I have always been an advocate of your significant other being your best friend, your one person that you can be 110% yourself with no matter what. I recently learned that I need to be stop being so WTF-y about the differences among couples and their interactions. I’ve also realized that I need to stop feeling bad when I do have these WTF thoughts; because I’m not judgmental or holding it against anyone—you do what you have to do, whatever makes you happy—but I do have opinions. And if they’re negative, then that’s all right, I’m entitled to them—so long as they don’t make me mean or rude.
All of that having been said, I am so frustrated with all of these articles suggesting that you can’t be yourself in front of your significant other. Articles like this one in Cosmo absolutely infuriate me. I went on a for real Facebook rant about it.
Personal photo / Forgive me for my MS Paint editing skills.
I feel like I need to add in a lot of disclaimers here to avoid confusions or misconceptions: I realize that not everybody is as open as Mr. Palm Tree and I are. Our other roomie/my MOH Mem frequently cracks up to the point of tears over simple discussions we have (and also, the altercations we get into that involve me spraying him with air freshener, but that’s beside the point). We are just open, no-holds-barred people. And, for the record, MOH is like that, too. I cannot tell you the last time any of us actively closed the bathroom door all the way—even back in our apartment, when it was literally off the hallway/right next to the kitchen and not removed. (I think this is a result of knowing each other for 13-plus years, though).
Personal photo / Again with the MS Paint—sorry! The only two people you can see are MOH and me—circa summer 1998. For real.
I also want to state that I do not want everyone to be like us. But I am so, so sad for the couples who feel like abiding by Rule #7 according to Cosmo: “Maintaining your feminine mystique by never putting on deodorant, cleaning your ears, or clipping your toenails in front of him.” Really, inserting a Q-tip into your ear is going to ruin your relationship? Oh, Lord, they don’t even want to know about my legs during the winter (as evidenced in my intro post ).
Or some of the couples who feel like they cannot engage in their “single” behaviors. Why can’t you stay in bed until noon? An excerpt from this New York Times article:
Instead, he observes what he calls “The Day of Chad,” something he eagerly anticipates whenever his girlfriend goes out of town. “It consists of me doing the dumbest things possible,” he said. “I would feel guilty if anyone else saw them.” What are some examples? “I’ve been known to drink Champagne in the shower at 8 a.m.,” Mr. Griffith said. “I’ll play Madden NFL Football for 10 hours straight, eat a French bread pizza for every meal of the day.”
Granted, I’ll give it to “Chad”—I get it. You let a little bit loose when there is literally no one around. Anyone remember the Friends episode where Rachel is naked and singing into a spoon, only to discover Ross can see her? When Mr. Palm Tree had his old job and would work the evening shift at the same time as MOH Mem, I would take advantage of having the TV to myself and not having to talk to anyone. But I sincerely despise being alone, and if these shenanigans lasted longer than the six to eight hours of their respective shifts, I’d lose my mind. This is a personal quirk, I know, but I would MUCH rather just have someone be around—even if we aren’t speaking or are in completely different rooms.
But I never engage in behavior that is “private” or belongs in a specific “only when alone” category. I have zero problem burning through a season of a favorite show in a day, or eating whatever the heck I want in front of either of them—especially Mr. PT. Just as he has absolutely zero problem about letting his…um, flatulence (which should really be bottled and used as a torturing mechanism—for real) go as he sees fit, or staying up all night to play a new video game (anyone else lose their significant others to Diablo III?). NOR SHOULD HE. And I have news: If he expected me to maintain the mystery by “pretending to be very busy and important” by telling him “Yeah, I’ll be home later, I just have this thing I have to stop by” when I’m “just going to get a mani” (#29 on Cosmo’s list, for the record), he’s been super duper disappointed for almost a decade. I don’t even get manicures.
In all seriousness, why in the hell would someone feel the need to make him/herself SEEM busy and important, or SEEM mysterious—especially at the engagement point in your relationship? Isn’t that dishonest and deceitful? Aren’t you hiding yourself from your significant other? Furthermore, think about your significant other doing whatever behavior to you. Wouldn’t you be hurt? It’s like the scene in Knocked Up where Leslie Mann finds Paul Rudd fantasy baseball’ing with his friends instead of working like he said: It’s not that he’s into fantasy baseball, it’s because he lied (…and a bunch of other reasons, obviously, but that’s the one that applies here).
Image via YouTube / “I like Spiderman!”
Wouldn’t it be the same thing? How is this even remotely acceptable? How is this advice?
Again, friends, I get it: A lot of people do have a sense of mystery between them. Even my favorite and most related-to characters Lily and Marshall from HIMYM didn’t go to the bathroom in front of each other until a few seasons ago. (I don’t know why the bathroom is my go-to example…obsessed with bowel movements, I suppose.) But Mr. Palm Tree and I grew up together. We’ve known each other for almost as long as we can remember. Two days after we get married, we’ll be celebrating our nine-year anniversary. Mystery has long since given way to a sense of comfort and acceptance, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Where do you stand on this issue? If you also have “secret single behavior,” what are some of the behaviors you’ll be reserving for “alone” time?
Also: Mrs. Pin Cushion wrote a series of posts about relationships that were really interesting. She polled various readers on things like behaviors, arguments, what is shared, etc. If you’d like to check them out, you can start here.