happily remarried after widowhood


Marriage Day

Marriage Day (Photo credit: Fikra)

Krya Sedgwick, actor and wife of fellow actor Kevin Bacon, mentioned in a recent interview that she still gets the romantic butterfly effect when she sees her husband.

“When he walks into a room…my heart gets a little fluttery and I think, ‘Oh! He’s so cute. He’s so hot.’ ”

Married now for 23 years, her revelation that her husband still does it for her and that,

“He’s still a mystery to me,”

because she learns new things about him even after so much time together actually made the news outside of the ladies magazine circles.

With marriage and monogamy in the “not cool” or “so grandma retro” menu columns these days, it’s not hard to see why Sedgwick’s enduring fascination with her husband astounds the public as much as the discovery of a long-lost pre-historic fish off the coast of New Zealand. It’s a Ripley’s Believe or Not item in a culture where the majority of adults define themselves as single and those who do couple default to common co-habitation with the occasional side order of child or two. Marriage is viewed as archaic, useless and the death knell of sexual/romantic love.

Which makes one wonder why gay people clamor to marry, doesn’t it?

Except I don’t wonder.  Marriage comes with all sorts of nifty legal attachments which protect couples in case of emergency and it bestows a sort of maturity and realism that many adults today prefer to pretend isn’t necessary because it interferes with the American notion of freedom to pursue our largely solo happiness and stay eternally youthful – if only in our own minds.

But that’s a topic for another day. Today’s topic is flutter and mystery.

While I am not at all surprised by people who are surprised to find that sex settles into the comfortably known after the honeymoon period of a relationship logically and predictable moves on to the build stage, I am not at all sure what is meant when some talk about cooling passions or loss of romance. I suppose that some people don’t understand that love has stages and that “wooing” is a different phase than “falling in love” and then “love” itself. It’s not as if we are well-schooled in relationship. In fact, beyond the plumbing aspects (if that), young people must most often rely on their parents (iffy), peers (iffier still) and the media (downright disastrous) for their relationship education.

So while the legion stares in wonder at the Sedgewick-Bacons, I just nod sagely. I get this.

Even after five years – which is still pretty young even if you morph by the dog year standard – I find my husband a near endless source of fascination. How could I not? He is me and yet not me at all. Just when I think I know everything, it turns out I knew nothing at all really.

Rob fascinates me. Our relationship still tickles and amazes me. Our life, though perhaps on the surface routine enough, is like a present within a gift within yet another festooned party box.

I feel flutter. I am drawn to the enduring mystery that is like a game of Clue that changes, and yet doesn’t, with every dice roll.

What I don’t understand is how so many people don’t understand.


English: Comfort in Grief

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There is an unsurprising, yet disturbing, number of dating and remarried widowed folk who seem to feel that coupling again is part and parcel of the “healing process”. It’s something to be done for distraction’s sake, or to ease the emotional aches and pains. They regard new partners as means rather an ends, who should give way to urns as centerpieces, constant chatter about the past and memorabilia of all shapes and sizes.

Let’s be clear. Dating is about seeking new companionship – casually or for the long-term – and can only really be about the two living people engaging in the relationship. Your late spouse is not part of the equation in any active sense of the word.

Recently a commenter voiced the common lament of many widowed back out in the dating trenches,

If you truly love us, you would embrace our lost love as much as we do.

And if you loved them, you’d not expect such a thing because though a new partner can be understanding, sympathetic and even feel bad for what you’ve been through – grieving isn’t a date night activity. They can’t feel what you feel and to ask them to periodically put the brakes on their romance to cater to your heartbreak over someone else is cruel.

At some point, in order to truly be ready to open up to love and a relationship, a widowed person needs to deal with the past and then put it away. In some cases, this packing up includes tangible objects. No one should expect his/her new love to live in a museum to a dead love or to man up daily against feelings of jealousy or inadequacy.

There is nothing obvious in our home that points to the fact that both Rob and I have deceased spouses. We are five years into a relationship that with luck has decades to go. In order for our relationship to flourish, it needs its own space to grow. It needs to be free of shadows, comparisons, and artifacts that speak of past marriages.

Even though we both understand that memories linger, you won’t catch either of us expecting the other to share feelings about a past with which the other wasn’t privy.

