I have been in a relationship for nearly eight and a half years. Yes, you read that correctly, eight and a half LONG years. Austin and I met the old fashion way; we worked together, we became friends, completely missed all the signs we may like each other, and then awkwardly found ourselves on a date.

We dated for six months without our coworkers having a clue. We dated for two years before we made it “Facebook official”. At six years, we pooled our money, moved to a different state, and continued to build a life together. Today, we are still trying to figure out how this all even happened.

I do not talk about my relationship a lot, apparently to others’ chagrin. It does not come up naturally for me, plus, I do not like people in my business. However, I find when I mention his name or say something we did, it automatically made me more interesting and people feel inclined to ask me things that would not come up before.

“How long have you been together? How did you meet? Do you live together? Are you going to get engaged?Are you getting married? Do you want children? Isn’t it weird that so-and-so has only been together for X-number of years and they are getting married before you?”

My nonchalant, vague answers to their questions do not appease them. My resistance to divulging more information eventually makes them change the subject, although reluctantly.

What annoys me is there are things that I am proud of that do not generate as much excitement as the idea of me having a significant other. I have bigger accomplishments than just being “off the market”.

Let’s talk about how I was accepted into all three graduate schools I applied to. Let’s talk about how I have two degrees. Let’s talk about the research study I am working on. Let’s talk about how I paid off one of my student loans. Or let’s talk about how I may want to go back for a Ph.D.

Granted, I do not want to talk about anything ever, but if I did, it would probably be one of the latter topics.

I know relationships and marriage are a big deal for a lot of people; we have been socialized to believe it is one of our main end goals in life. I know the idea of finding a partner can become so daunting or overwhelming, especially when it is thrown in your face by nosy family members, friends, and the media. I know one can begin to doubt themselves because there does not seem to be a pot to their lid, or a lid to their lid, or a pot to their pot, or even a saucepan (not every person needs a partner to be “complete”).

I know I am so fortunate to have stumbled upon a bearded weirdo (beirdo!) that laughs at my jokes, pushes me out of my comfort zone, and gets under my skin. I also know it is important for me to be an individual first and revel in our individual accomplishments.

If you are in a relationship, great! If you are single, great! If you are single and looking, good luck! Please do not let others undermine your years of accomplishing awesome things because it does not seem as valuable as love.

Because Valentine’s is just another made-up holiday anyway.

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Written by MutedMouthful

Native New Yorker, amateur artist, sarcastic social worker, professional people watcher, and alliteration addict.

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