How Marriage Changes People Forever – From BBC

I read an article this week and I immediately went, “OMG! That was me!” Now yes, I was never married, but my in my last relationship, I felt my usual level of extroversion plummet. And that sucked. Because I liked meeting people where ever I happened to be in the city. I’d talk to people on the train, or in bars, and when I was in a relationship, it was really hard to do that. First, because my ex hated talking to strangers, especially on the street, or you know, helping them with directions, and it’s weird to talk to strangers in bars when you’re with someone – even if you’re only talking to them in the hopes of meeting interesting people platonically.

The article also says that people who get married are better at self-control and forgiveness. Well, that’s good because if you’re legally tying yourself to someone for eternity, you better learn how to forgive because they are imperfect, and you better learn some self-control so you don’t have sex with anyone else (if you are monogamous, that is).

The follow excerpt is also particularly rage-inducing for me, personally:

The pattern is backed up, at least among women, by an earlier and much smaller US study published in 2000, in which the researchers tested the personalities of just over 2,000 middle-aged participants twice over of a period of between six and nine years.

In that time, 20 of the women married while 29 of them divorced. Relative to those who tied the knot, the divorcees showed increased extroversion and openness, as if freed from the shackles of wedlock. Newly married men, by contrast, showed benefits compared with their divorced peers, scoring higher on conscientiousness and lower in neuroticism.

Now these are small studies, but they basically say: men are better off being married, while women are better off not being attached. Where’s the happy medium?

I think this stems from the fact that marriage makes a man seem desirable, while marriage for a woman validates her as a person because someone (finally!) “chose her.” As outdated as a theory like that may sound, I think it’s still pretty relevant. Have you heard someone ask, “What’s wrong with her that she’s (insert age) and still single?!” People rarely ever say that about men. They’re just “focused on their careers.”

Is this 100% true for everyone who gets married? NO. I’m saying that I related to these hypotheses and studies, and their conclusions. 

I once thought that I would like to get married. Then I thought, “Meh, I’d just like an engagement ring because: shiny” and no reason to get married. Now I’m at a place where I’m all, “Nah, I’d rather not walk around with thousands of dollars on my finger that someone could want to steal, or worse, I could lose, and I don’t need to legally bind myself to someone either, thanks.”

I’ve written before about how it irks me when people get engaged and say, “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you!” like an engagement and a piece of paper guarantees that. I’ve seen enough divorces occur to know that it doesn’t. Would I like to “settle down” (another phrase that irks me) someday? Maybe? I don’t know. This could be a bad reaction from my last relationship, or it could just be a realization that I’m not made for marriage, and that doesn’t make me any better or worse than anyone who is. I love the idea of living with someone and having separate bedrooms. Which is totally catching on but it’s still confusing people who are all on board with the “normal” way relationships “should” be.

Of course, I also love the idea of a relationship with someone and not living with them at all. I own my place (#blessed) so the idea of renting this place out to rent some other place with a possible future significant other is unappealing. My place is also too small for two people to live in. I won’t live here forever, but right now: I’m not leaving it.

I think, regarding losing your extroversion in a relationship or marriage, I also should acknowledge that you need to find a person to lifts you up, not suffocates you. I was definitely suffocated. The light inside of me was burned out and for that, I am grateful AF to be #single again.

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All About That Me-Time

I’ve sucked at blogging recently. I have to write about Angels in America, Half a Sixpence, and Once in the UK. And I saw Steve Kazee at 54 Below last Thursday but I haven’t written about that yet either. And my cousin’s wedding last week was gorgeous but where are the photos? Whoops. I’ve been lazy. Sorry, not sorry.

But I’m slowly starting to rediscover me. My passions. I’m going to pick up my guitar again (I swear goddamnit). I’ll even take out my ukulele. I’m going to volunteer more. I’m going to go to meditation events (starting with Medi Club on the 20th at MSG which will either be awesome or awful). I might go to something called Touchpoint, which my friend hosts every month and is all about sex-positive talks (and I could totally use that after the past little while). I’m trying to look up more concerts but it seems that I just missed Cage the Elephant. And Spoon, Guster, Ted Leo, and The Decemberists aren’t playing here anytime soon. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Weezer is playing at a festival in September, but festivals aren’t my thing. And Green Day just announced today that they’re playing in the Global Citizens Festival in September, too. But that’s September. That’s a whole month away.

