Can we just stop with all this #CoupleGoals stuff that just makes the majority of women (and perhaps men) feel like garbage?
Do I need to see absurdly fit and attractive couples working out in the gym and the man using the lady like she’s some sort of human barbell whilst I’m polishing off a sleeve on Thin Mints? Do my eyes deserve to be assaulted with pictures of you and your beloved standing on a sandy beach with your names written inside a sand heart when the last time I was on a beach was when Bush was still in office?
Can I get a real-life post about how your husband has some sort of weird and unattractive habit like collecting his toenail clippings in a jar for every 20 perfectly constructed social media posts about the flowers he bought you for “no reason” (he stayed out with his buddies too late and he knows he’s toast) or the drool-worthy Caribbean vacation (that maxed out your credit card).
I NEED to know that even though your life looks incredible in pictures, it isn’t perfect.
I see on social media all of my many “friends” posting things that inadvertently make my marriage seem crappy in comparison. What is wrong with me that my husband doesn’t surprise me with a romantic weekend? Why didn’t I get an elaborate proposal on a trip to Europe like some scene out of the movies?
I am often reminded of a former coworker that was always getting flowers and gifts sent to work. She’d gush about how great her marriage was and how she and her husband would sit on the porch holding hands and enjoying the sunsets. She made everyone jealous by showing off how wonderful her life was…then it turned out she had been having an affair with a coworker. She created her own narrative and showed people what she wanted them to see, and it wasn’t the truth.
This past year has opened my eyes a bit about these “perfect couples” I’ve been so jealous of and that I’ve let influence the way I feel about my own relationship.
For starters, two of my dearest friends who were married to each other seemed to have everything. They acted genuinely in love and had been high school sweethearts. Having not had children yet of their own, they served as aunt and uncle figures to my kids. She and her husband spent their free time renovating their home and he was always doing some sort of project she wanted to be done. They went on trips to different fun and interesting places and even donned Mickey Mouse ears at DisneyWorld. Whenever we were with them they joked around and teased each other like they were goofy teenagers. By all accounts, they personified “couple goals” to me.
Then what seemed like out of nowhere, it all blew up. Not only was there infidelity on the husband’s part, but apparently, it had been going on a while and with more than one woman. He had been lying to his wife and everyone around him and leading a double life. My heart broke for her. And since this happened, I have had several other friends get their souls crushed by discovering their own spouses’ infidelities, secret addictions, and instances of domestic abuse.
I understand that people tend to only put their highlight reel on the internet for others to see, but it was shocking to me to discover just how badly I misinterpreted what their lives were really like.
I am sure some couples truly are blissfully happy and they stargaze every night and take cooking classes and they never have morning breath or stink up the bathroom. But I have to wonder how many of our friends carefully construct visions of domestic tranquility to try to convince us (and maybe themselves) that they are content?
I have a wonderful husband. I really do. He’s not perfect but with the craziness that he has to put up with, I will certainly cut him a break. I have not once just gotten flowers for “no reason”. We haven’t taken an actual vacation since well before the kids came along. We may not have a bunch of flashy and exciting things to boast about for my Facebook peeps, but we do have something pretty special.
In the time we’ve been together we have had friends and relatives pass away and in my times of loss, I had someone to hold me, comfort me and let me literally cry on his shoulder.
I had someone to help calm me and talk me down when I was having crippling anxiety attacks so bad that I was becoming agoraphobic.
We went through tragedies – a devastating F5 tornado and soon after a violent near-death experience – and because of both of those, we became even stronger as a couple.
I can tell him anything. I can be completely myself and not have to pretend to be anything I’m not. He sees me with grey roots and chin hairs and can tell me with a straight face that he doesn’t see anything wrong with me. He sees my flabby body and saggy boobs and says that he thinks I’m beautiful. I can also go to the potty and talk to him while he’s taking a shower – how much closer can you get?
So it’s not sunset strolls and jet setting. It’s not scented candles, sexy music, or rose petals on the bed. It’s not always pretty and it isn’t something you’d write about in a romance novel but it’s actual REAL love and isn’t that really what #couplegoals should be about?
Also, he brought me home Girl Scout cookies the other day.
You can keep your flowers.