Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Happy Hump Day!
So as I've mentioned before, this Saturday is the Syracuse Alumni Reunion Party. I'm looking forward to my girl Denise coming up to stay with me so we can celebrate my belated birthday, hang with friends and just have a great time. I reminded our other BFF that the party was this coming Saturday, and she said "oh wow, glad you reminded me, let me ask the boss (her husband) if it's okay."
"Ask the boss?"
Her: "Well, he thinks he's the boss."
"okay...but ask? Uh..ok then."
Her: "It should be fine."
That ladies and gentlemen, might be the reason I'm still single. I couldn't wrap my head around the "asking" part.
I told my sister about our conversation and how silly I thought it was that she would have to "ask" her husband if she could go somewhere. My sister's response?
"Wait til you get a boss."
Umm...I have a boss. I get a paycheck every 2 weeks from my boss. Last time I checked, wives don't work for their husbands...or do they?
Now, don't get me wrong. I know that when you have kids to raise together, you have to compromise on who's gonna stay home with the snotty-nosed, rusty behind little buggers. I get that. I'm not a complete asshole.
But I've always operated in relationships from a "consideration" standpoint, not a "permission seeking" one.
It always bothered me when a guy I used to date would ask me if he could go out with his boys. I understand that he was trying to be considerate, but I always felt like his mother. I'd look at him like "you's a grown ass man, GO!" And he always seemed so grateful, like I had just given him an allowance or something. It was odd to me.
But when it was my turn to "ask" - I wouldn't. I'd say, "This weekend my friends are having a get together, would you like to go with me?" If he said no, then I'd say "Well, I'd like to go. How would you feel if I went alone?" To me, that's different than asking permission. Asking how someone feels about your decision isn't the same to me as asking if you're allowed.
I know some of you are saying it's semantics. Asking, “Honey, is it OK if I...(fill in the blank)?” Or, “Can I...(fill in the blank)?” may sound the same to most of you as "How do you feel about me doing...?"
But for me, always being the one asking for permission makes you the child in the relationship, not a mutually respected adult. Asking questions that can elicit a "Yes" or "No" means that just because you don't want me out shaking my groove thang with my girls, I gotta sit home and sulk cuz I'm mad King Hercules won't let me go out. And eventually, I'll resent you for it. That's not how a relationship works...in my humble, single opinion.
I guess I've always viewed marriage as a partnerships of equals who collaborate. Well differentiated couples approach each other as adults, and respect each others' separate desires, requests, thoughts, feelings and needs. As collaborators, decisions and plans are made together, and collaborative adults live by consideration...not permission seeking.
"Honey, can I..." should be, “Honey, I want/would like/have begun planning (fill in the blank) and, want to know how that works for you. Any thoughts or feelings about that?” If he objects to you going out because that means he has to be left alone with his own demon spawn, then you can talk about that. But at least you won't feel like some kid asking Daddy if you can go to the playground. I'm not saying be a defiant bitch who walks around telling your man what you fittin' to do, but you're not a child either, and two adults should be able to co-exist without one being the "boss."
There should be no Adult/Child dynamic, no Boss/Employee nonsense going on. When you always have to ask, there's the binary response “yes’ or “no,”...followed by a fight, or go-along-to-get-along silence - which we all know might get you cut in your sleep if you're not careful. There has to be room for negotiation and compromise.
Maybe my friend didn't really have to "ask" and that was just the word she used. I can picture her saying something like, “I really want to go to the party with Brooke and I know it’s last minute, and I also realize that means you would have to watch the kids. I really need a break. How would you feel about that?"
And I'm sure her husband will tell her to go and have a good time.
I guess it was just the "asking" part that caught my self sufficient self off guard. When you've been single as long as I have, hearing an adult say that they have to ask another adult for permission to do something sounds totally foreign to me.
I know in marriages or committed relationships, you give up the "I" for "we" in most cases. And I get that. But that doesn't mean you stop having individual interests outside of your relationship. Considering how, and/or what, your partner feels and thinks about what it is you want should be part of the day-to-day logistics of the relationship. But that consideration isn't about someone being the boss. It's about you having an equally important voice as well, where you are free to say what you want without fear. And where you won't have to stab a fool because he or she told you "no."
I've never been in a relationship where asking for permission was the norm, and I don't plan on it. I know I might catch some heat for this post, but I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this. Maybe I'll learn a thing or two...since it seems like I'm a long way off from having a "boss." :-)