Expecting a new partner to listen to endless references or stories is unfair to them and ultimately unproductive if the aim is building a new relationship. Don’t use someone. You are not entitled to make yourself feel better at someone else’s emotional expense. And if you aren’t ready to put your late spouse in your past where he/she belongs, don’t date. You aren’t ready.

A new love should inspire you to make room and dream about the future.

 


rob and i the night before our wedding

Five years ago today I was home from work with yet another sinus infection, checking my work email and taking care of a bit of business virtually when I received an email from Rob proposing that we take our friendship in another direction, a romantic one.

He confessed that the thing uppermost on his mind anymore was me, and though it took him by surprise, and couldn’t have been less timely, he saw no reason to let a good opportunity pass him by. Oh, and by the way, did I feel the same? He kind of thought I did, but if I didn’t, please don’t be creeped out.

In typical Virgo fashion, he went on to outline a plan for us to virtually date and eventually meet up over my Spring Break to take a trip together to the West Coast. What did I think?

I was stunned. I had to call my BFF, who simply said, “I told you so.”

She had been convinced weeks earlier that Rob saw me as more than a friend. In fact, she’d spent a good deal of our lunch date the day before extolling his virtues and trying to convince me to overcome my hesitancy and simply pursue him, which was something I wouldn’t do because Rob was quite vocal about wanting to wait until after the first anniversary of Shelley’s death before dating again. He also frowned vigorously at the behind (and not so behind) the scenes meat market on Ye Olde Widda board. Some of his disgust was just the hypocrisy. Dating was routinely trashed and daters harshly hung up for public flaming, but the reality is that it was more common than the board matrons cared to acknowledge. And partly, it was due to the fact that he’d been a victim of widda stalking and he shied away from being seen in that light himself.

His closing line included a bit about not been able to breathe properly until he’d received my reply, so I wrote “breathe” and “yes”.

And that’s not quite all there was to that but it was the beginning of what is now.

Hollywood marriages are measured in dog years, so at five together ourselves, Rob and I are particularly old married folk. Sometimes it seems as though I have known Rob forever and in a spiritual sense, I think that is true, but it catches me by surprise a bit remembering that I have not known him always.

He’s had his desktop screen saver off for some time but switched it on again this past weekend, and all these old photos popped up. Pictures of Mick and Edie when they were small. Family pictures of long ago. One picture of Shelley came up from their time in San Diego. It was an impromptu goofy shot with her in her pajamas and Rob blushed to his toes, looked sheepish and said, “I didn’t know that was on there.”

All roads lead to where you are standing right now, don’t they? A good thing to remember.

Happier anniversaries are a better place to put one’s energy. Today is certainly in my top five and probably the most fortunate day of this life of mine.


English: A simple illustration of a cake with ...

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My birthday present from Rob arrived just today. It came from Arkansas, which is fitting, by way of Florida, which is just odd. He’s been obsessively keeping tabs on it via the tracking number for  over a week, quizzing me daily on the contents of the mail.

“The package you’ve been waiting for showed up today,” I told him when I called his office after lunch.

“It’s your package,” he said.

“Should I open it now or wait for you?”

“Can you wait?” he asked, which was silly because of course I can, but I know he can’t.

“Okay,” I reply.

“Oh go ahead and open it,” he said, “and check to make sure that it hasn’t been tampered with. Remember what happened to Unbearable.”

Our virtual friend, Unbearable, lost a rare book in a tragic postal heist.

“I paid to have it gift wrapped too,” he added.

It was.  Both in the package and gift-wrapped.  And I pried the gift box open.  It was quite tiny and I couldn’t begin to imagine what I needed – or wanted – that would be housed in such a shiny red box.

Inside was an even tinier satchel of red and when I tipped it upside down, a silver chain and pendant dropped into my hand.

When he asked me weeks ago what I wanted for my birthday, I initially couldn’t think of a thing. I have everything I need and nearly anything it occurs to me to want. It’s a rare and privileged person who can say this, so I don’t do so lightly, but as far as the material goes – I am blessed, if there is such a thing. But when pressed, I did come up with a small list which included: an om sign for my yoga room door and a Buddha for the corner.

“They are incredibly hard to find,” he told me days later, “but I think the alternatives will suit you.”

Dee gave me a set of figurines made in Haiti that they discovered at The Ten Thousand Villages website. Each figure is performing an asana.

And from some vendor in Arkansas, a very special place in our personal lore, he found the pendant and chain.

