Relationships, I’m learning, are all about compromise. And shaving your legs way more often than anyone should this time of year, but mainly about compromise.
This was never so clear to me as it was the day after New Years, when I had my first brilliant idea of 2012.
“Let’s go for a run,” I suggested to The Wedding Date.
“Really?” he asked.
“Yeah. We’ve been eating and drinking and lying around doing nothing around for the past 48 hours. It would be good for us.”
“Fine by me,” he said. “Let me just change my shoes.”
I should confess that my newfound interest in running stemmed mainly from the fact that Santa had brought me several eco-friendly active-wear tops for Christmas and I was eager to give them a try. (Especially the gray one with the padded sports bra. I love me a good padded sports bra.)
What I failed to consider was the fact that it was January 2nd, and being January 2nd, it was rather cold so my new eco-friendly active-wear top was quickly lost beneath a turtleneck, a fleece hoodie, a scarf and the hat I used to wear during my stellar but short-lived career with the New College Boat Club. (We came in second place at the Christ Church Regatta, then I hurt my back and had to take an early retirement but I’m pretty sure I’d be training for the London Olympics right about now if things had gone differently. And if I hadn’t had that blasted erg machine as much as I did…)
Equally unfortunate was my failure to recall that The Wedding Date actually likes running. He ran a 5K a few weeks ago and has an app on his phone that tracks his progress and automatically uploads the results to Facebook. I, on the other hand, only like running in theory.
Or in eco-friendly active-wear advertisements, where other people are doing all the work and their hair looks perfect and there isn’t an ounce of actual sweat involve.
“You’ll be fine,” The Wedding Date assures me. “You’re a dancer!”
“That doesn’t mean anything. I hate cardio. With a passion. And it’s cold. And you’re good at running! You’re gonna leave me in the dust.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll take it nice and slow. Slow and steady wins the race!”
So we head out, leaving the rest of my friends who are visiting for the holiday all seated around the kitchen table feasting on bagels and leftover cheese balls from the night before and various other carbohydrates.
It’s not too late to change my mind…
But relationships are all about compromise. Plus, I’ll be able to gloat once we’ve returned and eat my bagel slathered with cream cheese in peace, guilt free.
The thing about running, however, is it doesn’t get easier once you get going. It gets harder. Five minutes in, my lungs are ready to collapse. My legs are ready to collapse. I am ready to collapse, which really isn’t all that unexpected considering what happened the last time I attempted to perform a three minute solo at lightening-speed, but The Wedding Date is in his element and he seems so damn pleased about us having found a new “couple’s activity” that I tell myself to suck it up and keep going.
A few minutes later, we’ve just about reached the part of the trail where the park ends and the Wal-mart parking lot begins. I know this because I take this trail all the time with my dad to walk the dogs but The Wedding Date, having had the cheek to settle down somewhere other than Philadelphia, has never been here before.
“If I sprint to the end of the trail, can I stop?” I plead.
“Sure,” he says, “You’re more of a sprinter, aren’t you?”
Yeah. That’s it. That’s my problem—not that we’re running, but that we’re doing the wrong kind of running.
I kick it into high gear and somehow make it to the start of the parking lot without having a heart attack.
Three seconds later, The Wedding Date is back at my side, looking rather disappointed. “Is that it?” he asks.
“Yeah. This is the end of the trail. Now we turn around and walk home and eat bagels.”
“Nah, this can’t be it.”
“Look for yourself! There’s Wal-Mart, there’s Old Navy. There’s the horrid arts and crafts store where I used to work when I first moved back from London and couldn’t find anything better to do with a Masters degree in Dance Anthropology… this is the end of the trail.”
“Then let’s do it again.”
“Are you serious?”
“Kat, we haven’t even gone two miles.”
“That’s fine by me,” I reply. I can already taste the bagel waiting back at the house with my name it. I’ll take a nice long shower, change into something comfy, pour myself a cup of coffee… but then a sudden revelation stops me dead in my tracks: relationships aren’t just about compromise. Relationships are about growing together whilst simultaneously giving your significant other the space they need to do their thing.
“You go ahead. I’ll walk back to the head of the trail and do yoga until you’re finished.”
“Are you sure?” he asks. “I’ll walk with you if you want.”
“No, you go. It’s fine.”
So I walk back to the head of the trail, stretch for a while and find a nice flat rock near the edge of the water. Then, I listen carefully for The Wedding Date’s footsteps as I go through my sun salutations (is it just me or is downward facing dog the least sexy yoga pose ever?) and I think to myself, “Hmm… this is kind of nice.”
In fact, I could get used to this.
Not the running part—I’ll never get used to running—but to the compromise-whilst-retaining-your-independence-part. Perhaps there’s hope for me yet.
PS: I *believe* my Good Morning America segment will air tomorrow morning at 7:00am (6:00am Central) on ABC– will keep you posted!
PPS: Scratch that– it’s been changed to MONDAY!
- How The Wedding Date Became MY Wedding Date (katrichterwrites.wordpress.com)
- My Marie Claire Debut: What Every Man Wants to Hear (fieldworkinstilettos.com)
- Feliz Something-Or-Other (fieldworkinstilettos.com)