I went to redeem my free anniversary class today at MNDFL and it was just lovely. I’m going to go to more meditation events because that’s where my heart is. Maybe I’ll eventually start teaching yoga, too.

I’m going to try to see one show per week. Or at least try. Because the past two months have been so busy that the last show I saw on THE BROADWAY was on June 1st. Which is shameful. Yes, I was away a lot and I saw three shows abroad, but come on. Who am I?!

I get to be fully myself again and I have zero persons to answer to (I wasn’t before, but there’s no one there to even comment).

Maybe I’ll make a YouTube channel? I have no idea what I’d talk about though.

I’m all about the me-time and I’m taking advantage of it. So, if I’m quiet, it’s because I’m out doing awesome shit.

Happenings

It’s been a while since my last post. Lots has happened. I went to London and Dublin by myself and had a great time. But that was because my boyfriend and I broke up after a little more than two years together. To be honest, I am relieved. I am happy. I was sad. But I feel like myself again. I am alive again.

To be honest, our relationship hadn’t been great for at least six months. Maybe a year. I think he’d concur with that, but even if he didn’t, this is how it was for me. I don’t know why I stayed in it for so long. I guess because I know good relationships take work. But this was too much work. We even saw a relationship therapist a couple of times, but it wasn’t working. He was – is – a good person. He has a good heart. He meant well. We just weren’t a good fit. My soulmate: he was not. (And I believe we have multiple soulmates in this life.)

To be honest, I think the election kind of tore us apart. He didn’t vote, but I sure as fuck did. He didn’t like Trump enough to vote for him but he really didn’t like Hillary. He was pro-choice and pro-gay marriage but we differed on basically everything else. I tried to deny that this bothered me, and I got away with it for a while, but now I don’t have to anymore. His politics grossed me out. I was ashamed. Maybe I shouldn’t have been. Maybe I was – and am – overreacting. I don’t know.

So when I say I feel like myself again, I mean that I feel free to have my political opinions again without having to worry that I’ll be verbally berated for them. I mean to say that he liked to argue about things and I didn’t. When he thought he was right, that was it. He was right and nothing I could say would change his mind. The conflict came because I didn’t care enough to debate things with him. I didn’t feel the need to convince him to see things my way. This bothered him because, as I said previously, he liked to argue.

A family member of mine said it perfectly once: Republicans are evil and Democrats are clueless.

This is true. It has always been true.

We took a break, he had a break down, our therapist found him a therapist, and then we met for dinner to formally break up. It was one of the most adult-yist break ups ever. It was civilized. It was basically mutual. He started seeing a professional to sort things out and I was happy for him. He came by my apartment to get his things after. It was sad, but we knew it was the right thing to do.

I went on the trip that we were supposed to take together (to London and Dublin) on my own and I was thrilled about it. Yes, I picked a shitty hotel in London that I then expensively upgraded to a better one once I arrived, and my legs burned from walking in shitty shoes, but I needed that trip. I needed to sort my head out and remember what it was like to be myself again. I kissed an Englishman in Dublin who was on a weekend holiday for his 30th birthday and I began to feel optimistic about dating again as I headed home from Dublin.

I also saw ONCE, which just happened to have a production playing for the summer, in Dublin, too, which was cathartic. I cried.

I started reading “All the Single Ladies” abroad, too, and I’m still reading it. It’s nice to be reminded that being “alone” is better than being in a bad relationship. Refuting marriage and time-consuming relationships isn’t a new idea for women either.

I know I’ll be OK because I already am. I’m considered “alone” only because I’m not tied down to a man, but I love my job, my friends (and family, obviously), and my cats. I have my yoga practice and my teacher, who is 100% there for me. I’m totally looking forward to going to my cousin’s wedding in a week stag and I have a yoga retreat coming up in mid-August that is also going to be amazing (read: free-roaming chickens).

I am going to OZY Fest this weekend and then, perhaps, Meowmania in Brooklyn because I’ll pour money into any event that raises money for cats.

One day at a time. But I know this is the right thing.

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Significant Other

Despite my better judgment, I went to see Significant Other, the new play by Joshua Harmon that recently transferred to Broadway from Roundabout, this past Sunday with my significant other, my best guy friend, and his significant other. I saw this shortly after I met J in 2015 while it was off-Broadway and it hit me hard in the emotions. I walked out of the Laura Pels thinking Gideon’s character surely killed himself after the lights went down. And to be honest, I kind of wanted to kill myself after the lights went down on Sunday afternoon, regardless of my relationship status. My friends concurred.