If either of us believed in coincidence, we’d note the timing of his gift. The anniversary of him sending me a private message back on Ye Olde Widda Board was this last weekend. Neither of us believe in coincidence. Just timing, which has always been quite convenient where we are concerned.

Five years. While mostly it feels as though I have known Rob forever, and he me, the truth is that it’s just five years, which isn’t even forever in dog years. It only brings one to the brink of middle-age.

“It’s beautiful, ” I told him. “Thank you, Baby.”

“Well,” he replied, “It’s been five years and I thought you were due another piece of jewelry.”

The first piece of jewelry Rob gave me was a  gold double heart pendant with a small diamond in the crook of the uppermost heart. The occasion was our very first face to face meeting in Idaho Falls, the anniversary of which is a mere two months away. We’d been “dating” virtually, at his suggestions, for just a month when we met up. With only the rarest of exceptions, I have worn that necklace every day since.

His second gift of bling was my engagement ring barely a month later, which was joined by the wedding band three months after that. To say we moved quickly is overstating because I know couples who’ve moved at twice our speed, but I won’t be surprised if you clucked your tongue back then or if you marvel now. Both responses are within the realm of appropriate.

I am not a jewelry person though I have tried to acquire the habit on and off out of a sense that it is something women do, but aside from wedding rings, the occasional necklace and the odd navel piercing – it’s never took. Rob thinks I should just wear one of the other necklace or else,

“You will look like an old white lady rapper wanna-be,” he said.

I am loathe to give up my hearts but the om is quite becoming and I have already worn out one clasp on the heart necklace, so perhaps it deserves a break.

And I am a bit surprised to be surprised by a gift. Often, when pressed, I end up shopping for myself and letting Rob and Dee choose from my selections, wrap it and present it to me gift fashion. It’s not as unromantic or thoughtless as it sounds. I always get what I need this way and I learned it from my Dad, who used to assign each of us gifts to buy him at Christmas time.  Inevitably he would call me the week before Christmas and say something like,

“I need a new pair of jeans. Waist 34 and inseam 30. Don’t spend too much. Go to Target or J.C. Penney’s. Make sure the pockets are plain. I don’t want any of that damn fancy stitching.” I could hear his eyes roll across the miles as he uttered the last sentence.  He had a low opinion of men who had fancy stitching on their jeans … or wore them prison bitch style.

He was, perhaps, a bit more Virgo than most Virgo’s I know, but he also never had to return things the day after the holiday either.

Surprise isn’t necessary to enhance a gift’s awesome factor when it is from my husband or children, but it is sweet and wonderful and it is another reminder of how, truly, I have everything.


ancient roman marriage

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Two things inspired this post. The first was a comment or two from the Widower Wednesday series referencing the ire of in-laws and adult children whose widower was daring to date without their permission. The second was a news item concerning Sir Paul McCartney’s recent engagement to his soon to be third wife.

All I can really say is, “Huh?”

When I hit adulthood, it never crossed my mind to seek my parents approval of anyone – friends or potential partners. I was an adult. Free to companion as suited me, my life-style and needs. My parents certainly never concerned themselves with my opinions of their friends or even of the relationship they had with each other – the latter of the two clearly being none of my business.

But it seems there is a segment of the adult world – both parent, grown kids and even extended family – who feel that getting judgey and expressing it in all manner just-plain-juvenile-and-wrong is completely fine and normal.

McCartney sought the approval of his grown children before deciding to marry again. Perhaps he felt the need to verify his choice after the particularly disastrous 2nd marriage to a gold-digger a few years ago, or maybe the big kids informed him that all future step-mothers must be vetted by them. Who knows. But why? Why?

If my mother were to date or even marry again (and I would start preparing for the Second Coming in either case because it would surely follow on the heels of something so mind-bogglingly unlikely – you’d just have to know Mom in person, trust me), I would smile and say nothing – to her anyway.  DNOS and I would have plenty to roll our eyes about in private to be sure, but we were raised better than to presume on our parents’ intimate relations.

Rob’s mother recently remarried and he kept his mouth shut throughout the process that led her online to a Catholic dating site and through a whirlwind courtship that made ours look downright puritan and leisurely by comparison. She’s an adult and sound of mind and it’s her life.

