This post was originally published in my Lusty Vegan column on iEatGrass.
As soon as you start doing adult things like paying your own rent and washing your sheets more than twice annually, everyone expects your relationships to grow along with your credit card debt. At a certain point, having a weekends-only relationship makes people raise their eyebrows, as if checking single on your income taxes is a condition you should take antibiotics to cure.
While being in a relationship is one of my favorite states of being (the others are full, and naked), that doesn’t mean that I am void of emotional insecurities and commitment issues. I like to point fingers at the fact that I am a product of divorce.
Beneath my neatly made bed of monogamy lurks my snarling commitment phobia, jumping out at inopportune moments and making me look like an asshole.
Mainly, I get really freaked out when making plans for “the future,” be it next month, or next year. While I think it’s exciting, sorry for stealing this line, the future freaks me out! I have spent some time boiling down my neurosis, and what I have emerged with is this: I don’t believe in making promises you aren’t positive you can keep. Mainly, promises about “forever.”
Aside from a career and personal goals, when most people think about their future, they think about things that center around a commitment to a partner. And if you want things like a house and kids, well they usually come after a big commitment. I am all for commitment, and as happy as I am to make the same manwich night after night, promising someone you can love them forever, white wedding style, seems very unrealistic to me. It’s a nice idea, but you can’t promise how you will feel in the future. You can only, at best, promise to try. Because relationships are hard!
I am not the same person I was at 20. Heck, I am not even the same person I was this time last year. We change, we evolve, we grow up and sometimes we even regress! It seems so irrational to be confident you can pledge to love someone for the rest of your life. You can be hopeful, and you can promise to try, but you can’t promise the future. Call me a pessimist, but I just don’t see that being realistic.
Is this a generational thing? Is it because my generation—and, considering divorce rates, the generation above me—is used to an abundance of choices and quick fixes? I love bragging about how my grandparents spent exactly two weeks together before getting engaged. They worked hard to stay in love their entire lives. I want to think I can dedicate myself to another in that fashion, and work together toward something greater than anything we could ever create as two separate halves. But I can’t help thinking about all the times I have seen people change and contort until you have no idea who they are anymore—myself included.
Recently I watched the film The Future, a quirky indie flick by Miranda July. I thought it would be an ironic comedy. The box said it was about a young couple who realizes the impending seriousness of their commitment when they decide to adopt a cat from a shelter. Right up my alley, right? Wrong. Miranda July, you (brilliant) little bitch. The LA Weekly claimed the movie is “devastatingly sad and hilarious.” Or just devastating.
I watched with horror as the couple in the flick blunders forward. Seriously you guys, I spent a solid two hours after the movie sobbing. It was terrifying. Anyone who feels like it’s about time for a quarter life crisis should probably pop that baby in. I identified with bits of both the characters, and It’s been a while since I felt that way about a movie. Also the whole “cat from a shelter” catalyst was a completely unfair heartbreaker. UNFAIR I tell you. The entire film was really really weird, especially when Miranda July humps a couch.
Furniture fornication aside, in the duration of the movie you watch the couple change, as people, and relationships, do. It’s impossible to promise you will always feel the same.
If I do get married, my vows would probably read something like “I can’t promise to love you forever, but I can promise to try. But no guarantees and if you act like an asshat. And I can always change my mind.”
Who else gets freaked out about the future? And who has seen the movie The Future? Thoughts?
The Lusty Vegan is a lifestyle and sex column focusing on living and loving as a twenty-something year old vegan. More rants from Zoe Eisenberg can be found at http://www.sexytofu.com. Follow her on Twitter @Sexytofublog