact of life.
What got me to thinking about all of this was shoveling my driveway. It was about 10pm and no one else was out, but I kept picturing if one of my neighbors came outside to talk to me (possibly because I was being loud with my shoveling?). If it were one of my older neighbors (which, let’s face it, pretty much all of my neighbors are 60+, so that’s likely), what would they think about my shoveling? No, I’m not talking technique. I’m talking about the fact that I, the woman of the house, was out late at night shoveling. I see shoveling the driveway as more of a traditional “male” role. Maybe it’s just because I hate it, suck and it, and it makes my back hurt.
So they see me shoveling. Would they think that while I was taking the dog out to pee, I randomly realized that I won’t have time to shovel in the morning so I should probably do it now? Probably not. Maybe they’d think my husband was too lazy. Maybe they’d think that he made me do it. Of course, this is all speculation.
This all stems from what a girl said to me at school. This girl was part of a study group for one of my classes. While we were deciding when to do the study group, she mentioned that she would have to bring her two year old. I was already thinking about the fact that it was the weekend and that my husband wouldn’t be happy with watching Peanut because friends would be over, but figured that he could just deal with it. But since she said that she was bringing her son, I figured I could bring Peanut too and they could play. So I said “Oh, maybe I’ll bring my daughter. She’s almost two. My husband will just make noise if he has to watch her anyway (hardy har har).” Her response? “Well maybe you need to get a new husband (hardy har har).”
This really pissed me off. Just because my husband isn’t going to jump to watch Peanut every second of the day, that means that I need to divorce him? I’m sure it doesn’t help that she’s recently divorced, but still. From a conversation that’s less than a minute, she not only makes a judgment about my relationship, but she also tells me that it’s bad? Who is she to say? Then, of course when I decide not to bring Peanut because I don’t particularly want her playing with this girl’s son, she makes a remark about my husband getting himself together to watch his own child. Oh my god.
So just because my husband wouldn’t absolutely love to spend every second of every day with Peanut, I should drop him? So should he drop me because I’m not 100% happy watching her 100% of the time? I mean, even when I’m at home 100% of the time with her, I still want to throw her out the window sometimes. Honestly, what parent doesn’t? What parent doesn’t relish the moments that you get to yourself and get to do something you want to do? Of course, there are those parents who never, never leave their child and never, ever want to, but who says we all have to be like that?
So because my husband isn’t shoveling the driveway, he’s not a good husband? How about when I don’t do the dishes—which I’m notorious for neglecting? Don’t get me wrong, there are things that I would like my husband to work on. There are things he would like me to work on. That’s how relationships work. Yeah, there’s some effort there, but I’m sure that dealing with his flaws is much less effort than being a single mom. Not to mention that I love him. So who is she—or anyone—to tell me that there’s something wrong with my relationship?
I’m guilty of it too. Recently, I’ve been trying to convince my friend to break up with her boyfriend. I’ve never liked the guy and she’s well aware, but lately when she’s talking about him I just keep telling her to drop him because things he is doing remind me of my ex and that’s what seems like the solution to me. Key phrase: seems like the solution to me. How am I supposed to know what their relationship is really like? I’m only seeing her side and even more than that, I’m only hearing the side of hers that she needs to make noise about because it’s bothering her. Do you think any woman dwells as much on that time her boyfriend brought her flowers as much as the time he forgot?
So that’s it. I’m done telling people what to do with their relationships. Of course, I’ll still offer advice when asked for it, but I need to butt out most of the time. Beyond that, I need to try to look at both sides. Half the time when someone is asking you what to do, they’re just asking you to validate what they’ve already decided to do anyway.
So to bring this ramble of a post together, I will say one thing: Don’t judge a relationship by what you can see. People are in relationships because it works for them. You may be seeing their best moment, worst, or anything between. It’s not fair of you to superimpose your own relationship/past relationships onto theirs as if they’ll fit that exact mold. Just because you broke up doesn’t mean everyone should. Just because your husband is a douche doesn’t mean mine is. And you know what? Maybe he is a douche, and maybe I like it.