FIL shaped up to be a good match but even if he hadn’t, it wasn’t the place of her children to wade in – unasked – and jump up on the nearest high horse to pontificate about it.*

Back in my message board days of new motherhood, I belonged to a group of women who were all first time mothers. We’d met at BabyCenter and took our cadre off to a private group once our kids arrived. Through the course of several years, we shared our lives and a couple of the women lost their mothers and had fathers who dated and remarried. Oh, the angst. Some of it was grief driven and I understood that, and none of them got up to any antics because they were too well brought up for such trailer park drama, but it’s not uncommon for adult children to over-think and have a hard time letting go of the idea that parents aren’t just Mom and Dad trapped forever in the context of our childhoods. They were grown ups long before us and continue to be long after we’ve cultivated big girl and boy lives of our own.

The “being raised properly” thing is likely the culprit. The past couple of decades have seen parents being less the adults and more the friends and allowing children too much input into how a family is governed. Recipe for entitled-to-meddle-in-your-lives-adult-kids, in my opinion. Heavy emphasis on the word “kids”. Some people never let go of the selfish impulses and world view that drove their parents to distraction when they were physically children and is now quite the lodestone now that they are only physically adult.

Edie and Mick were somewhere between taken aback and actively stunned when Rob announced our engagement to them. They knew about my existence, our dating and that was about it. They felt a little out of the loop, but that’s because technically they were. That’s what happens when you go out into the world and focus on your own life: you stop paying a lot of attention to what your parents are doing. In some ways it reminds me of my middle school students who were always incredulous when details of my life slipped into their line of vision. They couldn’t conceive of me outside the role of teacher. Kids have the same stilted vision of Mom and Dad. We are JUST Mom and Dad. So there was no reason for the older girls to know about Rob’s life and he was equally oblivious to their grown up lives too.

But Shelley and Rob raised their girls well and our new family formed and continues to evolve without any reality show drama.

The issue that extended family or friends may take with a new relationship or spouse though is different. Whereas children’s feelings should be taken into account – though not necessarily catered to because the idea that one’s children – especially those underage – have some mystical idiot savant ability to ferret out bad actors is one I wish would simply vanish. Children are not the equivalent of drug sniffing dogs when it comes to people’s character. They are far too self-interested for one and way too young and inexperienced for another.

One’s in-laws or friends, unless they are point-blank asked for an opinion, should just keep their opinions to themselves. And even when asked, they should remember that no one really wants opinions. When you are asked for an opinion what is really required is validation. So validate with a smile because no one gives even the tiniest fuck what you really think. Really.

I am continually astounded by people who put up with people who behave like the cast of Jersey Shore. I don’t have any tolerance for it. Neither my younger brother CB or my youngest sister Baby act out with impunity and when my older nephew got snotty with Rob on his first visit, he was squashed. It didn’t prevent further fires, but he knew I wasn’t putting up with it and I didn’t. We actually packed up and checked into a hotel during our 2008 visit when N1 unleashed one of his classic tantrums and I unceremoniously kicked CB out of the house the afternoon Dad died because he launched into his famous imitation of his substance addled teenaged self. Though I loathed Dr. Phil, the oaf got one thing right – you do teach people how to treat you. The choice to be a doormat in your own existence is entirely yours.

Rob has had to set both his SILs straight about what he will and will not indulge as far as their grief issues go, but by and large, our road has been baby butt smooth compared to the horror shows of some of the women I have encountered in the comment sections here and there.

Stalking, verbal harassment, poisoning the opinions of small grieving children. Not okay. If the party related to these people is not acting, that’s telling, and if you are not drawing hard lines in quick drying cement, telling as well.

We have this idea that drama and the “course of love never did run smooth” means that a relationship is meant to be because adversity is good for romance. That’s just sick twisted Hollywood garbage. As the credits roll, the actors are snug back in real lives and the people on the screen are make-believe.

*Rob’s youngest sister was a bit blistery when she first met him – after the engagement and slightly ahead of the wedding – but Rob didn’t back her up. We all sat, rather uncomfortably, around the table while she had her say. Gee handled the episode with more grace than I would have.


Chevrolet Avalanche Z71 Plus cool exotic car

Image by airgap via Flickr

Rob will tell you that he always seems to end up married to women who stake their claim to the best vehicle, leaving him with the non-comfy and decidedly not cool in an unmanly way ride, and that, ironically in light of this, they are poor drivers in the bargain.

