#7: what have you learned about love & romantic partnerships?
and 8 things I've learned about marriage.
Hi! I hope you are ready for this: A BOOMER RETALIATED.
Of course I meant no harm in last Sunday’s newsletter, and my jokes were made in jest, but this particular boomer really made me lol. This lady wrote me a *very* detailed email asking me to unsubscribe her, and said my weekly newsletter is “harmful for her health.” Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for protecting yourself from what you think is causing any kind of emotional distress, but if this isn’t a “I want to talk to your manager” moment, I don’t know what is. There is clearly an unsubscribe button, just like the unfollow button on Insta, and I can’t tell you how many times people have sent horribly mean dms about why they don’t want to follow me anymore. It’s like, GIRL, I’m not forcing ya! So if you’re here and you’re loving what I’m putting out there, thank you. And if you’re not, cool! The unsubscribe button is free for all.
It reminded me of the poet Kate Baer, who creates what she calls “erasure poems” from dms she receives from her Insta followers. She transforms what are clearly hateful messages, that project pain and discomfort in their own lives, into something beautiful and transparent. Some awesome examples are here, here, and here.
I’m not that graceful. So to this particular boomer, God bless you on the way out!
ANYWAYS. I’m thankful this week is a new week, and we’re talking partnerships. Romantic ones. Marriage, commitment, you name it.
I was inspired because it’s Kevin and I’s 8-year wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been 8 years! We’re currently on a romantic weekend getaway (with Rocky lol) to celebrate, and while I am far from a relationship expert, it’s safe to say I’ve learned a thing or two about love (and marriage) since the day we said I DO on a cliff in Santa Cruz. So down below are 8 things I’ve learned about long-term relationships so far.
And while I’m feeling nostalgic, I’m sharing some old photos of Kevin and I. I really wish Substack allowed videos because I have some hilarious ones of the two of us (drunk) that I’d love to share. But I guess I’ll have to save those for another time. ;)
IRL update + Mom Tingz will be back next week! Enjoy your Sunday, and I hope you feel some <3 today :)
This week in LET’S TALK: “I’m not a conspiracy theorist but…” is arguably one of the most used sentences over the past 18 months. So we went there, and we talked about it. Are you a conspiracy theorist? Have you been labeled as one? And why is it so bad to believe in conspiracies, anyways? Click here to upgrade your membership to be a part of our private Friday chats!
"I do not identify as a conspiracy theorist even though I do find the more credible ones really interesting to read/learn about. However, it’s hard for me with conspiracy theorists because the ones I see in my Instagram feed tend to be like my friends uneducated brothers posting actual fake news or a girl I went to college with calls that talks about how we’re all mermaids and then uses her following to sell rainbow chakras."
I’m now officially invested in mermaid conspiracy theories. Comment by Paige.
As you all know, I am obsessed with Bennifer 2.0, and in a weird twist of events after seeing their red carpet debut, I suddenly started wishing their relationship was more private. The media frenzy was seemingly to blame for their last breakup (and the alleged bachelor party cheating), and I fear they might be heading down that same path again. Also, trust me, I know it’s LOL that I’m worried about Bennifer, but their love is saving my whole goddamn year. I’m frail and I need their love to be a forever kind of love. This TikTok video of them also made me slightly cringe. Ben seems kind of nervous? Thoughts?
Eight Things I’ve Learned About Marriage
Ego has no room in a relationship. I wrote a whole damn article about this after watching “Marriage Story,” but in short, ego is the death of a relationship. Every single argument we’ve ever had can be traced back to our egos. Love is the antithesis of ego, and the only thing that will get you through an argument or tough time is letting that shit GO.
You are each other’s mirrors. It might be hard to admit you have a thing or two to work through as an individual, but once paired up with a boo, there is no hiding from that fact. Whatever unhealed traumas you have from the past, they will show up in your relationship, especially as you learn how to co-live with someone. Working on yourself is important; for you and the relationship.
You are individuals on a journey together. For a long time, I used to think that once forever was signed legally in ink, that you would go through all of life’s highs and lows together. The reality, however, is that regardless what your official relationship status is, you are still very much an individual. Always will be. You’ll always have your own trajectory and healing path in life. The choice to be together means figuring out how to intertwine your paths as a unit, while never forgetting about the individual. Like two potted plants; allowing the leaves room to grow towards each other, without ever forgetting to tend to the independent soil in each pot.
