Today in Behind The Fuchsia Curtain, we’re talkin’ about luh-luh-love! Ahhh, love. One of my favourite subjects. I’m no Carrie Bradshaw, and my relationship isn’t perfect, but I am happily married, and my friends are always coming to me for advice. I guess, if nothing else, I’m a good listener!
Here are two questions I’ve recently received…
Q. How long did it take you before you met your husband? Did you kiss a lot of frogs? What made you not give up on love?
I dated solidly from the age of 15, which gave me about 11 years worth of partners. I am so grateful to my parents for being cool enough to allow me to have these experiences when I was young, since I think forbidding your daughter from dating is a recipe for disaster. I went to a private girls’ school, so my interactions with boys were very limited, and being able to learn about them on my own terms was invaluable.
In those 11 years, I dated both men and women, lived with two boyfriends, fell for people of every race, got involved with poets and geeks and rappers and artists. Some of the relationships were brief and whizzbang, while others unfolded over several years, but I learned something about myself — and my interactions with other people — from every one.
I probably did “kiss a lot of frogs”, but I’m not into that phrase because it denotes that those people somehow weren’t up to scratch. 95% of them were excellent people: intelligent, funny, talented, hard-working, unconventional, honest and ethical. If I were to run down a list of my past paramours, I could tell you what I was attracted to and why. I could tell you what went wrong, too. All of this is essential information to know about yourself.
When it comes to finding someone you want to commit to, I believe the more data you have on the subject, the better. To clarify, this is not to say you should sleep with everyone who gives you a compliment (and this is sometimes easier said than done). But the experience of getting close to someone, trusting them and learning to be being vulnerable, is immensely worthwhile.
It never crossed my mind to “give up on love”, maybe because most of my experiences were positive overall. This is not to say that I didn’t get my heart broken, because oh my stars, I did. But I suppose I never gave up on it because I was never actively looking for it.
When I met Mike, my life was amazing. I was living in NYC and every day was an adventure. In fact, when I met Mike, I told him I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend. (I quickly changed my mind, however!)
I strongly believe that people fail to find love when it becomes their obsession. When you’re desperate for anything, it will elude you. But when your life is full and fabulous, love is just a bonus.
A lot of women are obsessed with the hunt for a husband, and I often wonder, Why? Being married is great but being single is fabulous, too. The grass is always greener. Don’t look at everything like it has to be forever; finding a man or a woman that you can have fun with right now is more important.
I know this advice might seem counterintuitive and frustrating: “Oh, you’re looking for love? Just stop!” But it comes back around to the whole concept of radical self love, which is that it’s vital to work on yourself first. Maybe if I had had a more secure or positive sense of self, some of those relationships wouldn’t have crashed and burned. Or maybe they would have disintegrated anyway, but perhaps it wouldn’t have affected me as much because I didn’t define myself solely within the confines of that relationship.
I hope this helps you out, boo.
Q. You and Mike seem to have a really amazing relationship, and even before you were married it seemed to be free of doubt. My problem is doubt. I am with the sweetest guy but I just don’t know if he’s the one. I feel like I always want more from him. I can’t seem to decide to commit, to love him fully and totally. Any advice?
Firstly, thank you! We do have an amazing relationship, and I love him madly; more and more every day, in fact. But it isn’t all starry-eyes and hand-holding. We certainly have our share of arguments. Nothing is perfect!
Your feelings of doubt are natural and normal. How many things are you truly sure of in your everyday life? And as much as I love my husband, of course I had doubts before I married him! That is totally sane. Marriage is an enormous commitment, and if I didn’t have any doubts about it, I’d be worried! I didn’t share them online, though, because our relationship is private. I’ve had 11 years of oversharing about my relationships on the internet, and I’ve learned my lessons there! Everything else in my life is fair game in terms of content, but the life Mike and I have created is personal, and we like to keep it between us.
It’s kinda like the difference between dating and marriage. When I was a single girl, my girlfriends and I would talk about everything in our relationships: nothing was sacred. But once you start to see your boyfriend as someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, that changes, or at least it did for me. I’m not old-fashioned in any way, but keeping the intimate details of my marriage private is something I value.
This might be slightly off-topic, but sometimes I wonder about bloggers who constantly talk about their boyfriend/husband, showing where they have brunch and talking about what they did all the time. Do they ever get a case of keeping up with the Joneses, in terms of cute restaurants or cool coordinated outfits or extravagant holidays shown on Instagram? I don’t know, and I can’t answer for them, but I prefer to opt out of the game entirely.
Okay, back to your question. The thing about monogamy is that it cuts out all your options. I think a lot of us get freaked out about that, but the thing we’re all forgetting is that monogamy doesn’t mean you can never meet anyone new! You can still get to know other people; you can still be friends and experience the world through their point of view. Getting naked with someone isn’t the only way to get close.
If you really are constantly plagued with doubts about this guy, then you should probably shuffle on. If you’re questioning why you’re there, you need to think long and hard about it. In my world, relationships need to feel meaningful. If you’re on the fence about a relationship, you are wasting your time and your boyfriend’s, too. You deserve to be with someone you adore, and I’m sure there is a girl out there who would do anything to have a boyfriend like yours. If you truly aren’t feeling that, it’s time to move on.
But if you take some time to think about it and you want to commit, then do it. Think back on why you fell in love in the first place, and do what you can to recapture those feelings. Go out together, have fun, and start to appreciate what you have. Make gratitude lists about him if you have to. But don’t have one foot out the door all the time — it’s no way to live.
Ultimately, you will feel less anxiety once you make a decision. So make one, then follow through with gusto.
Photos by Lisa Devlin.