When I met my husband six and a half years ago, I went from being a single, fiercely independent 23-year-old living in Manhattan in a basement apartment with rats and roaches for neighbors to leaning on my boyfriend more than I had leaned on anyone in a long time. From asking him for a ride to work when roads were slick to getting him to defend me against the odd spider in our suburban apartment, I was relieved to not have to figure everything out on my own anymore.
I don't mean I was any less capable of doing things on my own. I just felt like I had a partner now. Someone who could help me cope with all manner of challenges, little and big. Hey, there's no shame in asking for help, right? At the same time, once I was in a serious, committed relationship with my husband (which was basically right away), I worried I had slipped into relying on him too much.
For instance, had we been invited to a party or out-of-town event even a couple of years ago that we both couldn't attend, I probably wouldn't have even considered going. Every time I planned a trip down to Florida to visit my parents, I would try to get the timing to work so that my husband could come with me, too. (I ended up going on my own quite a bit, but I always wanted to at least rule out being together was an option.)
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Now I figure it had something to do with not having official label on our commitment. Admittedly, a year and a half ago, before we were engaged, I was definitely in a less secure, confident place. It now sounds silly, because ultimately, our relationship hasn't really changed since tying the knot (with the exception of a few new, shiny "bells and whistles," like our marriage certificate, ketubah, wedding rings, amazing photos, and fantastic memories). But maybe it is also a testament to marriage's ability to chill you out -- by making you more secure about your relationship's "identity."
And it's thanks to that security that I'm more relaxed and capable of enjoying time alone, time apart even more. Because those bells and whistles reassure me that we can go off and do whatever it is we need to on our own -- work out of town, visit family out of state, attend a special occasion solo, if need be -- and then come home, knowing we'll have lots more time to do whatever it is we want together. It's not that we didn't realize that before we were married, but now that we are, it's just that it's even easier to believe.
Did getting married bolster your own independence? Has it "chilled you out" from the time when you were dating/engaged?
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