Going to the Chapel to…Wait?

Okay, I will admit that am NOT good at blogging. But I’m working on it, I promise. Special shout outs to amazing author Alycia Ripley and Country Club Barbie for kicking me in the a$$ in one way or another so that I keep working on my blogging tenacity.

So my little merfolk, the sponsor of today’s post is: A Little Bit Married by Hannah Seligson. That’s because this is all about the A Little Bit Married Syndrome. How do you know if you’re A Little Bit Married? Well, according to Hannah Seligson, the definition isn’t all that deep. It’s pretty much anyone who’s been in a monogamous relationship for over a year, generally accompanied by a few husband-wife type things (serious vacations taken together, attending family functions like holidays, living together, ad infinitum, et al, quid pro quo and other such latin gibberjabber…you get the idea). Unfortunately, her book isn’t all that interesting word to word (sorry Hannah, but I couldn’t get past chapter 2 before going, “Ayup that sounds about right” and putting it down. At least for now) but the idea is very intriguing. If this were Pee Wee’s Playhouse, this would be the time I’d reveal the secret phrase: Serial Monogamy.

Almost everyone I know is a Serial Monogamist, or has been at some point in their lives. As HS points out, it would seem to be our generation’s right of passage. We are, after all, a group who sees 4 years as a long time at a job, thinks in terms of careerS and making sure we get everything. just. right. Or at least a bit better than our parents did it. Maybe we’re all control freaks, or rotten eggs, thank you Mister Rogers, I AM effing special. Joking aside, several of my serial monogamist female friends have had relationships come to an end as soon as the M word started popping up too much. One guy I know thinks there’s no reason to get married, that guys date a girl to keep her as HIS for a while, and as soon as she’s ready for more, he’s out the door. And really, ladies, can you blame them, if we’re already doing Wife things, aint gots the ring, what else are we gonna bring? (I’m done rhyming now, really).

My grandparents dated for 5 months, got married. My parents dated on and off for a few years, same deal (btw, they just celebrated their 29th anniversary earlier this month. My grandparents are in their 80s. Not sure what anniversary that is, but you get my point). I dated a guy for 2 years, then subsequently another guy for 5 years. Yes, my fair merfolk, the Sealion Woman herself is a Serial Monogamist. So where are we (I) going wrong? Are we giving up too much milk sans cow, so to speak, or is it just a part of our generation? Is it that we’re used to having access to so many things (I seriously blame this for many of our current ADHD, texting-while-driving, don’t-wanna-grow-up problems) that a relationship is just another kernel in the popcorn bowl of life? Or is it the fact that we women are so eager to show that we CAN be good wives (now that we no longer have that whole home-ec requirement in high school), that we don’t give our men any reason to actually settle down? In all fairness, you have to throw culture/region into the mix. My midwest friends are generally married and with child (or two). But my east coast ladies are full steam ahead on their careers…and as one good friend recently put it, she could get married now or at 40, no parental pressure at all.

I, for one, just turned another year and another grey hair closer to 30 and while my alarm isn’t exactly ringing off the hook, the clock did get to ticking, just a little. I think for women who want to have families, that will always be a concern, and a pressure. Then again, I have an aunt who willing and purposefully went the single parent route, who claims she couldn’t be happier. So which is it, do we WANT to settle down, because, well, that’s what will make us happy, or is it because we believe that’s the only correct way to bear kids? And if we do want to settle down, what are we doing that’s making it so hard to get out of the ALBM syndrome and into full fledged Mr. and Mrs. land?

I hope that despite my extended absence, you’ll share your thoughts!

Will They Stand Their Ground, Will They Let You Down?

I wanted to take a moment to comment on a theme I’ve seen a lot of recently: having a good girlfriend (or maybe, lack thereof). Two of my favorite bloggers Country Club Barbie and Carolyn Edgar have both posted on the topic recently, from different angles. Be sure to go and check out both, but for the meantime, I’ll paraphrase: for CCB, it’s all about lazy friendships. For CE, it’s about losing friends all together.

Reading both of these blogs got me thinking, why is it women have so much trouble making friends in the first place? If I had a nickle for every girl I knew that said “I don’t like other girls. They’re catty/bitchy/hard to get along with. I prefer male friends,” I’d be sipping Sangria in San Paulo and sunning myself by the seaside.  The thing is…(deep breath)…I’m one of those girls too. I too have decried the female friendship in favor of males, and only recently, and I mean recently, have I made any significant effort to befriend other members of our fair sex.

So why are all the girls clamoring to gain access to the boys club? I had a chance to sit down with CE the other night and discuss this exact topic and we came to this conclusion: it’s because men let us get away with just about anything, while other women call us on our BS. With men, platonic friendship or not, all we have to do is turn on that feminine charm, flirt a little, bat our eyes, and quicker than you can say ALAKAZAM it’s all good. But, for better of worse, women don’t let other women get away with anything.

To CCB’s point, maybe that’s the mark of a good friend. You hold your girls to higher standards, and they should respect you for it, yes? But what happens when all those good intentions miss their mark? You might just end up in the friendship no fly zone. Everyone loses friends; sometimes people just grow apart and fall out of touch. But then there are the friends that intentionally, forcefully, cut off communication, and let’s face it, that’s nothing short of pure pain. I can think of two such instances in my life (one friendship since rekindled, another that isn’t), and I remember how painful they were. For me, the friendship losses were over youthful naivety and stupid arguments, but for a lot of women, the catalyst to ditch the bitch* is a man.

Hold ON there! Rein in the horse, slam on the breaks, nose dive that plane right into the ground. Why are so many women so quick to put their men first? Men have plenty of (not so) cute little sayings to remind them of their priorities (ahem, bros before hoes anyone?) and while we’re busy digging our perfectly manicured nails into a man who would have no issues excusing himself from the table and never looking back, our girls are suffering. CE mentions a friendship gone awry because the woman, her friend, was in a toxic relationship. I’ve heard so many stories to that affect, where the woman is pouring the essence of her being into her beau and getting pure poison in return.

Friends and family always have the benefit of the aerial view in these situations, which is to say, they can see the forest while you’re just a tree. And you’re there, digging your roots into the ground with all your might, convinced that everyone around you is trying to chop you down. It always reaches a breaking point, and the something that’s gotta give isn’t going to be your relationship. 9.95 times out of 10, you wind up thinking, if she was really my friend, she’d understand why Mr. Wonderful wants me to cook him his mama’s fried chicken at 2am, serve it to him naked on a platter of my heirloom jewelry and then get started on his pedicure while he’s sexting with that girl from around the way…ummm, no.

We all get defensive and protective of our relationships, but I’d like to offer something for consideration, ladies. Maybe, just maybe, if every friend you have, but especially the ones you always felt closest to are questioning your relationship choices, maybe, just maybe, they aren’t trying to sabotage you. Maybe, just maybe, they only want what’s best for you, and they can see it is clearly NOT this man. And when they come to you and mention exactly that, whether they try to say it delicately or scream it in your face, you ought to consider that of the many paths you could take, 86ing your friendship isn’t one of them. Your guy wouldn’t do it to his guy(s) for you, and in a time when a good female friend is apparently so hard to come by, we ought to value the fem friendships we do have, and work a little harder to hold onto them.

What do you think, are female friends harder to make than male? Why do so many women seem to prefer the company of men friends? And would you put your friendship before your relationship?

*I don’t generally condone the use of this word in reference to women, but I used the phrase to say that by the time your friendship deteriorates to the point you’re ready to break it off, you’re probably thinking that and a few other choice words about the girl who’s getting axed.

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