Thursday, June 19, 2014

From Pariah to Pressure

Do I dare say it?  I have a boyfriend.  A real live, don't have to say things like 'someone I am seeing/having sex with', boyfriend.  He is someone who holds my hand in public, fixes things in my house, makes plans ahead of time and even willingly meets my parents.  He has friended my friends on FaceBook and I have friended his.  If that's not commitment, I don't know what is.

And with this new found boyfriend, I have suddenly gone from pariah in the eyes of my married friends back to acceptable.  Dinner plans for parties of six are arranged and nights out with other couples are scheduled.  I am no longer the third wheel.  I have let the realm of the uncomfortable single friend who may make conversation and seating awkward.  I am back in.  I am part of a team.  The team of couples.

But as fun as it is to be welcomed back into the fold, the joy is only briefly lived.  On a recent fantastic trip that my boyfriend took me on to a fabulous Caribbean Island, I began to realize it wasn't enough for us to just be together, basking in our happiness.  No, those married couples would not accept that kind of instability.  No longer single but still not married, were are in limbo.  A limbo that is clearly not ok.

Several times on the vacation I was introduced as the wife.  Not clear on the etiquette, I was unsure whether to correct the person or let it lie.  What I learned was every time I corrected it, I was then asked how long we had been dating and when we thought we would be getting married.  Sigh.  At first it was funny.  We would look at each other and laugh as people introduced me as the fiance but then it became grating.

In order to be accepted back into coupledom do we have to be married?  And do these married couples think that asking when we are getting married is both appropriate and not at all uncomfortable.  Should I start asking when they think they'll get divorced?  When do they think they'll have their first affair?  It isn't as if they are asking us what time is dinner.  They are asking us to commit to a life together in a time frame that they feel is appropriate.

Well dammit, it took me six long years to find a man who I didn't give an awkwardly appropriate nickname to and thus doom to being a short term thing.  So I am not going to live by the arbitrary couples rules that say I have to set a time limit for when my relationship goes from couple to married.  Let me bask in my happiness.  I have someone to go to movies with me, be my plus one and prevent me from being set up on horrible blind dates.  Let me be the fifth and six at dinner.  Let me have someone to go out with on a Saturday night that doesn't have boobs and bitch about being single.  Let me enjoy the boyfriend stage.

Because after all I am divorced and not married.