Dear Mrs. Shue,

I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar when I saw you… 

Ok, ok- it was actually an Italian restaurant. The year was 1996 and I was a server there for the summer.
 
Anyway, you came in to meet some girlfriends for lunch and were the first to arrive. I knew you. You were an English teacher at the high school I’d attended, a married mom with 4 kids.  My young and single self was baffled by and in awe of your reality.
 
Four kids (WTF?)
Husband.
Career.
 
Looking all happy and put together… How did you do it all?  Not that I wanted to do it, myself. 
 
Hell no! Marriage and all those kids? No thank you!  That seemed a crazy venture, to me.
 
I must have broached the topic of marriage with you that day because somewhere between you ordering a glass of chardonnay and me telling you the soup of the day, you spoke these words:

“As soon as I realized that it was my girlfriends, not my husband, that would meet my emotional needs, everything became much better…”

Well, my 21 year old heart broke for you. You had obviously given up on your relationship with your husband who clearly needed some pointers on communication from my ex, the aspiring poet.  He knew how to be there for a girl…

But, you’d settled for somebody who clearly wasn’t a poet. 

I shook my head in dismay.

Another one bites the dust, I thought. 

Flash forward 19 years.  It seems that crazy venture- the one I wanted nothing to do with- gained some appeal, somewhere along the way. I too got married and I have three kids now.  I even became a high school English teacher like you, who knew?

And, guess what?  Those words that you said, about girlfriends being your emotional life line and not your husband.  Those words that broke my heart and made me search for cracks in your façade. Those words that signified your loss of self and true love and all that it could and damn well should be… well, I hear you now! 

I understand exactly what you meant. My husband’s skills in the emotional needs department of life aren’t like the aspiring poet’s. But, I’m okay with that. In fact, I like the way we are. I haven’t given up on my relationship by accepting it for what it is. I haven’t  “settled…” And I certainly don’t feel like I’ve bitten the dust. 

Not at all. 

I’m simply ten years into my married life, with kids, and along with that I’ve gained some new perspectives.

I am a-okay that the days of pillow talk and emotional analysis are in the past. Pillows are now reserved for dual snoring and capturing as much sleep as possible.

And, when I feel inclined to analyze issues of a parental, marital or personal nature,  I’ll likely do that with my girlfriends.

Why? Because it’s easy and my friends welcome these conversations.

It’s not that my husband isn’t willing to listen; he is.  And if a topic needs to be discussed, we get the job done. It’s just that when I do express how I’m feeling, he sometimes reads into it differently than a girlfriend would which can result in undesirable responses on his part. And, such replies can then lead to further agitation for me.

For example, if I complain about having to constantly tidy and clean the house, he might say something like: “My mother worked full-time and had 5 kids…” Okay.  So yes, I choose to turn to a friend who (instead) will give me a knowing nod, pour me a glass of wine and make a joke about how our kids and husbands are all jerks.

If I reveal, to my husband, that I am feeling anxious about something he might offer such motivational words as: “Buck up” or “Don’t do it then.” He may even produce a dismissive and comparative statement, like: “Why worry about it? I would never let something like that bother me…”  Alright. So yes, again, I choose to turn to a friend who will listen and relate because she’s been there too. She may even throw in an impromptu pep talk.  And, with little effort, she’ll say all the things I need to hear.  It’s that easy. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is fantastic in endless ways but when it comes to talks, I choose my girlfriends not my husband.  Just like you said, Mrs. Shue. Anyway, I’m late for lunch. I’m meeting up with my girlfriends.Take care of yourself.

Sincerely,

Shannon Day 

Author

Shannon Day is co-author of Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe & WTF?! (a funny and heartwarming book & martini guide for moms). She is a freelance writer and blogger whose words and wit can be found at several online sites, including her own: Martinis & Motherhood. Get in touch with Shannon via Facebook or Twitter.

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  1. Pingback: Who do you Choose? Your Girlfriend or your Husband? | Shannon Day's Martinis & Motherhood

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