Welcome to the first instalment of Married with Buttercups! You ask, we answer with four starkly different points of view: a two-time divorcee who really liked being married (Trixie), a fiercely independent, never-been-married single (Tailfeather), a blushing newlywed in the throes of wedded bliss (BiscuitDoughJones) and a long-married wife with an occasional bad-ass streak (Kadinsky).
Last week we received questions from our dear readers on a wide range of topics. The Buttercups weigh in after the jump!
Where did you meet your husband and does he have a brother or friends? Who date sistas?
BDJ: I met my hubs at a Halloween party. I had seen him around town and I thought he was cute, but I was too shy to talk to him, so I had my girlfriend set us up. Sorry, but he only has an older sister, and she’s married. I don’t know if she would date a sista, but I do know that my hubs made out with a really pretty sista, like, the weekend before he met me. He had also made out with the friend of mine who facilitated our meeting. For the first few weeks of our relationship, I referred to him exclusively as “Makeout Slut.”
Tailfeather: If I haven’t met my future husband yet (fingers crossed), I expect we will meet someplace fittingly romantic, such as a Detroit bus station or a sanitarium. If he doesn’t have a brother, I sincerely hope that he has friends of some sort. I would be delighted if they were daters of sistas.
Trixie: Ceejee, I met my husbands through other male friends. They were friends of male friends. I should have stuck with the male friends. One didn’t really want to be married and is much happier single, the other would marry a Shetland pony if it showed interest. A sista could do a lot better than that guy.
Kadinsky: I met Mr. K when he moved into the apartment below mine. I had been dropping acid at the Texas Beer Festival all day and when I got home with a friend, we were smoking on the porch and heard voices below. I looked over the railing, saw new neighbors (boys! yay!) and made friendly with offers of local bar recommendations and what-not. A few days later the future Mr. K knocked on my door with his roomie, asking about a nearby bar and after giving directions, I said to them: “Well, now that you’ve woken me up from my nap, you might as well buy me a beer.” Sadly, he has no brothers and his friends are all married and lame.
How can I explain to people that I have no immediate plans to marry the person I am currently with?
How did you know that marriage was the right choice?
BDJ: Just tell them you’re obsessed with the movie “Overboard” and don’t want to get married, so that you and your beloved can be dreamy like Kurt and Goldie. You know, I don’t really think you ever know for sure. When we got engaged, it just seemed like the right thing to do. It was all calm and easygoing for a while, but when the wedding planning got underway, it was all “DOUBTS! OMG!” but then it would go back to, “Awww, romance! Dreamy husband!” But, at one point I did get really, really, manically freaked out. About a month before the wedding, me and Mr. P had a little fight and I was, for about 6 hours, totally going to call it off. Or, as Fozmeadows put it, “Stop this crazy pony ride!!” I called Kadinsky and cried to her for hours. I called Sparkles and cried to her. I even called my mom and told her I wanted out. But then Mr. Panda and I just worked it out. In the end, you can never really know it’s the “right” decision. It really comes down to the fact that you have no control over how things are going to turn out, and relinquishing the idea, the illusion, of having control is the hardest part. Getting married is a gamble. It’s a leap of faith. You make the descision when you make those vows to do your personal best to see this thing to the end, and always try to do what’s right by each other. It’s really all you can do.
Tailfeather: Tell people that you can’t mate in captivity (thank you, Gloria Steinem), or at least explain that you have an extremely fulfilling sex life and a mutually respectful relationship and you don’t wish to screw up a perfectly good thing. Then adopt a concerned expression and ask them when they plan to have children. You’ll know that marriage is the right choice when the thought of banging other people just makes you feel tired.
Trixie: You don’t have to explain anything to anybody, especially given the fact that marriage is such a flawed institution that doesn’t end up working for more than half of those who do it. How did I know marriage was the right choice? At the time, I couldn’t imagine life without the other person — it just seemed unthinkable. Sadly, it wasn’t! When I look back, I realize I didn’t marry my best friend. That is more important than anything. If you marry your best friend, I think your chances of success increase, because romantic love and hot sex fades — true friendship does not. In short, I married the wrong people.
Kadinsky: Tell them your relationship is not defined by arbitrary legal definitions of ‘marriage’ and anyone who loves you will wait for you. Employ a bitchface about you as you say this to ensure you won’t have to repeat yourself to this person again. I knew I was ready to get married because I had shared all of my demons with the person I loved and they still loved me just as much. Being best friends with your spouse doesn’t mean they will be able to help you through every challenge you will face, but it does mean they will always support you, never judge you and never make you feel anything but yourself when you are with them.
I want to know the best part about marriage and the worst part.
BDJ: The worst part about marriage in general is that you never get to really feel the first rush of new love ever again. Like, you know how when you meet a new guy, and you’re so into him, and you have these amazing dates, and the great getting-to-know-you sex and there are honest-to-God butterflies in your stomach? Yeah. Gone forever. But, on the upside, there are times when your spouse does or says something and it’s like, “Ugh. You are so awesome. And you’re MINE. And I have such a crush on you.” But, the worst part about my marriage specifically? My husband talks during Gossip Girl. Like, constant rambling, asking stupid questions, making stupid comments. And he does not do this on any other show, just the show where missing one line of dialogue means not understanding Blair’s whole convoluted plot to get the Captain cleared of his rap and make Chuck do her. It burns.
