Thursday, March 22, 2007

Co-Dependant OR In-Dependant?

There comes a time, usually in your mid 20’s and after, that you will start noticing that your single friends are dropping like flies and getting “hitched.” If you are one of those lucky singles left, you will be keen on your friend’s choice of partner, husband, or wife, and hopefully will be comfortable enough to sometimes be the “3rd wheel.” Unfortunately though, oftentimes you’ll hear awful stories of how some friends can’t stand their friend’s significant other, and cannot fathom why they chose to marry this “loser.” Thankfully, I’m not in that position and I happen to truly adore all my married friends’ “SOs.” However, being still single, you will usually find that making plans with your married friends doesn’t come as easy as it did when you were all a bunch of young singles, scoping out the party scene, and staying out to wee hours of the morning. Sooner or later, your married friends start ditching going out to the trendy corner bars and choose to spend their evenings in, trying to please their new spouse. Have they just forgotten what it was like to be single, go out, have a little fun and let lose?! After all, shouldn’t married women and men always feel they can innocently flirt? As long as it stays innocent, doesn’t this make for a better, more trusting relationship?

As your single friends fade and start marrying off, just like you start to live “married life” vicariously through THEM, THEY, in turn, love hearing your crazy stories and begin to think back to what life was like before they said “I do.” In the past several years, I’ve celebrated many engagements, weddings, and even got a glimpse of what it will be like to carry a “bun” in the oven. Thankfully for my dear friend, Rochelle, I’ve seen how a good marriage that has independence and trust remains fun even when with a kid is attached at your hip! Rochelle met her husband, Joey, an old friend of mine from Boston, on an internet singles site. I was thankful that he met someone so vivacious, energetic, confident, and great, because now she also has become one of my closest married girl friends, whom I was able to share with in the experience of her 9 months of pregnancy that ended with an adorable baby girl.

We met at the beginning of her pregnancy, and spent hours one snowy day at New York Medical because what we thought was a blood clot was just the kid tugging at her ribs. As we learned, pregnancy is not only about getting a whole new wardrobe filled with designer maternity clothes, but also can be painful and exhausting, too. However, being her friend, I was able to experience all the steps of pregnancy through her, and was quite surprised to see her run up and downtown, ride the subway, schlep here and there, without being the typical complaining pregnant friend and/or wife that I expected her to become--worse than a bride turning into “bridezilla.” Her pregnant and unable-to-drink self and I went to all the so called “hot and trendy spots” for dinner, and since she’s a walking Zagats, besides constantly hearing about her ever-enlarging cup size and what the embryo feels like in her belly, I got a taste of all the posh spots! Quite the little trooper she was while having to watch me order steak, tuna or salmon tar tar, meanwhile salivating from not being able to have anything raw, let alone a glass of wine to wash it down!

HOWEVER, what happens when some of “those” married friends who used to be the life of the party and the sickest on the dance floor, get hitched, and often start acting as if they’ve prematurely aged after only one year of marriage, and what used to be reservations around 8 is now the early bird Boca Raton special, dinner at 5:30? Of course, if they’re really lucky and score a nanny who will stay past ten o’clock, then just maybe they’ll catch a flick while hoping not to fall asleep from sheer exhaustion!

You’ll invite your friend to do dinner, and they’ll reply, “I can’t; I promised so and so I’d cook” even though you are well aware it’s the same story every time you ask. “I need to be home for my husband or mate” becomes their typical excuse, and it turns out that all they ever do is go for coffee or lunch during the day. Single, you sit there and wonder: “is this going to be how MY life turns out, staying home every night, only going out with my friends when my other ½ is working late, taking care of the kids, or watching TV and getting fat while turning into a couch potato? Hey, but then my alter ego thinks, maybe this is what the “marrieds” like to do! Friends will sometimes show no interest in you or your life, all because they get wrapped up and often trapped in their married life, causing them to slowly lose sight of friendships and events that were once so meaningful. So, years later, after pushing out the kid, always revolving your lives around each other and/or your kids, doing endless amounts of laundry, cooking all meals, they’ll wake up one day and start to think, have I lost my total independence? What I am doing and where’s my life? Shouldn’t we be able to have a joined life together while still maintaining who I am? See, what some couples just don’t understand is that keeping a life of your own, and having your “me time,” is a crucial element in keeping any relationship or marriage healthy, fun, and together.

I’ve heard and seen many husbands or wives who have a jealous side, which often is worse than that bitchy and jealous girlfriend or selfish boyfriend who is so insecure that they try to control who you are and who you remain friends with. If you are perceptive enough, you can wake up, acknowledge, and see that side of the person before you’ve blown 20-30K for the rock, signed a pre-nup, and said your vows. Why is jealously such an issue in relationships? Are people that insecure of their partner or themselves that this act causes the relationship to crumble and arguments start over who your “friend” of the opposite sex is that calls and texts you at 2:00 am? Some people feel so threatened, that when they “happen” to ease drop, and overhear a conversation or see an innocent look given, this innocent behavior sometimes gets perceived the wrong way causing fights to begin. COME ON NOW, IT’S TIME TO GROW UP. All this really ever is, is exaggerated high school bullshit and drama. You must stop being so immature, untrusting, and worse of all, jealous. Do you really want to be in a relationship where you’re always tip-toeing around and making sure you clear and delete a text or a # of someone who’s called so that if you’re other ½, if checked, they wouldn’t see and get the wrong message and get their panties all tied in a bunch? Assuming and jumping to conclusions before hearing the truth will most likely only lead to one thing: an unnecessary argument.

Fortunately, it is so refreshing to see that Rochelle is an independent, confident, hardworking (at her own career), loving wife and mother, and also still craves and loves having her “girl’s night out,” regardless of whether it’s a weekend or weekday night. There’s no consistent pattern in her relationship other then when to feed the baby and pump! Keeping your own life isn’t that hard, yet men and women, when in relationships, seem to forget that there’s no need to spend 24/7 together, and what started out as being a fun and spontaneous relationship can very quickly become a boring routine. Being co-dependant can be an unhealthy way to live life. If you can have fun together, and have fun alone, what’s a night or two out, knowing you’re coming home to a partner or spouse’s cuddly arms and warmed up bed? So why then, when in a relationship, do SO many men and women try to control and monopolize the other? Is this really the way to live? Is the real, unaddressed problem TRUST? Well, as a Maven who’s independent, career oriented, and has been in some relationships where the guy tried to control, (which ultimately never worked), I will say it’s NOT a way to live your life. Being controlled by someone because they have more trust in the inmates at the state penitentiary than they do in you is not what you really want. BUT, I can almost guarantee that trying to control someone, with or without trust, will usually create problems within your relationship. My Maven advice is that everyone who is in a controlling relationship or in a relationship where jealousy, mistrust and unhealthy co-dependence exists or is starting to develop, should first learn how to be alone before they take that next step being with someone else. You need to become secure of yourself, so when you do find your mate and start a relationship, this isn’t affected by your own problems and issues that should’ve been nipped in the bud in your adolescent years instead of causing unnecessary drama and fights post college, and into adulthood.

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