I dated this guy for a split second in college. Okay, maybe it was a month. No time at all, is the point. But because I was young and impressionable and I cared about what he thought, if only for a moment, some of his oddities (and there were a lot of them) lingered with me. Like, he mentioned once that he disliked sandals, especially flip-flops, and I didn’t buy a new pair until a year and a half after we broke up, even though I lived in hot-as-blazes Arizona (shortly before I started dating Husband, who lived in Rainbows like a normal college student). Like, we used to judge the other kids in our dorm by their iTunes playlists, which we could see thanks to the shared internet connection, and I didn’t rip the cds I loved in middle and high school (hello Counting Crows!) to my computer until I moved out of the dorms and into a house.
I’d like to say that I learned my lesson about bending my life around for a relationship, but I didn’t. I met a film buff a year later, and spent entirely too much of those few weeks we dated watching and pretending to enjoy silent movies and driving hours to see bands that were too obscure (read: crappy) for even me. For other guys I listened to Sting, Metallica, and Dishwalla. And trying new things is fine, right, but I never put on an Aimee Mann album for one of them.
All this music talk is shorthand for the fact that I suppressed my own identity in relationships.
I’d like to say that everything was different with Husband, and it sort of was, but not entirely. I knew more about myself when we met, but I didn’t know everything. And I was a twenty-year-old girl who falls headfirst into new things, especially relationship things, and wanted him to like me. He was a cyclist, so within months of dating, I bought a bike and started riding seven miles at a time with him, from campus to the house he shared two other guys, every day, even though I was broke and biking hurt my knees and I had my own house and roommate that I wanted to spend time with. And I listened to the music that he liked and watched the movies that he rented and did the things that he wanted to do.
But it was a little different. Because even though we rarely listened to Aimee Mann, he knew I liked her enough to buy us tickets when she came to Tucson. And even though he was always trying to get me to listen to Pearl Jam, I didn’t hesitate to tell him that I thought Eddie Vedder was obnoxious and that his taste in music was dated.
And the longer we’re together, the more resistant I am to anything that resembles martyring myself for the sake of the relationship. So sometimes we fight more. Like when I shove a pile of laundry onto the floor on his side of the bed. But sometimes we have glorious compromises. Like when I wanted to watch a Wes Anderson flick and he wanted to watch a movie with the guy from Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz, and we both refused to budge and had to resort to our not-so-great dvd collection spent the night watching Saved by the Bell season three.