Last night, he related to me that a co-worker inquired about our sun-burst orange metallic (I love the name of the colour more than the colour sometimes) Chevy Avalanche.

“Did you sell your truck?” he asked after noting that Rob drives the very blue and most definitely mom-like Equinox these days.

“No,” and I imagine he sighs a bit and lets his shoulder droop just slightly, “a couple of winters ago, the Equinox had some problems, so I swapped the wife. When spring came, she just wouldn’t give up the truck.”

At this point there are knowing head nods and grimaced smiles which allow them to bond over the shared ritual of “manning up” for the significant other at great personal inconvenience. Every time his co-worker sees Rob climbing in or out of the Equinox now, he will rise just a bit more in the man’s esteem. A true working class hero tooling along in a feminine mobile for his woman.

If he’d really been interested in scoring points, he could have added, “The first wife did the same thing to me with the last Avalanche.”

As it stands, I hear that story. Often. Because we have been married long enough for stories to have made more than one conversation loop.

So this morning, the Avalanche needed to go into the shop for a tune-up in anticipation of holiday travel. Rob drove the Equinox and I followed him in the truck. I would essentially be without wheels for the day but we have a Silverado that technically is for hauling the holiday trailer which I could use if I needed to go into town.

Yes, we have two trucks and an SUV. This is Alberta. It’s like Texas minus the warmth and the religious right.

He pulled in and walked over to the service bay garage doors and motioned me to park alongside other waiting vehicles. The only space was tight and once in, I needed to reverse and back out or I was never going to be able to open the door enough to squeeze out.

In the rearview, I could see Rob – directly behind me, pensive and clearly wishing that he was behind the wheel in my place. Carefully I cranked the wheel – too tightly and I knew that but I was also hyper aware of the fear for his truck being shot at the back of my head like laser-vision in a bad Japanese monster flick – and backed up, bringing the truck too close to the vehicle to my left.

Panic! Danger! There might as well have been little speaker bubbles dancing above Rob’s head as he raced towards the left and attempted to get my attention, but despite his distracting me, I righted the truck and parked. He had the door open in an instance and asked me tersely to turn the engine key so he could get the mileage. I noted the tone but stopped mid-bristle and complied. I had committed the sin of not being him in a driving situation, so his tone was nothing personal. Part Virgo with man DNA. Familiar territory.

As we were heading back to the Equinox and home – this was after his Gitmo like interrogation of the service technician, who could only be grateful that waterboarding is not legal in Canada – I remarked on the “backing up” incident.

“You were a bit grumpily with me,” I said.

“What? I was?” he hadn’t noticed, hence the not taking it personally earlier.

“Oh but you were,” I countered.

“Well, maybe a little, ” he admitted.

We were hip to hip with arms circling as we discussed this and he squeezed me closer.

“You nearly hit that parked truck.”

“I knew exactly where I was and perhaps if you hadn’t been standing right behind the truck as I was backing up, I wouldn’t have come so close. I had to watch you as well as my position.”

He couldn’t fault my logical explanation because it really is a bad idea to stand directly behind a vehicle while it’s reversing course unless you have no choice or are actually being helpful in some manner. I was adjusting myself in a parking lot. Not a lot of tech assistance is needed.

“Okay,” he conceded, “but I was having flashbacks to the first wife backing the last Avalanche into the Astrovan.”

“Perhaps she knew you were glaring driving mojo at her and it distracted her. In which case, I know exactly how she felt.”

Long, long ago in our front drive, Shelley, Rob’s late wife, backed their black Avalanche into the old white Astrovan they’d purchased a decade earlier when they lived in Kansas. The black truck, just for those keeping track, is the one she appropriated from Rob, forcing him into the much more mommish van. It’s a testament to his strong Y gene that this didn’t debilitate him like kryptonite.

“So,” I said, changing the subject, “don’t forget to leave the keys to the white truck on the counter in case I need it.”

“Oh, I am leaving you the Equinox and taking the white truck,” he said.

“Because of the parking thing?”

“Yes, you’d have no sense of where you were in the white truck,” he said. “It would be like having you drive a parade float around all day.”

“And you would be calling me every hour all day wondering how the truck was,” I added.

At this point I am laughing at his sheepish expression. His concern for me, and the truck, was not nearly as close to the top of his agenda as his peace of mind and need to focus on his job today.

“You are so predictable, ” I said.

“You’re going to blog about this, aren’t you?”

