Hi, I’m Jane, and I am an over-sharer. I didn’t always used to be this way, but ever since I turned twenty-five I’ve been a bit loose-lipped (pun intended). There is little that I won’t share with a semi-willing audience, and when you first meet me, there is a good chance that you’ll either go home with me, or get an earful of stories about people who have. My boyfriend can vouch for this (both parts).
So, now that you know the first of many important things there are to know about me, let’s just skip all of the niceties and head right to couple’s therapy together. For our first session, I will over-share at you about my struggle to tame the self-sabotaging beast that is me, while living within the same four walls as the person I love, and still, after all these months, want to impress. (UPDATE: this morning my boyfriend snapped a photo of my sleeping Chihuahua nestled between my butt cheeks. Upon examining the photo, I noticed what I first thought was one of her whiskers but was actually an abnormally dark hair attached to me…So we can go ahead and scratch that whole thing I said about “impressing”).
Single people are made to believe, by every media outlet, our rich and perpetually on vacation married friends, and Ryan Gosling, that entering into a relationship is an across-the-board problem solver. That sharing a life together and planning for babies and marriage and then doing those expensive things is all smooth sailing. They are not. Nobody ever talks about the “dark underbelly of coupled living,” like the times where you can’t stop crying and you have no idea why and JUST GET AWAY FROM ME.
The thing about relationships (or at least my relationship) is that I always want to be fun-and-sexy me, not stressed-out-about-work-and-money-me. I want my lover to imagine that I am an indestructible, sexually insatiable woman warrior that can cook a four-course meal after a full day of work while simultaneously bringing him to orgasm multiple times. As women, we are conditioned to smile and eat lots of salad (or maybe laugh while eating said salad), and though our educations and mothers have hopefully taught us otherwise, it can still be a tough social constraint to un-know.
My relationship has meant saying farewell to an era of measuring self-worth in terms of sexual desirability, and to slutty romps, and thus their good frenemies regret and self-loathing. But, the scary thing about giving up “the life” and shacking up is that the only mask left to hide behind is of the cucumber/grapefruit exfoliating variety (while in your shared bathroom).
But, love is not a conspiracy designed to destroy your sense of self worth and independence (thought at times it will have similar effects). My love for this person is also teaching me to be patient and unconditionally loving toward myself (and him), through all of the awkward moments/sloppy sexual mishaps/and disappointments caused by poor communication and PMS induced (and overall) insanity that happen along the way. You may be surprised to learn that someone of my caliber, with the prestigious title of sex/relationship editor at an online magazine/fancy blog, has ever felt like anything less than an erotic goddess and literary genius, but I have. (Once). So this is what I’ve learned from that time, and from my two-year spin around the relationship block: vulnerability breeds the true intimacy that all of us are on the quest for, even though getting there can feel like vomiting all over the fantasy that took so much time to carefully construct.
So embrace your armpit stubble, let him rub your feet even when you’re long overdue for a pedicure, get too full on pizza to fuck, tell him shove it when he tells you to stop picking your infected in-grown, get drunk and scream at him about his ex-girlfriend (even though they don’t speak anymore) and then the next morning deny deny deny that you were wasted. And mostly importantly, make sure you report back to me afterward. See, don’t you feel so free already? Relationships are FUN.