One time, a guy I was dating said, matter-of-factly, that though I was enamored of him now in the beginning stages of our courtship, I’d eventually grow to hate him “the way all girls hate their boyfriends.”
I was surprised. “You think ALL girls hate their boyfriends?” I said.
“Not hate, like real hate,” he replied. “But you know, when they go hang out with their girlfriends and complain about us or when we don’t do something basic in the right way, whatever. That way where you love us, but we’re idiots.”
And in a sort of vague rom-com Sex and the City way, I knew what he meant. I thought about my own friends and the way they talked about their dating lives. Usually when you ask a woman how her relationship is going, she’s inclined to dress it down. She’ll say things like, “It’s gooood.” Pause. “He’s really tough to get through to sometimes where I don’t know if he’s really present, you know? But we’re good, we’re like totally good.” Or “Ugh. I can’t even with him. He just like, leaves shit everywhere and doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. Like, all he has to do is call that guy about that new job and he like, won’t even do it.”
So why if we love them, do we find it acceptable, nay necessary, to bitch about them to others? It’s required for any conversation between women about men. Maybe I’m missing some female chip in my brain, but why would you be with someone you don’t absolutely adore? Is that unrealistic? Because the idea that growing to resent and hate the person you’re choosing to be with is terribly depressing.
Is it because the opposite is annoying and we’re trying to make ourselves look sympathetic and human to others in an attempt to bond? Is it because it’s suspicious or Stepford-esque to say only nice things about them?
Would it be totally psycho to when a female friend asks, “How’s your boyfriend?” for me to say, “Really good. We’re like, super in love and I think he really gets me. We’re both flawed people but we’re making this relationship work because we’re both committed to each other. Also, he does this really adorable thing where he sort of hops into his pants in the morning when he’s getting dressed. You’d have to see it, but it’s like, the cutest thing. So yeah, things are good and he’s a good person doing his best.” Because it feels like that would come across as totally psycho.
Okay, I know PDA is annoying and maybe this is the verbal equivalent, where no one wants to hear about how great your relationship is. People want the juice, the guts, the gore. They want to feel better about their own lives by hearing yours isn’t so perfect. And if they’re single, they don’t want to hear me talk about my sweet boyfriend. They want to feel better knowing at least they don’t have my problems.
But look, my boyfriend is my partner. We’re a team. Why would you go run around talking smack about your teammate? Why would you be with someone who causes you to sigh with frustration when they’re brought up? Why do we gather together and talk about our adult male partners like they are children we’re forced to deal with? Even if your boyfriend was just a friend, it’d be incredibly rude to complain about them behind their back, right? Why is expected and as I said before, necessary, to b-tch about your boyfriend to your female friends?
I like my boyfriend. I have complaints, sure, but if someone asked me how our relationship was going or how he was, I’d want to say nice things. I’d want to be honest about how good things are without feeling guilty or like I’m bragging or I’m insensitive.
Am I weird? Am I weird because I don’t want to grow to “hate” my boyfriend? Am I weird for not wanting to complain about him to other women? Can we stop doing this?