I get it. Relationships are about compromise. And compromise requires both parties to give in once a while. But as The Wedding Date and I prepare to celebrate the one year anniversary of our first date, I feel like all the things I want are getting sacrificed to what he has to have.
And I’m not happy.
He called me yesterday just as I was getting ready to head into work for the evening and asked, “How much time do you have? Oh. Only fifteen minutes? Well maybe I’ll tell you later.”
As you all know, “later” is never an option with a prelude like that. So he told me then and I was right: state workers are required to reside in the state in which they work. In other words, our plans for happily-ever-after are basically f*cked.
It wouldn’t matter if he worked in Pennsylvania—the state of Philadelphia, of me, and of all things wonderful— but he works in New Jersey and having grown up in New Jersey, I have less than no desire to return. In fact, I’ve spent most of adult life trying to transcend my “Jersey girl” origins, eagerly reminding people that I was in New Hampshire actually, so I’m really a New Englander at heart.
But it’s not just New Jersey. It’s the suburbs. I hate the suburbs. I abhor the suburbs. I loathe the suburbs. And if I could think of more verbs that mean the same thing, I’d use them too because frankly, I’m pretty sure I would shrivel up and die if I had to leave the city.
I grew up in a small town in central New Jersey. Then I moved to Baltimore to go to school, to Philadelphia after that, to London for my MA and finally back to Philadelphia. As long as I’ve been old enough to have a say, I’ve said “no” to the suburbs and “yes” to happy hours, mass transit, coffee shops, libraries, world class theaters and all the amenities that come with city living.
I don’t have a car. And I don’t have an office. I’m a writer. And I work in the arts. I’m in the theater at least two nights a week (make that two times a day this time of year) and even though I’ve tried to wrap my head around the idea of moving to the suburbs and meshing my life with The Wedding Date’s (“Maybe if we move the TV we could fit a desk in the corner?”) I just can’t.
At least not after yesterday’s conversation.
That’s because TWD’s life is complicated. Mine is too—I know that life with me isn’t exactly a walk in the park—but his is complicated in difficult ways. I won’t go into all of the details but I will say this: building a future together is going to require some pretty significant sacrifices. And I was willing to make them so long as some part of that future could take place in Philadelphia.
But now he’s taken that away from me too.
I didn’t know what to say. By the time I hung up the phone and headed into the studio, I was a total mess. My boss started giving me all sorts of directions about which studio I’d be in, and when I’d have to switch to the other studio to accommodate the jazz classes, and how so-and-so didn’t have her tap shoes yet because they were on back order but I barely heard a word she said because all I could think was “I’ve got to fix my mascara. I can’t have 49 girls know I was just in parking lot crying.”
So I took out my make up and started applying it right there in the lobby, no mirror or anything. My boss stopped mid sentence, half appalled, half impressed, and asked, “Are you really going to do that here?”
“Yes,” I grumbled. “I don’t have a choice.” Then, as an afterthought, I added, “Boyfriend drama.”
She fell silent.
Then asked, “Are you okay?”
I gave her a brief rundown, expecting her to tell me I should have never gotten mixed up with a man who has kids in the first place but she simply shook her head and said, “That’s how it goes. You have to work these things out.”
And she should know.
What she didn’t know was that she was talking to the queen of cut-and-run. I’ve ended relationships over less. And yet I don’t want to end it with The Wedding Date. I want to make it work. I just don’t see how and I’m tired of feeling like I’m the only creative thinker in our relationship. I’m tired of feeling like his needs take precedence because they are needs and my needs are really just wants. It’s not fair.
He texted me afterward to apologize for dumping the news on me before work and to inform me that he was busily downloading to entire 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice so we could get started with my favorite shows now that we’ve finally run through two entire seasons of Game of Thrones, and concluded his message with “I love you, etc. etc. etc.”
But I hope he’s prepared watch the wet Darcy scene over and over so I can pretend I’m Elizabeth Bennet and that my life isn’t so terribly complicated. (Or, at the very least, that I’m going get an estate with ballrooms and ponds and servants once we work everything out.)
- Just Call Me Julie Andrews (fieldworkinstilettos.com)
- Why I Think All Republicans are Idiots (but wish I didn’t) (fieldworkinstilettos.com)
- Anthropology on Deck 10 (fieldworkinstilettos.com)