I’m Married … But I Need to See Other People
I have never ever said the romantic phrase uttered by so many couples, “I married my best friend.” That’s because it isn’t exactly true for me. I understand why and how it can be other peoples’ reality, though. I can even get why it might be an ideal. Let me explain my reality.
I collect people. (Not in the Pokémon sense of “gotta catch ‘em all.” I don’t see people as collectible items, to be clear.) I’m an #AwkwardBlackGirl, so when I find good people who “get” me, I make an effort to keep them in my life. It bothers me when I hear folk say people enter your life for a season. Your relationships are what you make them; a friendship withers when you decline to maintain it.
Because of my penchant for loving people hard, I have quite a few people who have been my “best friend” at one time or another. Two of those women were my backbone when I met my husband 8 years ago. I never wanted to abandon my friendships because of romance. I have not always succeeded in that, but my friends remain very important to me. I don’t say “I married my best friend” because my husband was one of my best friends.
In the part of the marriage vows where it says, “forsaking all others,” does it mean all other loves, or all other people? I don’t believe marriage is to be an island. I do not believe married people can fulfill each other’s every need. Not only do married couples need support, but they need outlets outside of each other–to vent, to laugh, to do activities their spouse may not enjoy.
I’m married and I need to see other people.
One of my favorite Instagram accounts is Miserable Men, which features men of all races, creeds, and backgrounds languishing while their wives browse shopping racks. My husband hates shopping. I relish it. He has indeed been one of those “miserable men”seeking the nearest bench while I go cray cray in the mall. I try not to drag him shopping. If I want to go on a mini shopping spree, I have girlfriends for that.
Even beyond shopping, there are some Saturday mornings when I need to get out of the house and get a vanilla chai latte with my girl. I need to catch up on her love life. I need to talk about how I’m tired of doing twist-outs every other day. My girls are my cheerleaders and I am their sounding board. I need the vibrancy of my female friendships to balance the male energy of my spouse.
My husband doesn’t feel the same way. He has one good friend, his one best guy friend, and he’s fine with it. He is the one who says folk are here for reasons/seasons; he doesn’t lament the slow death of a friendship like I do. I worry about feeling isolated if we move to place where I have no friends, because he doesn’t need very many.
Do we ever bump heads on this? Sure. I can stay up and out for hours on end at the same get-together, flitting around the room talking to my friends. He’s ready to go after about two hours. When he walks over to me and says, “Whenever you’re ready to go, it’s cool,” he really means he’s ready to go… right now! I always have to remember his tolerance for social engagement when we’re out.
Ultimately, #husbae understands I need to see other people besides him.
He gives me room to maintain my friendships–be it online, on the phone, or in person–and I so appreciate that. He feels less pressure to be my Everything. I get to enjoy romantic comedies he feels are beneath him. Win-win. Is my husband my best friend? Absolutely, but he doesn’t have to be my only one. I dare say our marriage is stronger for it.
How do you feel about friendships and romantic partners? Should we keep our friends when we join with our loves?
Originally published at TrulyTafakari.com.
For more from wife, mama and word ninja Dara Tafakari, check out trulytafakari.com where you can find Dara’s writing on the crazy collisions of life, race, popular culture, and the occasional nerd activity–with an offbeat dose of humor and clarity.