Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tuesday ramble

I've rambled (here (with wisdom from others), here, and here) about realizing--while in or just out of a relationship in which I was happy--that being in a relationship is nonetheless not magic. When I've been in a relationship that's started to go downhill, or even on a date that's going nowhere, I've thought about how deceptive it is to walk down the street with someone and appear to the world as a functioning couple. I remind myself of that every time I get the sense, walking down the street, that everyone else seems to be in a seamless, functioning relationship. I wonder about the experts--bartenders, waitstaff, others--who must develop a sense of who's a happy couple, who's an unhappy couple, who's on a good date, and who's on a bad date. I think about how often people have assumed I was partnered with someone I was just traveling with, especially a gay someone. I did, after all, earn the moniker 'Mrs. Jason' in India. And a number of people, looking at my photos, asked whether Alex and I were a couple. In their defense, we do look awfully couple-like in many of those photos, but Alex is also very, very gay. At the highest level of wondering, I wonder whether people think 'I wonder if she knows that her boyfriend/husband is gay.'

Apparently, many women wonder whether their significant other is gay (according to Google), when they should be wondering (according to experts) whether their significant other is depressed, or an alcoholic. It does prick a hole in the 'everyone else is in a perfect relationship' bubble--it's not that I find satisfaction in the problems in other people's relationships; but there is something comforting about idyllic appearances being deceiving. Relationships are complicated; snapshots are misleading. It's comforting even to consider--this is the opposite of schadenfreude--that fraught relationships bring their joys or whatever. I guess what's comforting is escaping the perception that it's so easy for everyone else (and its corollary: what's wrong with me, then?).

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