When I was growing up, my friends used to say that my family was like “Leave it to Beaver”: my parents were attached at the hip. They only fought in the car on road trips, and they clinked wine glasses and smiled at each other every night over homemade family dinners.
And yet, their relationship wouldn’t work for me.
Why? Because I’m a totally different person than my parents. Different person, different relationship.
Over the years, a few people have said to me that they could never date my partner. First, I thought that was an insulting thing to say, but then I thought, it’s all ok…
I don’t want your relationship; you don’t have to want mine.
My partner goes to the desert in Southern Utah where there is no cell phone reception and goes rock climbing for days without me – challenging lead climbing in massive splitter cracks. My family recommended that I buy him a pricey satellite phone and make him carry it with him at all times. They think the whole situation is dangerous and scary.
My story is a little different: I think he is smiling, placing gear with creative determination. He is pausing at his anchors to view stunning panoramas. He is sitting around a campfire scratching our dog Blue and watching the pink blush sunset burn behind red rock.
I know for sure that he doesn’t need me ring a ding dinging him on the phone to make sure he’s alive.
At this point, you might think OH MY GOD, he goes on trips without you? He doesn’t call you? He does that dangerous sport?
Yes. And guess what? I love that about him. It’s fantastic. It’s inspiring.
Listen. I don’t want to call your boyfriend every night. I don’t want to dress up like Julia Roberts and go to the symphony. I don’t want your big house in Sandy and your family dinners. I don’t want to hold hands when I’m hiking Mt. Timpanogos (seriously people, stop holding hands on hikes!!!).
Let’s all stop comparing our relationships to other people and thinking that there’s a “better than” relationship. The only part of someone’s relationship you usually get to see is at social events, so it’s like 5% of a relationship curated for your consumption… and not everyone loves social events.
You have no idea what goes on 95% of the time in relationships. How could you? You are no Clay Aiken. You can’t be invisible and just watch people in their rooms.
Here’s the deal: if people are together and happy, it’s working for them. So they want to live in different places or houses. They want to travel alone. They want to talk on the phone all day every day. They love family dinners. They want to hold hands on hikes.
It’s all good. No one needs to be “Leave it to Beaver.” Love whoever you want to love however you want to love them. Love is what makes every relationship perfect for you. It’s all that really matters. It’s all we really want.
You do your own relationship. As my friend Abi says, “There are many paths through life.” That’s so cool.
Let’s all relax and celebrate that love leads us on so many different and beautiful journeys.
And some are starting just around the bend.
(But, you really should stop holding hands on hikes. It’s dangerous, people! You could slip and fall and then be stranded without a satellite phone!!!)