August 04, 2002
Friday Group Therapy 1.6

1. What are your three favorite things about being in a relationship?
Okay, I'm assuming you mean significant other sort of relationship here, but some of my friendships are close enough that these apply there as well.

I like that there is someone who loves me, even when I'm bitchy and horrible. And understands that sometimes I am, and sometimes they might not *like* me, but they love me.

I like having someone who is there with me, supporting me as I support them, and sort of mentally there as well, on the same wavelength or at least close enough by. Knowing I am not alone in both my successes and my failures.

I like having someone who shares my interests and that I can do things with, but with enough independance that we can also both go our own way.

2. What are your three least favorite things about being in a relationship?
Extreme dependency, blame, and manipulation. Of course, those three things might not be considered part of a healthy relationship in the first place.

If I talk about now... well, I love Kevin with all my heart. But there have been moments of curiosity and times that my life might have been different if Kevin hadn't already been in it. But he is and I love him and would never hurt him. And yeah, he knows about these things... hells, there was one crush everyone I knew knew about -- I wore my heart on my sleeve.

3. How much free time do you have to do "you" stuff? Is it enough?
*laughs* Oh, that has nothing to do with my husband! I have plenty of time to d me things when its just us. But the kids... now that's another matter. Kevin never was a time sink for me, nor me for him. We are blessed with a fantastic understanding of each other and that neither of us is overly dependant upon the other for our needs and entertainment.

4. How does your current {or last one if you are between relationships} compare with your parents relationship while you were growing up?
In some ways, eerily similar. But in my mind, that's not a bad thing. And I think that we have managed to go past some of the road bumps my parents met, which is also a good thing.

5. Tell us about your first relationship.
*dry laugh* This is not a happy story. I was sixteen, and crossed over the fine line between hate and love and fell for this guy who was really annoying. We dated for something like um... 6 months? I don't even remember now. He was the one with the bad kissing technique that made me hate kumquats. And he was stubborn and not particularly mindful of my wishes. He was all set to move onto the next level of our physical relationship whether I intended to or not (I didn't). And when I broke up with him he tried to pull something on me to guilt me out and landed himself in the hospital getting his stomach pumped. And as worried as I was about him, there was a little part of me who was glad to hear how painful a procedure that was because I was SO PISSED at him and his manipulations by then.

6. Tell us about your favorite relationship.
Just thinking brings a smile to my face. Since I'm focussing on significant others, that would be Kevin.

By the summer after my first year of grad school, I had been single for most of a year. I had had a bad/stupid fling with my ex the summer before (dumb dumb dumb -- when you break up with someone STAY broken up, that's what I learned). I had had a short 2 month boyfriend. But otherwise, I was single.

But I was still pretty disillusioned on the whole relationship concept. I didn't want anything heavy or serious. I just wanted a little fling to take the edge off and have some fun.

I met Kevin through the games club at RPI. It turns out I'd met him a couple of times at Genericon the years I'd gone while I was still at Union. Then I came to RPI for grad school and met him (and a bunch of other people) again. We were in the same Champions campaign, and we'd flirted some at the beginning of the year. I'd somehow gotten the impression he had a girlfriend back home (which was incorrect) so I hadn't continued the flirtation in any way. But as summer drew closer, I got bolder and braver and started hitting him over the head with bricks, so to speak.

We had mutual friends who saw what was going on. They saw me being about as overt as I could be, and Kevin acting as dense as he could be. They tried to help. *laughs* It was a very fun and I have very fond memories of this time in my life. At one point, when I had thrown subtlety completely by the wayside, Kevin admitted that yes, he knew I was throwing myself at him, but he hadn't decided what to do about it yet. We had long conversations about life and relationships and agreed that sex without caring really wasn't much at all.

And so we started dating. When my summer fling was a year and a half old, Kevin told me he loved me. Actually, the quote was (on the phone, new years day, at 3 in the morning or so because he was at Officer Basic Course in Missouri) -- "I love you." *pause* "No, this doesn't mean I'm going to marry you."

I didn't laugh. But I knew things had changed. This wasn't a summer fling, and it wasn't even a simple relationship anymore. When Kevin came back from OBC he moved in with me. This was in 1992. In 1994 Kevin and I talked about marriage. We agreed that we couldn't get married in 1995 because none of us could afford to get married the same year we (and my parents) were going to the WorldCon in Glasgow, Scotland. But before that trip we had the family diamond reset in a ring for me, and I said to Kevin, "Does this mean I can start planning the wedding?" And then he proposed to me.

We were married in 1996 after having been together for more than 5 years. We honeymooned in LA before and after the World Science Fiction Convention. I want the Worldscon to be back in LA in '06 so we can have our tenth anniversary there as well as taking our kids to Disney.

Now we have two kids (4 1/2 years old and 8 months old), a house, a lot of job stress... and we argue and are pretty much a normal couple. We have a pretty well distributed set of responsibilities, and are very well adjusted. We like doing things together, and we like doing things apart. Kevin isn't jealous over my friendships with guys, which is a GOOD thing. And he is perhaps the one person in this world that I can actually live with.

Not bad for a summer fling, hm? I just hope summer continues to last a REALLY long time. Like at least another 50 years or so. *smiles*

7. Tell us about your worst relationship.
I have a nice history of bad relationships. Bad ideas on my part, or misinterpretations, or good things that went horribly bad.

I started to really babble on this one, and catalog every mess I've made. But then I realized that the one that stands out last all of a week, in grad school, and I'd managed to forget to even mention him when I was talking about that year above.

I think I've tried to erase him from my mind. He was my biggest mistake. I wanted something... someone... that year. He was interesting, and attractive, and far too young for me (3 year difference in age, more in attitude). He was attracted to me because he thought I was wild because I wrote erotica. A lot of his attitudes about the physical side of things, in retrospect, reminded me of my first boyfriend. It wasn't a give and take. It wasn't particularly great. And I really regretted the whole mess afterwards. A part of me still does, just because it wasn't well thought through and I felt rushed and like I was forced into making a decision I shouldn't have.

But that's all water under the bridge and a long time ago. If I met him today, I wouldn't hate him. Which is more than I can say for some of the people in my past.

Posted by Deb Atwood at August 04, 2002 10:32 AM | TrackBack
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Posted by: jenn on December 22, 2004 03:12 AM
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