Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Changing The Rules

Every relationship has a point where it happens. Some of us try it when we're still dating- some of us wait until we've been married a few weeks, some have the idiot idea to change the rules after a half-century. But we all do it. Don't we?

My husband and I are approaching our first anniversary this weekend and I am happy to report that we have made it thus far without a single serious argument. Quite an acheivement considering the fact that we actually had been in each others company for approximately 3 months before getting married.

We met over the internet and became pen pals- different countries- an ocean apart. Pen pals for more than two years before we actually met face to face. During that two years, we became best friends. We e-mailed each other, we chatted on the phone an hour every day, (Bellsouth and AT&T loved us and sent us B-day and Christmas cards each year), we spend his 6 week holiday making trips to different states along the eastern seaboard. We discussed everything under the sun and debated everything as well. We knew where each other stood on almost every possible subject.

And so far "The Rules", as we defined them, haven't changed for us.

But other couples have their own set of rules. You know the ones-What they consider cheating, what they consider flirting, where the defining lines are not to cross. And the rules do change with each new phase of the relationship. When they get in trouble is when they make the big commitment-no matter what phase that happens to be- and then decide to start changing the rules. Usually without discussing the changing of them with the significant other.

All of the sudden, things that were a big no-no aren't quite so cut and dried when a cute co-worker seems to be hanging aroung becoming more of a friend than they were 6 months before. Suddenly having a drink or two doesn't seem like such a big deal before heading home. And then the following week, or month, it doesn't seem like such a big deal to go to their house instead of the local bar & grill for that drink. Pretty soon having a swim in the pool there isn't such a big thing either. Neither is skinny dipping the following month. And then things aren't so fun at home anymore. Because the rules have changed. There is now another more seamy set of rules that apply to the relationships between the committed couple and the new friends couple. YUK!
Too much.

On the less serious side there are also the simpler rules that change. The unspoken but understood rules, like bathroom time is private time. The first time you're both late for work that one goes completely out the window and it is HARD to go back to PBT, (Private Bathroom Time) , once that happens.

One of my personal favorites is when the female says not a word about the male putting the "seat" down while they are dating. Then after they are committed it becomes a huge point of contention.

Excuse me- But WE don't put the seat UP for them- why should they have to put it DOWN for us? And why doesn't the female bring it up before the "commitment"??

Why is it that most people think that just because they love someone they have to do everything together?

Or the exact opposite- why do some people begin to think that they don't want to do anything together? One or the other of the couple begins to want to do things seperately? Go out with "their" friends. Go for trips or vacations by themselves. I even know one couple who have been married forever and they go out and go to seperate spots for dinner because they can't stop thinking of themselves long enough to compromise on a place to eat! What the heck kind of a relationship is that? When did they change the rules? More importantly- why did they change or why did they LET them change?

If the rules of the relationship change at some point- will the relationship change? Will it change and make the relationship stronger- or will it ultimately destroy it?

Or worse than either- will it just stagnate?

This is in no way a reflection of how I personally feel in MY relationship- I am still the clingy one in ours to be honest. I WANT to do everything together- The shopping, whether it's at the Dress Barn for me a dress or at the local Home Depot to look at power tools for my husband, or at Toys-R-Us shopping for a new toy or game for us. (Yes we actually DO). I want to ride to the mountains together and have picnics, pay the bills together, snuggle on the couch together, cook and clean together, fish and shoot together. I have had enough of doing things on my own and I adore spending time with my hubby.

BUT- on the other hand, I don't mind the occasional time spent apart when he is target shooting and I am reading a book- or whether I am off fishing while he is catching 40 winks before dinner.

I don't think anything will change for us because we discuss everything together- and that's OUR set of rules.

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