I want to start by saying that Gideon Glick is brilliant as the protagonist Jordan, a late twenty-somethings city-dweller. He gives a flawless performance of an extremely flawed character. He has genius comedic timing and I was exhausted watching him exert himself onstage for two and a half hours(ish). I would watch this guy read the phone book because he could make it entertaining. He has monologues that are pages long but he makes it look effortless.

Sas Goldman, who plays the first bride of the night Kiki, reminded me in a weird way of Tracee Chimo in Bachelorette. But in a totally good, weird way. Lindsay Mendez plays a wonderful best friend to Jordan, Laura, who gets caught up in wedding madness when she finally gets engaged. She was able to be strong even when hurt by Jordan’s page and a half tirade on the evening of her bachelorette party. And, last but not least, Rebecca Naomi Jones is the hilariously dark Vanessa who gives no fucks about anything until the day of her wedding.

The men in this show are not at all the focus. Hence why two actors play all six male characters (in addition to Jordan). John Behlman and Luke Smith both do a lovely job playing the various boyfriends and husbands and coworkers of the four main characters.

Because of its incredibly depressing tone, and it’s suicide-inducing ending, I’m not sure it’ll find it’s audience on Broadway, but I know that a lot (most) people could probably relate to Jordan’s feeling of being alone and feeling hopeless. There are lots of parts to make you laugh, and many to also make you feel all the feels. Like any good play should.

Goodnight, Brain.

I once wrote about how I’d had trouble sleeping but that through a bunch of different ways, I’d cured myself. Well, “trouble sleeping” is back again. You see, J snores. Not all the time. And not that badly. But if he falls asleep before me, then all I can think about is “OMG I’M NEVER GOING TO FALL ASLEEP.” This obviously doesn’t help me try to fall asleep. And because I’m the lightest sleeper ever and I wake up if my cat looks in my direction, so I will especially never fall asleep ever if he starts snoring. 

So, what did I do? I bought Source Natural’s Melatonin tablets. And ear plugs (these are the best). And melatonin gummies. And Rescue Remedy’s sleep spray. And chamomile tea. (He uses nose strips, which makes it less worse, and peppermint oil.)

Basically I bought all of the things. 

And then I figured out: maybe I’m simply trying to go to bed before I’m actually ready, and before I’m tired enough. Although I’d love to get 8 hours of sleep every night, I’m “suffering” through 6.5-7 hours each night (because I now get up at 6am to meditate for 20 minutes before going to the gym). It’s great. I actually love getting up early before the sun has fully risen and it’s still quiet. I love sitting on my couch with my legs crossed and one hand petting Playbill while I meditate. 

Additionally, I’ve started to go to bed before J does because he’s a night owl and I’m not, so he can stay up and do whatever he does at those hours of the night in my living room and I can fall asleep. 

It’s really working so far. I still use the sleep spray each night, just as a security blanket, and it’s natural, so that’s OK. 

Let’s hope going to bed later and TM can cure me this time around.

My Night with Alabama

Is Alabamans the name for people from Alabama? I’d imagine so. Let me know if I’m wrong. 

I’d gone with J last Saturday night to a bar in the Flatiron so he could see one of his good friends from his first job in DC for the first time in years and somehow I ended up hanging out at a table that was more than half full of Alabamans. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d say! 

His friend’s fiancee is from Alabama (she was super sweet!) and she met up with four friends from high school/college who were vacationing in the city or lived here. Two of them were not yet 30 and vacationing in the big city for their 5 year wedding anniversary. A different way of life, indeed. 

Politics never came up, and probably for the best. But Fucking A, I have never in my life felt so pressured to be engaged and/or married. When we were asked how long we’d been together and we said our 1-year anniversary was the prior week, the couple celebrating their 5-year anniversary looked at each other and said, “oh, we were engaged after a year!” And then they started discussing engagement rings and how I have to take him shopping for one so he doesn’t get me a bad ring. I smiled and nodded and then changed the topic because I’m in no rush to get married. I don’t see it as a necessary step in a relationship or in life. 

They were super nice people and I had fun, despite my being incredibly exhausted. But man, am I glad I don’t live in Alabama and that I wasn’t married right out of college. Talk about boring. Where’s the room for life experiences if you’re already playing house when you’re 22? 

One thing is for sure: they’ll be fun to drink with at the wedding! 

Different strokes, man….

