Acade(me)

The dissertation was only the beginning.

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T: Amazing Husband
ST: Three-year-old Wonder
Prof. G: Advisor I
Prof. C: Advisor II
Julie: Stylish Sister
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Friday, July 21, 2006
Romantic Reality
I've had a few melancholy days, and I know why: my last post. Whenever I have a chance to think about those kinds of beautiful times in my life, I look at my current life and think, "What happened?" Mostly, though, I look at T and silently wonder why he isn't more like the men that are featured in some of my favorite memories. In my mind, I am comparing him to them and it's unfair: he doesn't know them, doesn't know how they made me feel, and doesn't know how to act in any other way than what is normal for him.

The last time this type of memory-induced melancholy set in was almost exactly five years ago, when we moved into this house. I was at home sorting through boxes in the garage all by myself, deciding where to put everything in our brand-new house. My parents, who had helped us move in, brought with them some boxes I had stored in their attic, full of childhood drawings, yearbooks, and letters. I made the mistake of reading through the letters, including those from Peter and those from Jim, my best friend from high school. Reading those sweet letters was exhilarating: both Jim and Peter thought I was beautiful and wonderful in every way, and their letters were dripping with compliments, plans, and romance. As I sat, sweaty and dirty on the floor of my garage, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

I am, of course, not the beautiful, smart and all-around fantastic girl portrayed by Peter and Jim in those letters. And I know that Peter and Jim, for all of their excellent qualities, could never have sustained the romance they began in letters over the long-term. I know that, had I ended up with Peter or Jim, I would eventually complain about how there were always dirty clothes on the floor, how someone always smudged the bathroom mirror, or how someone neglected to put away the items he used to make his lunch. I know that they would eventually have seen me in a bad mood, with bad hair, or making a stupid mistake. In short, I understand that the reason these two men are so much a part of what is beautiful about my past is that they were only part of my life for a relatively short time. There was no time for flaws.

I have been married to T for seven years. He has seen me at my best and at my worst. He is really a fantastic husband in nearly every sense: he helps out a lot around the house, is a very hands-on and active father, ensures that we have what we need and most of what we want, treats me with respect and requires that others do the same, etc. The only thing T is lacking, however, is a sense of romance, and that's what I mourn when I get into these memory-induced funks. T is too practical for romance, and I can be, too. He doesn't believe in buying what he calls "useless" gifts, for example, because he doesn't value them himself. I will never receive jewelry or flowers from T because he hates those things. And for the most part, I don't want those things, either: I don't wear jewelry (and my ears aren't even pierced) and I don't like cut flowers (give me a potted plant any day!). We don't do spontaneous things because we're both planners. No jetting off to Paris for dinner for this couple, that's for sure. Now that we have a young child there's even less of a chance of doing anything spontaneous, less time for romance.

I'm not even sure what I'm craving when I lament this romantic deficit in my life. Maybe just a sweet word from him, an unexpected compliment? (He is good at giving compliments, but they're mostly about my cooking.) A quick kiss out in public? I don't know, but I do know that I'm longing to feel like the girl who received those letters years ago, the girl the letter-writers wanted. And I wonder: is the girl T got still that girl, and is she as easy to love?
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 7/21/2006 08:20:00 AM  
5 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 10:38 AM, Blogger apparently said…

    Have you asked for romance? I'm sort of the opposite - TheHusband is very romantic and I'm just not. However, I try to be romantic on (admittedly very rare) occasion because I know he likes it. Try asking.

     
  • At 10:39 AM, Blogger Sarah said…

    Wow. I don't really know what to say, but I wanted to express appreciation for the post. I think that a lot of people feel this way--I do--and get melancholic when remembering old loves.

     
  • At 11:19 AM, Blogger betty said…

    I feel the same way when I think back to those people in my life, especially Long Distance College Boyfriend. But it's always a little depressing to try and picture them in my life now, because I don't think it would work. Oh, to be young again!

     
  • At 5:08 PM, Blogger Lilian said…

    Well, I guess part of the romance problem is rooted in the "general," average differences between males and females. I know this is a gross generalization since there are men who are Romantic and sensitive, etc and women who are not, like Apparently said up there, but for me it helps to explain this problem.

    I sometimes feel like I miss romance too, not that I had lots of it in the past because I didn't, my husband was my first boyfriend and I his first girlfriend (just an almost boyfriend). During the years we were dating and engaged (almost 5 years), we would write lovely cards and letters to each other and we hardly do it anymore. With two boys it's nearly impossible to do any improptu thing either...

    Well, my comment is not helping much, is it? I guess talking to him about it would be helpful. One of the most romantic things that I can remember in the past years (we've been married for 11) is one night when hubby got home from the university with a movie for us to watch (Jerry Maguire). He'd never done anything like that although it was extremely simple I enjoyed it so much!

    (we don't do the jewelry thing either since I don't wear it, but he gives me flowers once in a while)

     
  • At 4:33 PM, Blogger Kristen said…

    My partner is all over me day and night...I wish I had you problems. I have very little energy; but I shouldn't complain...he pays all the bills!

     
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