Friday, March 19, 2010

being in a relationship (and part of) the social world

I had a conversation with a new friend today, and it's really making me think. We talked about being out in the world and socializing with our husbands and what that is like. I really haven't done much going out with J, we have some friends of his that we hang out with, but we don't go to parties and at church it's been difficult to connect to people. 

My friend said that she isn't all that conversational with the people she and her husband gather with, in part because they have kids and she doesn't, or whatever else, it's like they don't have much in common, and so the conversations often fall flat, and she thinks that they perceive her as maybe immature or less emotionally adult (and she said this isn't incorrect, in a way), and that they wonder, 'what is he doing with her?'

Wow. Exactly. This reflects our/my experience and fears about being social in the world with my husband. I think that my friend accepts the reality in a way that I don't, and it she describes her husband as maybe not so concerned with the implications of people's perception that he is with someone who 'isn't a woman'.

Sometimes I don't feel like a woman. I don't feel on par with most 32 year olds. I don't think I am.

I realize that development, achievement, and social connection are all diverse/variable things, and there isn't just one way to be in the world -- as if we all knew at 17 what we were going to do, and did it, and were successful, and we all fit some mold of what a 30-something person should be, or a 40-something person should be. It doesn't work that way. I sometimes think, with my friend, that if I can't connect with those people, then oh well, and it's not like they'd think me a bitch; I'm a nice person, and so I do have some challenges. Okay?

I'm an intelligent person, I'm a weirdo (in a geeky and sometimes good way), I am caring, I can have deep and soulful conversations with friends one-to-one but put me in a group/party and I don't do well.

But while I could say that the people who would judge me and J are idiots, the fact is that people can/do/will and I don't know how to feel about that. Or what to do about it, aside from hiding out and not being seen as a couple -- which is untenable.

I don't want him to be judged for seeing deeper than my not really holding a conversation well or sometimes getting overwhelmed or overloaded and having sensory problems. I don't want them thinking,

"Wow, she's ... not all there. Why is he with her?? I mean she's hot.. but she's kind of meek. Maybe he wants a frak-toy. Maybe he wants someone he can dominate. Or what's wrong with him, that he can't find some professional successful grown-up woman to be with?'

All of this smacks of BS, but there's some reality to it that means, somehow, our dealings in the world can't be easy, unless I learn some skills and develop emotionally.

This new friend and I are really appreciating each other and the potential for this friendship. I think we'll plan a foursome dinner sometime soon. I would really like to explore having more friendships as a couple with J.

I think he and I both need to gain confidence and feel like it won't just be a disaster. We were long distance for a long time, basically having identities that were as single people but in a relationship, a kind of nebulous state that was still really like being alone socially because it didn't involve negotiating social relationships as a couple. I think we just aren't known in the world enough together. I don't know how the people we do spend time with now perceive us.

I think the anxiety and fear of judgment is the worst part because it can lead us to not try and instead become isolated and that has consequences for our relationship with each other.

I'm not sure if this was coherent, but it's at least reflecting what some of my mind is doing with the really important thinking going on today.

No comments:

Search This Blog