LESSONS FROM YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER by Maree Anderson for Writers Gone Wild
Here's five important tips for a woman:
It is important that a man helps you around the house and has a job.
It is important that a man makes you laugh.
It is important that a man is someone can count on and who doesn’t lie to you.
It is important that a man loves you and spoils you.
It is important that these four men don’t know each other.
Seriously, though, there are certain important things that we women look for in our menfolk. Heck I even know some women who have a "list" and it's a deal-breaker if a potential partner doesn't tick all the boxes. This list can include anything from the type of job he has, how much money he earns, whether or not he's previously been married or in a long-term relationship, right down to physical characteristics.
I never had a list. And for me the most important thing about my DH wasn't something I'd even think of putting on a list.
He taught me that when you love someone, it's okay to be apart from them..... It's okay to do things on your own.
Sound weird? Well, I'll endeavor to explain.
I used to hate being alone. I didn't know what to do with myself if my flatmates went out and left me alone in the house. Going to a party on my own? You gotta be kidding me! I didn't know how to be by myself, on my own. It made me very very discomfited.
My first marriage didn't last very long. Among other things, my husband used to take off for weekends and only tell me at the last minute. So when I first met and married my DH, it's not surprising that I thought being in love meant spending every moment together, doing everything together, sharing absolutely everything.
If he wanted to stay after work for drinks, then I wanted to meet up with him. If he wanted to go for a wander round the shops at lunchtime, then I wanted to accompany him. If he wanted to go to the gym early in the morning before work, then I'd go too -- not that I wanted to, of course. Heck, I even took up jogging so I could go for runs with him, even though I used to get the most terrible ear-aches and feel totally wretched! Because that's what people in love do... isn't it? That's why a woman will go to a sports match with her man, even when she has no interest in the sport. That's why a guy will go to Mama Mia with his wife and his wife's mom, even though he personally can't stand Abba and thinks musicals suck.
Then, when I had my kids and took on the job of stay-at-home mom, I learned that being with someone you love every minute of the day is not necessarily a good thing. It seemed like I never had a moment to myself. And snatching time alone with my DH was like Mission Impossible. A night away from the kids had to be planned with military precision weeks -- if not months! -- in advance.
And boy, did I ever envy my DH his so-called freedom. He could go to the gym at lunchtime, wander round the shops at a whim, stay after work for drinks--even when he had to work late it seemed like treat to me!
I gotta mention here, that my DH would have been more than happy for me to get a sitter for the kids and go out and do whatever I felt like doing. But I used the kids as an excuse to not have to do things on my own. For example, I really wanted to take up dancing again--DH and I first met at a dance class--but he wasn't really interested so for a long time, I never took it any further. How could I possibly want to go to dance classes when he didn't want to come with me? How could I possibly enjoy dancing if he wasn't there to partner me? We're a couple. We're supposed to do everything together!
It's taken a while, but with DH's gentle encouragement, I've struck out on my own. Fronting up for that first Ceroc dance class by myself was big-time nerve-wracking. And going to a dance party on my own was really quite terrifying the first time. But now it's a regular Thursday night occurence for me to head off to Ceroc classes, dance my socks off, and go out for a snack with a bunch of friends afterward. I even have a couple of male friends I can call up to escort me to Ceroc functions, if I don't feel like driving at night on my own.
I now go to the annual RWNZ conferences and stay over for 2 or 3 nights, even though I only live ten minutes away from the venue. I even went overseas for the first time on my own, when I attended the RomAus conference in Brisbane, Australia, earlier this year. I'd never have been up to that a few years ago -- never would have even considered it unless DH and the kids came, too.
Funny thing is that all this alone time has made the together time even sweeter. DH trusts me implicitly. And vice versa. He knows that when I'm off doing my own thing, he's the one I come back to. And vice versa.
So for me, learning to do things on my own was something my DH had to teach me. Which is just as well, because being a full-time writer ain't exactly social, LOL. And I really don't think I'd be able to cope with being a writer at all if I wasn't happy being on my own for long stretches.
How about your significant other? What's the most important thing he or she has ever taught you?
And when you figure it out, make sure you give them a hug and thank them.