Maybe it’s because I’ve lived a pretty independent life, a semi-permanent gypsy of sorts, but I’ve always been wary of what I term codependency. To me this describes the couples who do everything together, enough so that you call them one unit: “JoeandSue” or they even have a celebrity name “JerryEllen”. On thinking about it, it’s not the doing everything together part I’ve been so afraid of, but the needing to do everything together. Maybe even the wanting.
I’ve never wanted to be part of an inseparable unit. I’m a twin, so I know how hard it is to be your own independent self when people see you as one whole. When a couple always insists on being together, I’m less likely to invite them on my outings. Selfish? Maybe. But I think there are discoveries to be made in everyone, and when a couple is together all the time, I can’t learn those individually. It’s a package deal, and I don’t really do well with those.
I tend to surround myself with people who don’t celebrate each month that they have been married (yes, really). I tend to shy away from people who use the word “we” all the time instead of “I” : “We don’t like peas.” One time one half of a couple spent most of a run insisting how compatible they were and how they were almost like one person. That to me would be like living a nightmare. I don’t want to be married to someone just like me.
I love doing stuff with my husband, but I equally love the times when we go do our own things. It would be easy in our small town to slip into a scenario where I relied on him for my entertainment, my cheerleading, my BFF and outdoors buddy needs. I just don’t think that is good for either of us. Nobody can meet all your needs, and I’ve often wondered if that is the cause of many a divorce, that expectation that your partner should and can (then again, some of us marry jerks the first time around. Ahem). I love my girlfriends for the chance to talk about stuff my husband would never get, my male friends for a good dose of reality, and my co-workers for venting, so I don’t do it at home (this is also why I cringe when I hear someone say, “I’m marrying my best friend.” I realize others see it differently, but my concept of a best friend is different from theirs).
I think it’s great that couples like each other so much that they enjoy a lot of the same things. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I’d choose slogging up a dreary snow slope with my husband over a lot of other things. Where it might veer off the tracks a little for me is when I can’t pry one half of the couple out to do anything by themselves. When one half won’t do something because the other doesn’t like it: “Steve hates skiing, so I do too”. When one half does go out for an adventure but cuts it short because “I miss Steve”. When the couple appears to have no other friends besides themselves. Little things like that make me wonder.
You know what though? If it works for you, go for it. There are always happy exceptions to every rule. The only way I could be married is to retain a lot of independence. Others may feel differently. But the month anniversary of your wedding? Please. Knock it off.