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Here is the scene: your significant other, whom you have been dating for a long time, asks you to come over and hang out. It’s late at night, so this means you will be staying there. You start to mention how he or she has not stayed over at your house in about three months, but you stop because, after all, he or she wants to see you, and that’s nice.
You run around gathering all your necessary items: your computer, your brush, your makeup, your straightener, your pajamas, your homework, your toothbrush (but let’s face it: you probably keep one at their house since you do this about five times a week and really don’t want to have to remember to pack the toothbrush EVERY TIME), and dump them into your well worn “overnight bag.” You drag this bag out into the cold, snowy dark world and dump it into your car and begin Your Journey To Sweetheart’s House. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why it is rarely Their Journey to Your House, or The Equal Journey To Each Other’s Houses?
So many of my close friends in long-term relationships seem to grapple with this problem. More often than not, they are the ones scrambling around, gathering their things, and making The Drive. They are the ones waking up earlier in the morning to come back home, drop off their cars, and get to school. Why is this happening to so many of us, and how do we go about fixing this prime example of inequality within relationships? After all, I know that when my friends get off their cell phones, acquiescing to the fact that they are, once again, going to give in, not fight, and just go over there, they are thinking–possibly screaming–in their heads (and sometimes into their phone as I do): “Dude! Just come over!”
I have heard all the excuses as to why this unfairness is somehow just, and, as it turns out, so have my other relationship-laden friends. The excuses are usually along the lines of “But my TV is bigger than yours,” or “My bed is bigger and comfier than yours.” Though these may be true in some cases, I don’t think I should be expected to have a mammoth TV in order for you to come over, and it’s not like I sleep on a wooden board. Even if one bed is better than the other, in this day and age, I think a relationship should be made up of equal effort put in by both parties. And that includes who comes over when. And yet, it is so often my friends who I see driving away, computer cord hanging out of their over-stuffed bags.
Now, my friend’s partner has somewhat of an excuse–he has no car. And there was this one time when she got a call from him saying that she did not need to come get him (it was one of the rare occasions when he was supposed to come over) because–lo and behold– he had taken the bus. The Bus. THE BUS! It was like we had stepped into the Twilight Zone; we looked at each other and were just like “whoa.”
Now, it’s not that our partners have simply stopped being interested. Often, the voice on the other side of the line is begging us to come over so we can hang out. I think the problem lies in two issues. One, they have become lazier and don’t feel the need to be as “boyfriendy” or “girlfriendy” as they once were because of how long the relationship has lasted. Two, we have spoiled them by packing our bags and dragging ourselves to their houses simply to avoid some sort of argument or unpleasantness. Our coming over is now taken for granted and considered the norm because it HAS become the norm.
My question is why don’t we go on some sort of strike until we get these significant others to get their spoiled behinds to our houses? Why don’t we refuse to pack those bags and say if they want to see US, then they’d better come on over? Why don’t we try to balance this real example of an unbalanced and unfair power dynamic? I freaking hate it, so why don’t I just stop doing it? And I guess that’s the question: why do I feel like if I don’t come over, then we will never see each other, we will stop liking each other, and it will all go to hell? Because, let’s face it, that is pretty pathetic.
It is also pretty pathetic, all excuses and comfy beds aside, that our partners don’t say, “Hey, you have literally been the one to drag your ass over to my house the last 10 times. Why don’t I just come over this time?” It might seem like another stupid little thing to nag about, but it really starts to matter because it is downright unfair. So maybe on occasion, instead of acquiescing to this fate, we decline. We tell them if they want to see us so badly this time, they can come over. And maybe after a few tries, they will finally get the hint.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Mira Winograd at Mira.firstname.lastname@example.org.