The best thing about marriage? Well, I’ve not been married that long. But, my favorite thing so far is how doing the smallest thing (like being really excited to see him when he gets home in the evening) makes him so giddily happy, which in turn makes me even more happy and vice-versa. It’s these little affections and kindnesses that make even my jaded, child-of-multiple-divorces ass think, “You know what? This could really work!”
Trixie: Best part of marriage: Knowing you are with the best person you’ve ever known, and your best pal, and someone who will always, always have your back. The worst part: Realizing that you were wrong, and this person possibly does not even like you, or, in the case of Husband No. 2, is far more in love with himself and what you represent in relation to him than he is with you, and what the fuck is to be done about it?
Kadinsky: The best part of marriage: knowing your best friend is always waiting for you and wants to see you no matter where you are, where they are or what hour of the day it is. And the tax breaks. The worst part of marriage: staying married. Adapting to your spouse’s changing viewpoints on everything from the perfect vacation to the meaning of life is hard, yo. People change and people who are together are no different, but this doesn’t mean you suddenly don’t know who they are and should pack your bags. It’s trying to find the best ways to know and grow with your beloved that is so fucking hard.
Oh man, this is awesome. Ok, here’s my big one, and one that contributed to the demise of my last relationship.
I am a bad communicator. Here is an example: My lovely roommate, with whom I have lived for four years, never throws out the empty toilet paper roll. She changes the roll, but then leaves the cardboard thing on the toilet tank. And then later I throw it out. I’ve never mentioned this. She also doesn’t pull her weight when it comes to cleaning the bathroom/taking out the trash, stuff like that.
But I feel like if I mention this, she will immediately cease liking me and ask me to move out (as my roommate before her did, although that’s because she was a crazy asshole, not because I said something like “You never wash the dishes you use and they’re my dishes and I hate you”).
So here is the question. When you are in a relationship with someone, how do you get over the fear of them leaving you if you criticize them, and how do you bring up things that piss you the hell off without sounding naggy and confrontational and awful, ergo making them leave you?
BDJ: I have no clear answer on this one, as I seem to be married to a five-year-old who simply cannot take criticism. Just the other day, I was feeling really headachey and every smell in the world was making me violently ill. He comes home from work covered in fucking gasoline for some reason, and tried to hug me. I explained my illness and swatted him away, because surely the gas smell would have made me projectile vomit if I had gotten within hugging distance of it. Homeboy pouted all that night about it. Seriously. Over something that stupid, his widdle feelings got all hurt-y. There is no decent way to criticize somebody, but trust that you have to do it sometimes or you’ll be stuck scrubbing tortilla soup-flavored upchuck out of the berber – or worse.
Tailfeather: The toilet paper roll is but a niggling detail. Let it go. That way, when you have something that’s actually of import to criticize, you haven’t set yourself up to be a naggy bitch who complains about toilet paper rolls. If you’re in a relationship with someone who is unable to engage in a respectful discussion about legitimate complaints, that person is a giant baby. I don’t take criticism well, but I wouldn’t end a valued relationship with someone who spoke to me in a caring and honest fashion about any distress I was causing them. I would take what they said on board, and either agree to disagree or, more likely, make whatever adjustments I needed to make to correct my behavior, and apologize for my part in the situation. This is called faking emotional maturity and it’s part of pretending to be an adult.
Trixie: Write out a loving note explaining what you need and why you need it. Start off by listing all the wonderful things they do that you love and all the things you adore about them. Then just tell them you’d love it if they could also help with this, that or the other thing, and make sure to let them know you’d like to know what you can do for them as well. Love love love! Always with the love!!!
Kadinsky: Get used to the sound of your own voice asking for what you want. If you’re not comfortable expressing what it is you need, you will never be happy with another person as you’ll likely be expecting them to magically read your mind and then tossing all their shit into the furnace when they don’t. You might sound naggy sometimes, but so what? The key is finding effective communication methods that will keep you both from nagging on each other. But you gotta get that shit out there, it doesn’t work if it all stays in your head.
How do you keep your spouse from hogging the blankets?
BDJ: The Blanket War is won not through bravery or valor, but through cunning and under-handedness. My trick is that when making the bed, I give myself a good 5 or 6 inches more of the sheets, and I tuck the sheets along the side of the mattress as tight as I can while still managing to get into the bed. This military bed tactic seems to provide some friction that helps to hold the blankets onto my side of the bed, sort of like how if you interleave the pages of two phonebooks, it creates enough friction to make it really, really difficult to pull the two books asunder. However, it takes a lot more than a little bit of friction to keep my side covered when Mr. P is in the habit of rolling over, taking on new swaths of blanket while keeping his original share of the blankets tucked underneath him, thereby after a few rolls making himself into a large, slumbering blanket burrito. So, most nights I clasp a corner of the blanket in my palm, and keep that hand tucked under my chin as I sleep. The second I feel the covers tugging away, like freshly hooked fish on a line, I YANK for dear life. It works pretty well. Good luck!!
Tailfeather: Tip a glass of warm water down the middle of the bed, but just slightly towards their side. When they wake up groggy and horrified, pretend to be sleeping peacefully. They’ll move to the couch.
Trixie: Lie on her.
Kadinsky: I employ two tactics when it comes to sleeping peacefully with my SO, both of which are straightforward and to-the-point. Blanket theft? Get two blankets, go back to sleep. Snoring? Pinch SO’s nostrils until offending noise stops, go back to sleep.