“We” are you, me, and the collective. Years ago, I adopted a method I heard Jada Smith talk about using in her marriage. Whenever decisions need to be made, she explained that she and Will ask themselves these questions: “What are my needs? What are your needs? And what are the collective needs?” Kevin and I adopted this before we had Rocky, and it helped us get on the same page, to think of our individual needs and our family unit needs (even if it was just a dog and cat at the time). Sometimes the collective takes precedence over the individual, and sometimes an individual need is too important to be overlooked by the collective. Whatever the case may be, it’s a great place to start.
The way you argue matters. In the first couple of years Kevin and I were together, we were well, quite immature. We’d call each other names, slam doors, sleep on the couch. And we said things we couldn’t take back. Those harsh words, and the tone in which they were said, hurt deeply, and were often brought up in the next argument. Nowadays when we argue, we don’t speak until we’re ready to hear each other out, genuinely. We’re patient. We don’t call each other names. We have learned how to apologize, and how to listen to each other, even when we feel wronged. There’s a saying that when you’re arguing, you have to remind each other that it’s you versus the argument, not you versus each other.
Pick your battles, for real. I was THE QUEEN of being upset about just about everything. If I felt wronged in the slightest, I couldn’t let it go. If I was upset, Kevin would know about it. If he bothered me, Kevin would know about it. If he annoyed me, YEP. He’d know about it. The more I’ve worked on myself though, and our relationship, the more we’ve been able to move into a place of being okay being annoyed with each other. There’s a big difference between being annoyed and being upset. It’s natural to be annoyed when you live together, with anyone for that matter. Humans are annoying. And Kevin annoys the shit out of me sometimes. I swear I’ve needed therapy to learn how to cope with his daily sounds. And just the other day, I asked Kevin what was wrong when I noticed his mood shift, to which he responded, “You’re just bugging me.” And I laughed. “Ya I guess I am being a little annoying,” I said. And that was that. No argument needed.
Humor is medicine. Laughing together, and even at each other (lovingly of course), is medicine for a long-term relationship. Humor helps with the above point especially (don’t sweat the small stuff). It helps alleviate pressure that’s building and sometimes even reduces an argument to nothing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “I don’t want to laugh right now.” To which Kevin replies, “Well babe, you’re laughing, and it’s not my fault.” Which he then usually follows up with a hug. “Ya, but I’m upset and I don’t want to laugh,” I’ll say, *while laughing.* A little joke here and there helps resolve a matter faster and with more ease. It’s not always a hit though; sometimes a joke doesn’t land, and it causes more harm than good, but more often than not, it’s exactly what’s needed to avoid a household war and find our way back to each other.
Dream together. For years, I’d asked Kevin questions about the future, and he’d always frustratingly say, “I don’t know.” The future was daunting to him, and planning for it didn’t excite him. But over the last five years, we’ve been dreaming together. We’re always talking about something, imagining what it would look like, or feel like, and I don’t think that’ll ever change. It helps with all of the above, especially understanding each other’s individual needs. On our daily walks, we usually talk about life, and when we’re able to show up with vulnerability, full transparency and honesty about our needs and dreams, we feel more together than ever. And let me tell ya, when those what-if dreams do come true, you celebrate them together with so much more joy. So talk endlessly. And dream, forever dream together.
LET’S TALK: what have you learned about love over the years? Any advice / tips that have helped your long-term relationships? Or any relationship issues you’re currently going through? If you’re looking for some unsolicited advice, I’m sure we’re all happy to respond with what works for us (and hopefully one of our tips can help). :)
“The choice to be together means figuring out how to intertwine your paths as a unit, while never forgetting about the individual. Like two potted plants; allowing the leaves room to grow towards each other, without ever forgetting to tend to the independent soil in each pot. “
Before I share a visual trip down memory lane, I want to share a profound article I read written by Tom Junod, in which he tries to translate the story behind the famous image of the man jumping off one of the Twin Towers. It’s beautifully written. A heartbreaking read, but also so, so human.
“Maybe he jumped to fulfill the terms of a miracle. Maybe he jumped to come home to his family. Maybe he didn't jump at all, because no one can jump into the arms of God. Oh, no. You have to fall.”