“Ya think?”

“You are predictable too, Sweetie,” he said.

And so I am.

*In case you wondered about the title, the whole “second best car” thing reminded me that William Shakespeare left his wife the second best bed in the house in his will. Scholars debate this tidbit with zeal.


Houseplants and Clean Air

Image by Chiot’s Run via Flickr

That’s the title of a post I would write for The Elephant Journal if they didn’t happen to prefer overwrought clichè navel-gazing posts on the evil of marriage or the enlightenment to be found through singularity.

As it is 2011 and we are decades past the women’s liberation movement, one would think that the knee-jerk “men pigs and marriage bad” rhetoric would be considered – if not actually archaic – then at least too tritely tired to form the basis of any arguments where being single by choice was concerned.

But they are not.

Though Rob possesses a similarly low opinion of his gender for the most part, I don’t think that men in general deserve the slagging they get at the hands of women who left unhappy relationships and have “found themselves” as single women.

My personal opinion is that women who see themselves as better off single ought not to have married in the first place due either to inherent personality traits that make co-habitation emotionally tiring or a rather microscopic view of reality that only allows room enough for them and their needs. It would be refreshing to read someone admit that relationships just don’t suit their temperaments or the need to be concerned solely with one’s self because there is nothing wrong with that.

But the articles I’ve run across from women who are militantly single, or single after a string of relationships or a long marriage, inevitably focus on the details to the exclusion of honest explanation.

These women drone on about the maintenance of life – holding a job, running a household and even raising children – as though no female in the history of humanity, anywhere on the planet, hasn’t mastered a single one – ever.

They go on – and on – about “independence” to such a degree that I wonder if perhaps they don’t know what the word really means.

Anyone with an IQ that exceeds a houseplant can live on her own. Financially supporting yourself, taking care of the myriad of daily living details, long-term planning and even parenting aren’t independence milestones. Being a grown up isn’t something they hand out gold stars for doing.

The most recent “look at me! Am I not wonderful because I am single” post at The Elephant Journal was written by a woman two years out of her 25 year marriage. Judging from the photo, she married young, so I suppose her surprise that she can take care of most matters in her life without a husband isn’t too surprising. Though it is disheartening to think that someone in my peer group is so mid-1950’s in a Ronald Reagan kind of way.

She writes that all she needs a man for is a “good fuck and to have someone to pick me up from the airport”, though she admits that sex and a ride home are not beyond her abilities to self-manage either.

But is this a stereotype that women should be crowing about in the 21st century? That “yes, we can!” take care of ourselves?

I left home at 18 and spent the next nearly 16 years taking care of myself. Put myself through university, worked, managed the daily tasks and the crises – big and small – all by my lonesome little self without applause or cookies and milk for my efforts. It was no big deal.

And what’s more, most of the women I knew did the same thing. A fair number of my friends were single well into their 30’s and some are still single now that we are in our 40’s. Though boyfriends came and went, these men were add-ons to our lives not necessities to off-load responsibility on or fix us and our problems.

Being single is not really hard, but like anything else, it can be a monotonous grind over time despite the “freedom” of not having to concern yourself with anyone but you.

I think the point people miss in the war between marriage and single is that they are choices and that neither is utopia. People who whine about either state would be better off looking inward to figure out what is wrong than to lay blame externally.

Single was okay. It could be very lonely at times and not having someone around who had your back regardless made it lonelier. I continue to not understand people’s preference for single over married just as I don’t understand people who equate marriage with bondage.

Barring deal-breakers, if your marriage isn’t working then one or both of you isn’t doing something you should and probably that thing is communicating and coming to consensus on what needs to be done. Marriage “haters” labor under the delusion that relationships are not work or that they are driven solely by attraction and soul-matey connection nonsense that should have been discarded for reality when we graduated from Sweet Valley High.

Women will spend any amount of time nurturing their relationships with sisters, mothers, friends, co-workers and children, but barely a second thought for their husbands. Romance to too many is about “what’s in it for me”  and not about “how can I show this amazing person who shares my life how important he is to me and how special he is”.

I don’t really have many close female friends and perhaps my impatience with articles like these are the reason why. I am too practical and male in my approach to relationships. But, being single is not an accomplishment because taking care of yourself is – or should be – a given, so quit giving yourself “high five’s” already. You didn’t do anything that millions of us haven’t already done or continue to do.