What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. This guest post is a cross-post Lemmonex, authored by Lexa who also writes with me at MamaPop. She kindly let me reprint it here because I think it’s an important reminder.
Hey, you. Yes, you.
Look, I think it is great you are in a relationship. I would actually like to be in one too, so I am even woman enough to admit that sometimes I feel pangs of jealousy that you don’t have to scramble for a plus one or you talk about boyfriend/husband/family obligations while I sit around on Sunday nights and pluck out my grey hair.
But you see, you can be a bit high and mighty. And smug. And sometimes even hurtful.
I know you give me advice– advice I am not really asking for– because you mean well. You want to see me happy. And you have found happiness so you feel as if you are in a unique position to tell me how achieve bliss.
But here is the thing: It is your happiness. I don’t want your life. In fact, there are lots of things about your relationship that downright frighten me, but I don’t say anything. Because I have manners.
And that is really what this all comes down to, isn’t it? Manners. But you think you are in the superior position, that you have achieved more than me. So, you butt in and tell me who I should date or why this guy is wrong or when I should have sex and how I should behave.
But it would be rude for me to say that your marriage appears to be a trainwreck, that I think your boyfriend is a drain on society and your parenting seems subpar at best. See? Rude. If you broke up or got divorced, I would never tell you where you went wrong or admonish your decisions. My mother raised me better.
Oh, before you remind me: I know I cannot speak to your marriage or your childrearing because I couldn’t possibly understand. I got that memo, thanks.
I know, I know. This sounds angry. You know what? I am angry. Because I can’t snap back that your sex life terrifies me the next time you admonish me for texting that guy who did that thing that you didn’t like. Wouldn’t that make you angry? If someone made you feel that their choices and life were untouchable but yours was a playground for constant scrutiny?
I might sometimes need advice, but wait until I ask for it. I am going to make bad decisions. But I would really appreciate it if you stopped treating me like I am pitiable and treat me like the grown woman that I am. I assure you, I will make enough mistakes for you to rightfully criticize; maybe savor those instead of anticipating every little misstep.
Despite this rant, I am not bitter. I am weary, of course. I am tired of the dating game. I have moments of stifling loneliness that I hope one day are just a memory in the rear view. But this is my life. My crazy, wild life filled with first kisses and too many flirty emails and excessive amounts of late nights. I am happy. I am fulfilled. I like that I have time to pluck out my grey hairs and sit and chat with strangers for hours.
So, really. I appreciate what you are trying to do, but you know better. How about you keep your thoughts to yourself, m’kay?