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It (Doesn’t) Suck to Be Me

This won’t be much of a review since Avenue Q has been around since 2003. Everyone’s seen it (if you like theatre) and everyone knows it’s greatness. I hadn’t seen Avenue Q onstage (so: at all) since 2005 or 2006. It was a great little show and I saw it twice on Broadway. When J mentioned that he’d heard “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” and “The Internet is For Porn,” I thought it’d be a great birthday present and it was.

He liked it so much more than we both ever could’ve imagined. He never stopped laughing. I, of course, enjoyed it, too. It was nice to see it again, this time in a smaller space. The cast was fantastic across the board. 

J spent the rest of the weekend ranting and raving to anyone who would listen about how good the show was. And like I said, he’s lost most of his interest in seeing Hamilton now because he doesn’t think it could entertain him more than Avenue Q did. Is Hamilton as funny as Avenue Q? Likely not. I’m certain it has it’s own merits though – duh, of course.

The moral of this story? Since no one can get tickets to Hamilton, go see Avenue Q. Obviously. Because it’s (still) a solid and terrifically entertaining show.

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More Than OK

Last Sunday marked one year since I first met this dude after he answered my exhilarating first message on OkCupid that said all of, “Hey!” No, really, that’s all it said. We’d both “liked” each other so maybe that was compelling. 

We went to Anejo in Hell’s Kitchen and ate chips and guac, and drank margaritas and he told me, upfront, that he also did not want kids and I was smitten. We went back to Anejo last Sunday and ate more chips and drank more margaritas. We kept it pretty low key. It was lovely. 

We spend lovely weekends together and do fun stuff and support each other. Our personalities compliment each other’s and we’re amazing partners-in-crime. 

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Why having children is bad for your marriage

Life affirming indeed. I think women probably still say it (the pain and suffering) was “worth it” because it’s what they’ve been conditioned (brainwashed?) to think. I think women are only recently coming to terms with the fact that they don’t, in fact, need to breed and that’s OK (it’s also okay if you want to have kids, but for the right reasons, please).

I’d love for mothers to ask themselves what they would’ve done with those nine months of torture being pregnant and the following 18 years if they’d chose not to procreate?

Couples realizing they have nothing in common after their kids leave the nest is a huge problem, methinks. I’ve watched couples have kids and never again have hobbies of their own. Sad.com.

Will the media please stop reinforcing this untrue fantasy that people, and women in particular, are incomplete if they don’t have children? Please, please, please.

Travel, have dinner parties, spend time with your friends, go take a cooking class, get a PhD… there are a plethora of other options besides having kids.

Why having children is bad for your marriage

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Do We Judge Married Women Who Keep Their Last Names?

This video was super interesting, and really surprising, to be quite honest. I hadn’t expected that we’d progressed enough as a society to have as equally high opinions of women who choose not to take their husband’s last names. It turns out the opinions of women who keep their own last name are higher. They’re regarded as more independent, they are assumed to make more money and be more intelligent. 

Of course this isn’t always the case, as a couple of my girlfriends have taken their husband’s last names and they’re not stupid by any means. Though it’s oftentimes to replace their own hard-to-spell last names so they’re more than happy to get rid of it. Perhaps they’re just more traditional, which is neither good nor bad.

I do believe the custom is highly outdated though, dating back to when women were considered property of their husbands being the reason they took their husband’s last name. They pretty much had no choice.

I think that since women, and people in general, are getting married later and later in life, it makes sense that fewer women are changing their last names. Marrying later in life means you probably already have your career established and probably have made a name for yourself in said-field. If you’re going to be perceived as smarter and more independent, you’re probably not going to want to change that perception, especially by male colleagues if you give up your last name easily (as sexist and shitty-sounding as that is, it’s still true).

I never planned on changing my last name if I ever married someone. I’m not traditional and I don’t ever want to be “Mr. and Mrs. (Insert Husband’s Name).” Just because we signed a piece of paper doesn’t mean I don’t get my name on mail anymore. 

That’s also a lot of paperwork and that sounds like a huge pain in the ass. When I sent this to my dude and he said, “Oh wow, that’s interesting. But I wouldn’t expect you to take my last name anyways.” Phew. Glad we got that out of the way. I’m glad it wasn’t a deal breaker for him (just to be clear, we have seriously discussed getting married exactly zero times). 

I told him I expected him to take my last name anyways 😉

Do We Judge Married Women Who Keep Their Last Names?