Yesterday was St. Valentine’s Day, hailed — and griped about — as the most romantic holiday of the year. Yesterday also marked my fourteenth “dating” anniversary with SwingBot (as opposed to our wedding anniversary). On this double-whammy of romantic days, what did we do?
SwingBot went on a weekend-long excursion somewhere a few hours away, while I stayed home alone. Not many people would call that arrangement very romantic, I suspect. Nor would they be charmed by the conversation I want to mention here.
As SwingBot drove us home from an outing last week, we discussed communication in relationships, and the societal norm of assuming that marriage should be miserable. He had been reading Reddit threads in which people complained about their relationships, but ultimately seemed to feel their woes were standard, normal, and unchangeable.
SwingBot commented, “It’s amazing how so many relationships would be better if people just talked to their partners.” This conversation eventually evolved into a discussion of happiness within a relationship, and some confessions.
We each have pondered leaving the other.
Not just passing thoughts, either. He has thought about what he would pack to move into the RV. I have thought about where I could go that would be good for the pets and me, including whether I could afford it and what kind of job would support my lone life.
“That’s bad,” you say. “No,” I say, “It isn’t.” It is not bad because we explored these thoughts and analyzed our options.
We considered our lives alone compared to our lives with each other. I sometimes cause SwingBot stress — enough that he considers leaving — but he ultimately feels the benefits he gets from our life together outweigh those negative moments. SwingBot sometimes frustrates me — enough that I consider leaving — but I ultimately feel the benefits I get from our life together outweigh those negative moments.
We each have given ending our relationship genuine thought, and have each decided that we prefer to stay together. We each ask of each other: Do not stay if I make you unhappy. For now — meaning fourteen years and counting — we each make the conscious, deliberate decision that staying together is more beneficial than parting.
That might not sound pretty in a song, but I prefer that over being with someone who stays with me out of apathy, or laziness, or societal expectation, or because opting for another way simply has not crossed his mind yet.
Happy fourteen years of relationship together, SwingBot! I hope we enjoy at least fourteen more. 🙂